The Dutch Consumer & Market Authority (ACM) wants to require cloud providers to help customers use multiple cloud services, including those of competitors.

According to the regulator, cloud providers must do more to support customers who use multiple services and providers. Cloud providers are rarely required to help customers integrate a competing service at this time. The ACM proposes a change.

The Dutch regulator shared the proposal at the request of the European Commission. Brussels is currently working on the Data Act. The bill introduces new rules for device manufacturers and digital service providers. European regulators like the ACM were recently invited to respond to the draft version.

Data Act

The Data Act requires organizations to make more data available to third parties. Brussels introduced the proposal to prevent vendor lock-in. Currently, organizations can control certain data to thwart competitors.

Some device repairs require user data. The device’s supplier may refuse to share user data in order to prevent third-party repairers from providing a service. As a result, the supplier is the only party capable of offering repair services, which typically comes at the expense of customers.

Customers of cloud providers face the same issue. Organizations like AWS and Microsoft can thwart migrations to competitors by withholding user data. Under the proposed Data Act, both cloud providers and manufacturers are required to share more data with competitors.

ACM agrees

In its response, the ACM supports the bill. “Providers try to entice customers by, for example, offering free cloud services and volume discounts. Once a customer opts for the provider, it’s difficult to switch to another provider”, the regulator said.

“Cloud providers discourage switching to other providers by, for example, charging high fees for moving data. In addition, the various cloud services of one provider are often so intertwined that it’s technically complicated to switch providers.”

The regulator agrees with the Data Act’s solution. According to the ACM, cloud providers should be required to make certain data accessible to competitors. In addition, the regulator wants to require cloud providers to help customers combine multiple cloud services. The ACM said the Data Act currently pays too little attention to “enabling interoperability”.

The regulator proposes to require cloud providers to support customers in integrations with competing services. Its response was shared with the European Commission. Brussels will process feedback from the ACM and other regulators in the coming months. The final version of the Data Act is expected before the end of the year.

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