Italian Competition Watchdog Launches Investigation of Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox

Italy’s competition authority has opened an inquiry into Google, Apple, and Dropbox over their contracts for cloud computing services.

A new report from TechCrunch explains that Italy’s competition regulator — the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM — is investigating whether the three companies failed to properly indicate how their services would collect and use consumer data for commercial purposes.

“The Competition and Markets Authority has launched six investigations against some of the world’s leading operators in cloud computing services,” the AGCM announced. “Those involved are Google (for the Google Drive service), Apple (for the iCloud service) and Dropbox, each affected by both proceedings for alleged misconduct and/or violations of the Consumer Rights Directive and one for alleged vexatious clauses included in the contractual terms.”

The probe also seeks to determine whether Dropbox failed to provide clear and accessible instructions on how consumers could get out of their contracts with the service or pursue dispute settlements out of court.

“The proceedings relate to alleged improper commercial practices and the possible inclusion of unfair clauses in contract conditions,” explained the AGCM.

The regulator also said it is looking into complaints of violations of Italy’s Consumer Rights Directive, a data protection law.

The investigations will explore whether the trio failed to properly inform users of how they collect and use data for commercial purposes. In Dropbox’s case, the watchdog is also looking at whether the cloud storage company gave unclear instructions to users on how to exit their contracts or handle out-of-court dispute settlements.

This is the second antitrust investigation announced by Italian authorities to focus on Apple this year. In July, the country began investigating a possible “anti-competitive agreement” over the sale of Apple devices and Beats headphones on Amazon.