Cloud storage customers in the United Kingdom are about to get a fairer deal from the biggest cloud providers. Microsoft, along with Apple and Amazon, has agreed to give cloud storage subscribers fairer contracts. The decision comes after an investigation by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Cloud storage services are consumer level and store data such as photos, music, videos, and documents. Microsoft's OneDrive is an example of this type of service. These storage solutions are also higher scale for businesses, but the CMA was more concerned with standard customers.
One problem with cloud storage services is they can be easy for users to lose data. For example, if a company changes its capacity limit or prices, some data may be lost. The CMA says Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon have not been clear enough about such policy changes.
The authority asked the service providers to give sufficient notice before making such changes. The request also applied to suspending and closure of a service. Importantly, customers should be allowed to receive a pro-rata refund if they do not accept the changes. Equally, there should be a clear ability to cancel a contract.
Cloud Storage Agreement
Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are the latest companies to agree to the CMA's request. Last year, Google, Dropbox, and five other providers agreed to the concessions. This means the largest providers in the cloud storage market all agree to make contracts clearer.
This is something of a win for the CMA, especially in the light of increased cloud storage use. The group estimated that three in 10 British adults use cloud storage solution. In most cases, consumers opt to use the free services provided by the leading names in the market.
Because all the companies agreed, the CMA can end an investigation that started in 2015. Also, the authority will not have to proceed with any legal action:
“This latest action brings to an end the CMA's current review of compliance with consumer law in the cloud storage sector. During this review, 10 cloud storage providers co-operated and constructively engaged with the CMA and voluntarily agreed to make improvements to their terms and conditions.”
Microsoft says it will now inform a user if it intends to close an account for going over storage limits. The company also made an interesting promise to not shut down inactive accounts, if they are fully paid.