Microsoft, Amazon and Apple agree to curb their consumer Cloud contracts

Microsoft, Amazon and Apple have all agreed to give their cloud storage subscribers fairer and more reasonable contracts after being told off by the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), according to a report from ComputerWorld.

The CMA had expressed concerns that cloud storage service providers may shut down, or vary their capacity or prices without notice, and hold customers’ data as hostage. The body formally asked providers to give adequate notice before closing, suspending or changing services, along with allowing customers to cancel their contracts and receive refund if they didn’t accept service changes.This follows on a move that the regulator made last year, receiving assurances from from Google, Dropbox and five other cloud storage providers. 

The three vendors being confronted now have all made changes to their terms and conditions voluntarily, meaning that they won’t face action from the CMA. The regulator has said that it is ceasing the investigation into cloud storage that began in December 2015. 

Microsoft said it would provide advance warning should it intend to shut a OneDrive user’s account for going over their storage allowance, and that it would not shut accounts for inactivity as long as the account was paid up. Amazon – among other things – agreed to ensure that price increases do not take effect during a consumer’s fixed contract, and to clearly define the circumstances in which Amazon may suspend or terminate a user’s contract.

Apple meanwhile said that it would give consumers 30 days to sort out what it calls "non-material" breaches of contract before their service was cut off, and would give them a grace period of 14 days to cancel after the renewal of a fixed-term contract.

PCR’s Sector Spotlight on the Cloud – in association with Westcoast – is running throughout September 2016 – click here for more articles

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