CV194-CV195-CV196-PS11147-PS11149-PS11150 - Antitrust: Investigations launched against Google, Apple and Dropbox for their cloud computing services


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The proceedings relate to allegedly unfair commercial practices and the possible presence of unfair terms in the contractual conditions

The Italian Competition Authority has launched six investigations against some of the main operators at global level in cloud computing services. The parties involved are Google (for the Google Drive service), Apple (for the iCloud service) and Dropbox, each involved in either a proceeding for alleged unfair commercial practices and/or infringement of the Consumer Rights Directive and one for alleged unfair terms included in the contractual conditions.

In particular, the investigations for unfair practices against Google and Apple refer to a failure to indicate or inadequately indicating, when presenting the service, the activity involving collection and use for commercial purposes of the data supplied by the user and a possible undue influence on consumers, who, in order to use the cloud storage service, are allegedly not in a position to give their consent, to the operator, to the collection and use of their information for commercial purposes.

The same complaints are also raised against Dropbox, which - in addition - is accused of failing to provide clear and readily accessible information on the conditions, terms and procedures for withdrawing from the contract and exercising the right to reconsider, and moreover, of not allowing the user easy recourse to out-of-court dispute settlement mechanisms, to which the professional is subject, with the necessary information to access them.       

On the other hand, the proceedings for unfair clauses refer to some contractual terms set out in the relevant forms of the aforementioned companies, such as: the operator’s ample power to suspend and interrupt the service; the exemption from liability even in the event of loss of documents stored on the user's cloud space; the possibility of unilaterally modifying the contractual terms and conditions; the prevalence of the English version of the contract’s text over the Italian version.

Rome, 7 September 2020