Italy launches antitrust investigation into Apple, Google, and Dropbox

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2020
The antitrust authority in Italy has announced that it is investigating allegations over fairness and improper commercial practices over cloud services by Apple, Google, and Dropbox.

Apple Store Piazza in Milan


Alongside its recent investigation into alleged price fixing, Italy's antitrust regulator has announced that it is separately looking how companies including Apple are running their cloud service businesses in the country.

According to Reuters, Italy's L'Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) says that it has opened the inquiry following allegations to do with contracts regarding the cloud businesses of Apple, Google, and Dropbox.

"The proceedings relate to alleged improper commercial practices and the possible inclusion of unfair clauses in contract conditions," said the authority in a statement seen by Reuters.

No further details have been released, and as yet Apple has not publicly commented.

This latest antitrust investigation joins very many similar ones facing Apple around the world. The company is currently being investigated over issues regarding Apple Music, the App Store, Apple Pay and more.

Italy's AGCM has previously found against Apple in a case concerning the company's intentional slowing down of iPhones with older batteries. In 2018, the authority levied a 10 million euro ($11.1M) fine which Apple then unsuccessfully appealed.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    Eurotrash. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 6
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Dropbox? Why Dropbox?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    Cash grab, plain and simple. I read Apples TOS for iCloud and they’re very reasonable.

    They’re taking the terms and dumbing them down to a single sentence to try and make them appear egregious.

    For example, the types of data losses Apple is talking about include natural disasters, war, government intervention or you losing your password for encrypted data. Things they have no control over. Yet they want to imply Apple takes no precautions and has a careless attitude towards your data, and they protect themselves by claiming no liability for losses.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 6
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,181member
    Cash grab, plain and simple. I read Apples TOS for iCloud and they’re very reasonable.

    They’re taking the terms and dumbing them down to a single sentence to try and make them appear egregious.

    For example, the types of data losses Apple is talking about include natural disasters, war, government intervention or you losing your password for encrypted data. Things they have no control over. Yet they want to imply Apple takes no precautions and has a careless attitude towards your data, and they protect themselves by claiming no liability for losses.
    You left out a fair bit. From another site's explanation:

    First, that the companies state they have the right to suspend the service, even though users may rely on them for access to important documents.

    Second, the cloud services claim they cannot be held liable for loss of data, even if it includes everything the user stores there.

    Third, that the companies reserve the right to change the terms and conditions at any time.

    Finally, that the English version of the contract takes precedence over the Italian one, even if it’s the Italian version which was accepted by customers.

    The investigation falls under the antitrust heading as it will be argued that the companies are so dominant in their fields that they can impose any terms they like, fair or unfair.

    MplsPmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 6
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,274member
    dysamoria said:
    Dropbox? Why Dropbox?
    Yeah, I was wondering that, too. Dropbox is certainly the dominant cloud storage service but it’s by no means the only one and doesn’t seem like a monopoly, IMO. @gatorguy ’s explanation may have something to do with it. 

    I have to agree - if you give customers a contract in one language then go back and say another contract in a different language that they didn’t agree to is the one that applies it sure seems like fraud. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 6
    gatorguy said:
    Cash grab, plain and simple. I read Apples TOS for iCloud and they’re very reasonable.

    They’re taking the terms and dumbing them down to a single sentence to try and make them appear egregious.

    For example, the types of data losses Apple is talking about include natural disasters, war, government intervention or you losing your password for encrypted data. Things they have no control over. Yet they want to imply Apple takes no precautions and has a careless attitude towards your data, and they protect themselves by claiming no liability for losses.
    You left out a fair bit. From another site's explanation:

    First, that the companies state they have the right to suspend the service, even though users may rely on them for access to important documents.

    Second, the cloud services claim they cannot be held liable for loss of data, even if it includes everything the user stores there.

    Third, that the companies reserve the right to change the terms and conditions at any time.

    Finally, that the English version of the contract takes precedence over the Italian one, even if it’s the Italian version which was accepted by customers.

    The investigation falls under the antitrust heading as it will be argued that the companies are so dominant in their fields that they can impose any terms they like, fair or unfair.


    Didn’t miss them at all, just didn’t feel like typing for pages to show how stupid this is.

    First off, suspension. Not likely to happen to anyone unless you’re doing something illegal (like hosting child pornography). Apples terms (which I’m sure are almost identical to Google or Dropbox, as is typical of boilerplate contracts) give numerous examples of what you’re not allowed to do. They also state that repeated violations may result in account termination. Which basically means you’re not getting suspended instantly without prior warning. Apple states they have the right to remove illegal content, so obviously their first choice is to do that with a warning instead of an outright instant ban.

    Second, changing terms. Again, very common in contracts by companies providing a service. That said, Apple states they will give 30 days notice of upcoming “adverse change” which could have an impact on your service (adverse being a price increase, reduction in storage amounts or reduced service). They mention “adverse change” so I’m assuming if there was a beneficial change (a price reduction or extra storage) they aren’t entitled to give notice. This also ties in with the first complaint (suspension of service) as Apple would likely still be required to give 30 days notice of suspension or termination, with only a few exceptions. Criminal cases are one example (government might seize the account) and interfering with others services is another (if you’re trying to tamper with or hack their servers). Im sure you’d agree these are perfectly good reasons for Apple to suspend/terminate an account.

    The last one about English vs Italian I can’t comment on since I don’t know the laws surrounding contracts involving companies from different countries doing business. But that seems like a minor issue compared to the other ones.


    So yes, they are over simplifying the issues.
    Rayz2016JanNLwatto_cobraDAalsethbadmonk
Sign In or Register to comment.