The Open Internet Project calls on European co-legislators not to introduce exceptions for cloud services
As discussions on the Data Act accelerate in the European Parliament, the European association Open Internet Project (OIP) wishes to warn against any measure that would aim to exempt certain categories of cloud offerings from the obligations of the Data Act.
Indeed, some published amendments propose to exempt all trial offers from the prohibitions on barriers to free choice of cloud provider and data reversibility. So, for example, cloud providers could accumulate and store all user data during a free or promotional trial period, but charge for its retrieval upon exit for the only purpose of dissuading users from signing a contract with a competing cloud provider. The OIP points out that the cloud market is unfortunately often characterized by trial offers over several months or even years, or offered credits worth several hundred thousand euros. Such offers accelerate the market capture and are traps to lock users in for the long term.
Indeed, early amendments propose to exempt trial offers from the prohibitions on the free choice of the cloud provider choice and the reversibility of data. Therefore, cloud providers could accumulate and store all user data during a free or promotional trial period, but charge for its retrieval upon exit, for the sole purpose of deterring users from signing a contract with a competing alternative cloud provider. The OIP reminds that the cloud market is unfortunately often characterized by trial offers over several months or even several years, or by offered credits worth several hundred thousand euros. Such offers accelerate the capture of the market and are traps to lock users in.
In this context, OIP recalls that egress fees represent a major obstacle to the emergence of healthy and fair competition and therefore to innovation in a growing market, as well as to the free flow of data in the European internal market. Indeed, it is particularly expensive for a user to switch from one cloud service to another, or to combine cloud services from different providers, due to artificially high exit fees systematically imposed by the market leaders. These excessive costs, without any economic or technical justification, can only be rationally explained in terms of a desire to artificially curb the freedom to choose one’s cloud provider.
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