Amazon and Microsoft Clean Up Their Cloud Storage Agreements. This month,, Microsoft, and Apple announced that they would revise their cloud storage contracts for consumers to provide better transparency. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), an independent consumer advocacy group in the United Kingdom, investigates consumer fairness laws and anticompetitive practices. The group reviewed cloud storage vendors last year and found that many terms and practices in cloud service contracts were detrimental to customers. This included terms that allowed vendors to change prices and services without giving customers adequate notice or the opportunity to cancel. The CMA also deemed suspect terms that vendors can reduce their liability for lost, stolen, or compromised data. They also consider terms that allow them automatically to renew customers’ contracts without giving customers a cancellation window. In an open letter last year to cloud storage providers, the CMA stated that such practices “could violate consumer protection law”. If you are a cloud storage company that deals with consumers, it is important to ensure that your contract terms are fair. Cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google, and Mozy have announced that they will amend their contract terms to ensure clarity and fairness for consumers., Microsoft, and Apple joined the group, issuing separate statements last week outlining their plans for U.K customers., for its part, stated that it will modify the terms and conditions of its Drive cloud storage services to:

  • You must ensure that any material changes to the service are only made for legitimate reasons, as set out in the contract terms.
  • Ensure that consumers are notified in advance of any material changes to the service.
  • Consumers who don’t wish to accept any material changes to the service can cancel the contract and receive a refund for services that have not been provided.
  • Make sure that price increases do not occur during a consumer’s fixed term contract.
  • Amazon must clearly and concisely define the circumstances under which it may suspend or terminate a contract or service.
  • Ensure that consumers are notified if necessary about suspension, termination, or deletion of service files. Also, give them the opportunity to challenge the decision.
  • Amazon will ensure that consumers have the right to cancel their contract in the event of a breach. They will also be entitled to a refund for services not provided.
  • Amazon cannot be held liable if it fails provide the service with reasonable skill or care.
  • Consumers should be notified at least 30 days in advance of their contract being renewed. This includes details about price changes or other information.

Apple and Microsoft promised similar provisions to their iCloud and OneDrive service contracts, respectively. Microsoft stated that it would give OneDrive customers at most 30 days notice before making any major changes to their accounts. This includes pricing changes, data storage limits changes, and service terminations due inactivity. “We are happy that Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have joined 7 other companies in working with CMA and agreed to improve their terms. As a result, millions more cloud storage users will be able to benefit from fairer terms that will help them make the right decisions when using cloud storage services,” Andrea Coscelli (CMA acting chief executive) said in a statement last Friday.

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