back to article Apple is a filthy AWS, Azure, Google reseller, gripe punters: iPhone giant accused of hiding iCloud's real backend

Apple is being sued for breach of contract, false advertising, and unfair business practices for allegedly reselling Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform services under its iCloud brand – and failing to adequately disclosure that relationship to customers. The iGiant, which for decades has tried to …

  1. Twilight

    This is definitely a case that deserves to be thrown out (not sure of the legalities but it should be). As long as Apple provides good encryption (not that hard), it doesn't matter if the data is stored on AWS, Google, directly on iCloud, or whatever.

    1. DryBones

      China doesn't seem to think so.

      1. MrClump

        That’s because in China it’s almost certainly not stored with good encryption. There is bound to be a backdrop that Apple don’t (probably cannot contractually) disclose to their Chinese customers.

      2. prh99

        Didn't they have launch a transition Chinese app store etc to servers in China cause of national cyber security laws requiring local storage. If that is the case you can bet the Chinese government has unfettered access to that data.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whether or not Apple encrypts the data is irrelevant to the agreement. All it states is that Apple is the provider of the SERVICE called iCloud. It doesn't matter that that data on iCloud may be stored on Microsoft's cloud any more than it matters the servers may be manufactured by Dell or they may run RHEL or the drives may be made by Seagate or the electricity they use may be provided by PG&E.

      Nowhere does it state in the agreement that the equipment iCloud data is stored on is owned or operated by Apple.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        And Apple pulled out of the server market quite a few years ago.

      2. Cardinal

        T.I.T. Security

        But if you store your gold-pressed latinum (data) in Credit Suisse (or similar bank vaults) rather than, e.g. 'T.I.T. Security' (Trotter's Independent Traders), then you can surely, and legally, expect that your bars of latinum are indeed being stored in their very highly secure vault system, rather than being passed to Del-Boy Trotter and stored under a carpet in his garden shed?

        That is obviously why you go to Credit Suisse in the first place.

        You place it with them due to their name, and under the natural (and implied) assumption that THEY will physically store it.

        You don't expect, or require, that they have to list all of the myriad places where they will NOT store your latinum/data.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: T.I.T. Security

          Well Credit Suisee recently sold a datacenter to DXC - a company far less competent than Trotters Independent Traders - so there's that

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: T.I.T. Security

            I believe that most bank contracts do specify certain things about how things are stored, giving certain assurances of security, insurance, etc. I'm not sure that they all do, but I've seen such contracts for banks where you store money, and I assume the banks where you store precious metals, because their clientele has the money to afford lots of lawyers, has similarly specific contracts.

            Apple specifies in its contract that the data will be encrypted and will not be accessible to others, which is similar to the banks saying they will store the items given to them in a secure vault. Neither mention the specific location or locations where that's going to happen. I see no available legal argument for this case, and from the sound of it, I don't think there should be one.

            1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

              Re: T.I.T. Security

              I believe that most bank contracts do specify certain things about how things are stored, giving certain assurances of security, insurance, etc.

              Sure. Capital One says that our security is their top priority. Or not.

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: T.I.T. Security

          But if you store your gold-pressed latinum (data) in Credit Suisse (or similar bank vaults) rather than, e.g. 'T.I.T. Security' (Trotter's Independent Traders), then you can surely, and legally, expect that your bars of latinum are indeed being stored in their very highly secure vault system, rather than being passed to Del-Boy Trotter and stored under a carpet in his garden shed?

          The vault in the basement of the Credit Suisse building could be owned, installed and operated by TITS and branded as a Credit Suisse vault. Credit Suisse rent 3/4 of the space in the vault for their needs, while the other 1/4 is rented out by TITS to Safety Deposit Co. (SDC) . This is inside the Credit Suisse tenanted portion of the Buildings'R'Us owned building to which Credit Suisse has also purchased (or rented) the naming rights for, therefore the building name is Credit Suisse Building even though Credit Suisse only rent 1/4 of the bottom floor (public-facing services) and basement (where the T.I.T. operated but Credit Suisse branded vault is), and have office space on the 2nd and 3rd floors, but the rest of the ground floor and basement, and the other 7 floors above the 3rd floor, have different commercial tenants. The 11th-15th floors are residential, so have a number of different owners of those units. The building is in the new King's Cross development that has security provided by the developers in the form of facial recognition CCTV pervading the development on the lookout for crims (or attractive women to take recordings of for entertainment of the security monitoring centre).

          Credit Suisse hire security guards from FB (Fumble Brothers) for physical on-premises security.

          So, who are you storing the latinum with? Who would you seek recompense from if it was stolen? King's Cross developers, Buildings'R'Us (building owners), T.I.T. Security (vault operators/owners), FB (physical security providers), SDC (rents 1/4 of the space in the TITS vault) or Credit Suisse (to whom's care you gave your latinum to)?

    3. AMBxx Silver badge

      What will happen when users realise that Apple don't actually make any of their stuff either?

      1. Anonymous Coward
    4. AlbertH
      Big Brother

      It really DOES matter

      Apple are (again) guilty of deceptive advertising. It is possible to buy exactly the same services at much lower cost directly from the suppliers. Apple are just using their (rather devalued) brand name to suggest that they're providing something different. This lawsuit should prevail, and Apple should refund ALL the monies they gained using this deceptive sales technique. They should also get a substantial fine to suggest to them that they shouldn't do it again!

      1. jdoe99

        Re: It really DOES matter

        Considering that when i save to iCloud, i'm not having to construct my own API requests and configure the S3 bucket security settings, and i don't have to wrap my own encryption/decryption around my data - i think it's safe to assume that Apple may be providing more than just raw storage and therefore, actually has some ground to stand on when charging more money than what the base S3 storage costs are.

        Point is - you are using their service. It is no secret that you can find other services out there for less money, so then why did you choose apple? They integrate iCloud very nicely with all my devices, and directly within the apps - that's not something that is provided by the storage service, but by Apple.

        If you are really upset about this, then drop your service - lesson learned. Next time do research. If it is THAT big of a deal to you, perhaps you need to get your own NAS device and run it in your basement. Don't forget to line the walls with tin foil though, or the government will have drones sweep by to scan and collect the contents of your drives.

        People are way too sue-happy; they're abusing the legal system because they simply refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions. Apple could announce that all storage is on S3, and all devices are really made by other companies; doesn't matter, i like how they work, i like how they work together, i'm not switching.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    pissing into the wind

    Taking Apple to court and winning? I get the feeling this is a fools errand.

  3. SW10

    So, what’s your point?

    I can imagine that, in China, Apple had to let the government have a spare key.

    Even if the plaintiffs (whose financial data, health records and browsing history are probably spattered over various clouds) believe an Amazon, Google or MS BOFH is more likely to pry than an Apple BOFH, I’m sure bosses at those cloudy providers know that holding a key to iCloud data could leave them open to all sorts of liabilities they really don’t need.

    This is going to come down to how much third party providers can reasonably be used, and what for.

  4. major_paine

    A contract is a contract

    The point the plaintiffs make is valid - whether we like it or not - as Apple failed to disclose it was reselling in some cases. All other issues including whether data can be compromised by doing so are somewhat accessory to the core claim.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A contract is a contract

      Why would they have an obligation to disclose this? They are selling a service, and don't claim anywhere that it is delivered entirely on Apple owned and operated infrastructure.

      It isn't exactly a secret that they do, so people who claim to care so much about this should have done a little research. They don't care of course, they're just out to sue a company with deep pockets, hoping to make a quick buck.

      1. Phil Kingston

        Re: A contract is a contract

        Exactly. But in addition to a lawyer who got a scent for dollars I'd love to hear from some aggrieved users on how this actually impacted them. Convincingly.

        Actually - two, make it two, I'd settle for hearing from two users for whom this was actually an issue.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A contract is a contract

          Two? Ok: Andrea Williams and James Stewart.

      2. sorry, what?

        Re: A contract is a contract

        There's never a quick buck to be made with Apple from its lawyer drone protected stronghold.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A contract is a contract

        "... a company with deep pockets, hoping to make a quick buck."

        Apple's mission statement.

    2. pogul

      Re: A contract is a contract

      Except Apple isn't "reselling" - a term which implies that the service is just rebadged as-is. I don't think they're just pointing you at AWS endpoints directly are they? What about all the accounts infrastructure and software for example? Half the internet runs on AWS, so when your online shopping data hits the servers is that too deemed as "just reselling AWS"?

      Would you sue a cafe for not stating in big letters that it didn't farm all of it's own ingredients? "What? you didn't extract this salt from the sea yourself!?!"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A contract is a contract

        "Would you sue a cafe for not stating in big letters that it didn't farm all of it's own ingredients?"

        If Folgers sold coffee grown by Maxwell and labeled it as Folgers, I'd believe it was grown by Folgers.

        Of course I guess I could rip the label off, flip to the back, follow a web link, scour that page, tirelessly read 100 pages of legal and computer jargon, reference the terms I don't understand... I *should* then discover the truth. Should I do that? Pass... it's Folgers.

        When people defend mega corps with EULA speak, you know people have been mentally conditioned. Get out of the fish bowl!

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: A contract is a contract

          >If Folgers sold coffee grown by Maxwell and labeled it as Folgers, I'd believe it was grown by Folgers.

          That's a pretty naive understanding of how a business works. Branding is just a way of differentiating product, it doesn't imply that the product is necessarily different from the product sold under another label. (That's why I tend to buy a lot of 'own label' supermarket goods....)

          Apple's just selling a service. This service needs to meet certain user expectations but how that service is provided is really none of the customers' business. Storage, like coffee, is just a commodity.,

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: A contract is a contract

            "If Folgers sold coffee grown by Maxwell and labeled it as Folgers, I'd believe it was grown by Folgers."

            From a very quick check online, it doesn't look like either of these companies grows coffee. They buy coffee from other people who grow it then do whatever grinding technique/recipe they use to make their products. I'm going to assume that these products are detectably different; I don't know as I've never tried either, but it helps make your point. Unfortunately, it doesn't help your point enough, because the difference between the companies is what they do to the coffee, from their quality control on the beans to whatever preparation techniques they use. Maybe the companies get their coffee from different subspecies of the coffee plants and from different areas of the globe, but that doesn't get announced in their brands. For all you know, they're buying their coffee beans from exactly the same massive coffee growing company. It's what they do to it that makes it a product. Similarly, Apple has its own software and service, and it buys computing capacity to run it on. Whether it runs on Amazon's servers, Microsoft's servers, Google's servers, servers Apple built that run inside Apple headquarters, or servers that are sourced from mainstream server manufacturers and stacked in a datacenter somewhere random, the service is the same to the users. If there were any difference, including extra non-Apple people having the ability to see unencrypted user data, that would be a problem and a possible cause for complaint. But that's not the case.

            "When people defend mega corps with EULA speak, you know people have been mentally conditioned."

            First, I'd like to point out that neither the person to whom you replied nor I have used any legal terms, unless you count "Apple's own software and service" as legalese.

            Second, we use legal arguments because legal arguments are at play. This is a court case, and part of the discussion is whether the case will succeed. And we're not blindly defending megacorps. I'm sure you can investigate all our post histories and see that we've often denounced many large companies. We defend defensible actions only. And it matters not if it's a company I like or one I dislike, if they're doing something that I don't find problematic, I'm not going to attack them on that basis just because I disagree with something else they do.

        2. Arthur 1

          Re: A contract is a contract

          > If Folgers sold coffee grown by Maxwell and labeled it as Folgers, I'd believe it was grown by Folgers.

          This is at least a consistent position, but you should probably get suing. Neither of these companies grow any coffee and they almost certainly buy from the same farms. The level of vertical integration you're assuming from large companies simply doesn't exist, nobody provides a good or service without a ton of other hands in the pot, and that's a good thing because it allows them to each focus on their strengths. Apple isn't a cloud provider and Folgers isn't a farm, asking them to be would almost certainly harm price and quality of the product they produce.

        3. jdoe99

          Re: A contract is a contract

          LOL - oh man.

          These guys are right. I'm going to start a class action suit against Starbucks too, because i know for a fact that i can buy a large cup of coffee worth of beans for cheaper than they sell me a large cup of already-brewed coffee.

          How can they do that? For the same one-dollar, i can get 5 cups worth of coffee beans and brew it myself! Why should the big company who is putting extra time into shipping and brewing, and paying someone to rotate the canisters every hour, be allowed to profit on their extra effort? They should be reselling that coffee at the same cost of the beans.

          Taking my tinfoil hat off for a minute - are you telling me that if the data is encrypted by Apple, and only apple holds the keys to that decryption, that you actually care where your data is stored? Especially if the data is chunked and still useless even IF Amazon got their hands on those decryption keys? If you think that other storage services out there (and there are hundreds) aren't leveraging other companies for their full highly available and geographically dispersed storage networks - then you are mistaken.

    3. moonpunk

      Re: A contract is a contract

      I actually don't think the point the plaintiffs make is valid at all. Apple would argue (in my view successfully) that they're not simply reselling other cloud providers storage, not least because of the 'value add' that Apple are providing by enabling the seamless functionality of providing backup and storage through their iOS operating system - hence the price premium compared to natively choosing AWS, Google, or Azure storage. Furthermore (as others have pointed out) the fact that Apple has chosen to outsource *some* elements of their iCloud solution is in no way a breach of their contractual obligations to their users, they certainly do not state that they are providing the entire solution themselves (hardware, servers, OS, electricity, datacenter, etc.). Basic common sense will undoubtedly see this lawsuit fail.

  5. bpfh

    I don’t see them reselling a service

    They sell iCloud, a series of technologies to allow Apple clients to store their data through a series of apps or native seamless backup and restore of their iDevices.

    What iCloud runs on, Azure, AWS et al, is the back end infrastructure that iCloud needs to run, it’s not being sold on to the end client , the customer does not have to set up S3 buckets et al...

    Saying Apple is a cloud reseller is a bit like saying my web host is actually a Seagate reseller because they make the hard drive in the server I rent connected to their network.

    Now, could they have been clearer about their back end tech? Sure they could. Would it dilute their brand? Possibly. Would 99.9% of their users care (or even read the fine print of the TOS describing this)? No...

    1. Keith Langmead

      Re: I don’t see them reselling a service

      Yeah that was my thought as well. Presumably if the suit specifically talks about them “reselling” then that may be the simplest defence for Apple. They’re using those systems to provide their service, they’re not reselling them, so even if you think they shouldn’t be using 3rd party services that’s not what they’re being sued over.

      Surely it’s also beneficial to their users since it provides even more redundancy… if the data is spread across those different services, even if MS/Amazon/Google had a complete meltdown, the data held in the other services would still be available.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: I don’t see them reselling a service

      bpfh, you hit the nail on the head. Apple is selling a service that operates seamlessly on their devices, not a generic "cloud storage" service. Even if they were, would that mean anything? If they advertised that as their own host they were more secure/faster/better redundancy and it turns out they are just selling others services and can't support those claims, that's a different story.

      More frivolous lawsuits from the land of too many lawyers.

  6. JMiles

    I mean if Apple made clear they were really only resellers for Foxconn then I would just go buy my iPhone from there instead!

    Seriously, how do lawsuits like this exist? What does it cost in the US to even file a claim like this?

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Lawsuits like this exist because lawyers exist?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: A problem of Apples own making...

        I believe South Park investigated this issue and found it was actually Apple that created the relationship between lawyers of frivolous lawsuits and their easily offended clients.

        It was a failed product called the humancentipad:

  7. MrClump

    That’s because in China it almost certainly isn’t stored with good encryption. There is bound to be a backdoor that Apple don’t (or cannot contractually) disclose to their Chinese customers.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    But you're an Apple user.

    All you have to know is that It Just Works.

    How it works is something for clever people to know for you.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: But you're an Apple user.

      Personally I prefer things that work well rather than just working.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: But you're an Apple user.

        I'd be out of the job if IT stuff worked well all of the time.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: But you're an Apple user.

      I know a few Unix bods who use Macs (they see macOS as a version of BSD with a nice GUI, which it is, IMO) who would disagree with the apparent assumption in your second sentence.

      Personally, I think this is a stupid lawsuit. Apple are selling a service, and they are selling the integration between that service and the devices using it. They are not selling a backend. It's like suing a PC manufacturer because they didn't tell you that the parts were made by Intel, Gigabyte, Crucial and Samsung and not the manufacturer. When you buy a device or service, you are paying for the components themselves (be they hardware, software or other services), and you are paying for someone to put them together, and support them (you are also paying for dozens of other things like warehousing etc, but that's beyond the scope of this comment).

      I don't understand what they hope to gain by taking this action. Even though Apple are likely not storing all the iCloud data on their own infrastructure, any contracts the users have are with Apple. Apple can still have action taken against them even if it's one of their providers that fail. It's still Apple's reputation that will be affected. Apple would need to take any action required against their providers.

      If it's merely an objection to Google, Amazon or Microsoft having their data, I think they are in for a rude awakening. A *lot* of companies (and a *lot* of household names) have outsourced a lot of their IT infrastructure to Google, Amazon or Microsoft. So it is likely that most of us have personal data on one (or all) of those cloud systems. I read somewhere a while back (so it may have changed) that Netflix uses AWS rather than maintain it's own infrastructure, so, yes, Amazon are providing computer power for a major competitor.

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Another week and another class action against Apple

    Not news really is it.

    I wonder if Apple are running some form of on premises Azure or similar cloud in their own data centres?

    Even if they were not, it might be hard for any of the plaintifs to prove that their bits of data did not reside on Apple owned servers.

    Then it will be even harder to prove that they were damaged financially by it.

    Sometimes these lawsuits seem to strecth credibility beyond reason. Unlike in the UK, there is often very little come back in the way of costs being awarded against the loser. Make these shyster law firms pay and very soon all the frivilous cases will magically disappear.

    I'm all for suing the bejesus out of a company for doing wrong but sometimes these are just a joke and a needless drain on the court system.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another week and another class action against Apple

      "I wonder if Apple are running some form of on premises Azure or similar cloud in their own data centres?"

      I suspect Apple will be using publicly available storage services and supporting infrastructure to allow them to expand services faster than building their own data centres will allow. I would point to Ireland as an example where building your own facility can take a significant amount of time.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's a point of principle for some people, not technology. I've often seen posts here on El Reg to the effect that "Google is Evil"; posts which go on to describe the many ways in which the alleged 'evil' is perpetrated on unsuspecting masses, and which should be avoided at all costs. I've also seen countless posts denigrating Microsoft along the same lines, and advocating Linux, for example, because it's much less 'evil' than Windows.

    Thus, for some, and possibly even the litigants, Apple may be 'less evil', and a trusted brand they signed up to in order to avoid all those 'evils' that Google and Microsoft are accused of here and elsewhere.

    For those folks, who buy or subscribe to Apple's goods and services specifically to avoid Google's and Microsoft's products and services, learning that 'the evil ones' are actually at the back end of what they'd believed was 'not evil' will be the source of their ire, not some blinkered techy blah about encryption, hardware manufacturers, or China.

    1. Apprentice

      Re: Evils

      The same people that hate on Google, yet spend their life on YouTube and use Google to search for everything. They announce their loyalty to Apple in the most blind and hypocritical way.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "an entity they trusted "

    ahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! NOOOBS!!

  12. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    I think this is hilarious.

    People are literally taking Apple to court for not being honest. It's Apple, king of tax dodging companies. So good at not paying taxes their president, the orange one himself changed tax laws so they didn't lose out too much by bringing it home.

    Kings of shining a turd.

    Masters at making the emperors new clothes.

    Why is anyone shocked they re-badged someone elses services???

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Wait a minute

    "these iCloud subscribers had their data turned over by Apple to third-parties for these third-parties to store the data in a manner completely unknown to the subscribers"

    When your order something on Amazon, you don't care what vehicle is used to get it to you, now do you ?

    And when you subscribed to the iCloud, you had no idea of how it worked either, now did you ?

    But now you've learned that Apple has actually managed to leverage three* different cloud environments to store your data, and all of a sudden you're all hot and bothered ? More than by learning that Apple uses slave labor to bring you your iShiny ?


    * I'm supposing Apple does actually have a cloud, and that it is not just using its two competitor's stuff

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait a minute

      Specious argument. You'd care very much if Amazon used a delivery company you despised for employing illegal immigrant slave labour drivers, wouldn't you? Especially if all Amazon's marketing and terms and conditions made no mention of employing said despicable delivery company. Nice bit of virtue-signalling though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait a minute

        They do. I've had the occasional Amazon box delivered by Hermes.

        1. MrBanana Silver badge

          Re: Wait a minute

          I'll give you an upvote, but Hermes are still above Yodel on the totally shite at delivering something to anywhere scale. "Oh, so sorry we couldn't find your address after 3 attempts in 2 weeks, please drive 30 miles, to the arse end of Reading, to pick up your parcel from our warehouse".

          1. Chris King

            Re: Wait a minute

            What is it with Amazon and their choices of delivery service ?

            Cheap stuff - Royal Mail or DPD (i.e. expensive options compared to the value of the parcel)

            Anything expensive, and especially anything fragile - Hermes or Yodel.

            Icon says it all.

        2. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Wait a minute

          I must be lucky in that my local Hermes couriers are pretty good. They don't invent excuses for why they can't find my house and will happily do as they're told and leave parcels on the doorstep of my flat so long as a neighbour will let them in to the building.

          Yodel are pretty much the opposite of that, and UPS are even worse. Had a UPS courier shout at me the other week because a package from Microsoft left part of the address off, as if that's my fault.

      2. knelmes

        Re: Wait a minute

        "Nice bit of virtue-signalling though."

        You were making a good point until you mentioned one of the phrases that means you're talking bollocks.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait a minute

        "You'd care very much if Amazon used a delivery company you despised for employing illegal immigrant slave labour drivers, wouldn't you?"

        Sir obviously never dealt with Amazon Local then.

      4. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Wait a minute

        Argument fails. If Amazon used a delivery company that was breaking the law, that's where law enforcement comes in. The argument we're trying to parallel doesn't have that, so that particular example is irrelevant. If they used a company I didn't like but wasn't breaking the law, I could decide not to use Amazon. I don't have the right to say "Amazon is using a delivery company I don't like, so they should switch to another one or do the delivery themselves".

  14. Vulture@C64

    Apple do not re-sell anything from AWS or Microsoft, they utilise a back-end service to support their iCloud product.

    This is a fishing exercise to see if they can screw Apple.

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    There will be a lot of none Apple own infrastructure used to make iCloud work, the routers, switches, and servers will all be manufactured by third parties even if they were in a Apple owned and run data centre. And the software would be unlikely to be running an Apple OS on the servers even in Apple own data centres, it could be linux, BSD or even Windows.

    Just another frivolous law suit.

  16. Annihilator Silver badge

    There's a very big point being missed by both the lawsuit and the comments on here that are along the lines of "why should you care?"

    Backups depend on their independence. For those people who were using two separate cloud solutions to provide a level of resilience and independence, it's probably a bit of an eye opener to discover their approach of splitting their cloud storage strategy was actually irrelevant. If you're using iCloud as your primary cloud provider and S3 as a backup to that, you might be in for a shock in the event of an S3 outage when it turns out your iCloud storage was sitting on that all along.

    So yes, it's important.

    1. Agincourt and Crecy!

      Not sure it works like that...

      That argument might hold up if your S3 backup happened to be in the same availability zone as your iCloud backup and they are the only copies. It is far more likely that your iCloud backup is going to be sharded across multiple availability zones in AWS or even across S3, Azure and Google. You might lose your own S3 copy if there was an S3 outage but chances are your iCloud backup is going to be available because of multiple cloud providers backing up the service.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Not sure it works like that...

        It also doesn't exactly work because iCloud doesn't run the same style of backup as AWS does. AWS backs up data on their systems, whereas iCloud backs up data on client devices. If a user decides to buy both of them, they have no guarantee that those two places are going to store the backups in different places.

        Consider the following parallel: I store my data with two different companies, each having stored the data in their own datacenters, which are not the same. Each tells me that, if their datacenter is disrupted, for example by the building catching on fire, my data is not necessarily protected. That's why I stored it on the systems of two companies. However, both datacenters are in the same general area. Then, that general area concerned gets ravaged by a massive natural disaster appropriate for the region. Both companies' datacenters get destroyed. You are trying to blame the owner of one of the datacenters concerned. In reality, nobody's at fault though I should have done a little more checking to ensure my backup was stored in a geographically distributed manner.

        This is why off-site backup contracts are so complex. When you want a guarantee for where your data is and what can happen to the provider before you lose access to your data, either temporarily or permanently, you can't just assume that things will fall into place without doing the due diligence. If you're concerned that multiple providers will be using the same physical location or system, you have to check that before you go ahead with it.

      2. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Not sure it works like that...

        "You might lose your own S3 copy if there was an S3 outage but chances are your iCloud backup is going to be available because of multiple cloud providers backing up the service"

        I'm not sure that many data owners would be comforted by a "chances are" statement like that.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely Apple are only renting space for their iCloud service

  18. iron Silver badge

    I dislike Apple as much as the next man but this is just ludicrous nonsense.

    What's next, "I bought a video streaming service from Netflix but it turns out they use AWS so I'm gonna sue!?!"

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

      Weird Al moment

      Your imagined phrase reminds me a lot of his Rage Against the Machine pastiche named "I'll Sue Ya"...

      I'll sue ya! I'll take all of your money

      I'll sue ya! if you even look at me funny

      And since I mentioned the song, I must quote my favorite line...

      I sued Neiman Marcus

      'cause they put up their Christmas decorations way out of season

      I sued Ben Affleck...


      Aaaaaaw, do I even need a reason?

      I guess this this case we can swap "Ben Affleck" for "big Apple" and it works.

  19. adam payne

    Touting itself as the provider of the iCloud service (when, in fact, Apple was merely reselling cloud storage space on cloud facilities of other entities) allowed Apple not only to obtain paid subscriptions of class members who subscribed to iCloud believing that their cloud storage was being provided by Apple,

    Amazon / MS / Google provides services to Apple who then in turn provides it to iCloud customers. Apple may not own / run the storage but they are providing a service.

  20. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Apple still provides the service

    Part of the service is my own broadband connection, Apple's company fridges providing cold milk to their employees, the network cables in Apple's data centres, the hard disks in the servers, and of course the actual servers themselves. Yes, some of those are extreme examples, but they're all part of the infrastructure. Who cares where the servers physically are? Do apple say they're providing the servers? NO. the say they're providing the SERVICE. Different thing.

  21. Bitsminer Bronze badge


    Apple iphone users mostly seem to be.

  22. tempemeaty

    I guess people paid Apple for the satisfaction of their data not being in the hands of or on a Google or Amazon or any other server regardless the encryption. Oops...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A company outsources to increase its margins. Next up, bears shitting in the woods...fact or fiction?

  24. tip pc Silver badge

    I object to any of my data stored on SeaGate disks.

    I object to any of my data stored on SeaGate disks, can I sue apple as they didn’t specify exactly what brand of disk storage they use.

    1. Ouch

      Re: I object to any of my data stored on SeaGate disks.

      No you cant but I think you might have a case if they stored you data on equipment they do not own especially if they implied they owned and managed the equipment where your data is stored.

  25. TimMaher Silver badge

    Is this the right moment?..

    ... for me to repeat the oft voiced opinion, by our esteemed commentards, that you should never store stuff in the "cloud"; it is just somebody elses computer. In this case, anybody elses computer.

    Apologies for the spelking and punctuation, this is a Galaxy S7 and I type left fingered.

  26. Micky Nozawa

    I was surprised to see this story appear yesterday, I thought this was common knowledge.

  27. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Well, at least people have a choice.

  28. EnviableOne Silver badge

    its a textbook GDPR failiure of disclosure, but under US Law its a little less clear cut

  29. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge


    'nuff said.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's suing?

    Now that Peter Thiel added lawsuits by proxy to the Silicon Valley playbook.. the question is which of the companies who are being "resold" got opinion surveys back that said people trusted them with their data less than they trust Apple, and decided a public lawsuit would be a good way to rebalance the scale?

  31. fredesmite

    AWS owns you

    On the CNN report on Amazon last week - a journalist tried to disconnect from AWS on everyday web browsing by creating a app that would alert her to when any queries went to AWS - she found it impossible to avoid AWS backend

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022