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Verizon Removes Search Choices For BlackBerrys 510

Posted by kdawson
from the you've-been-bung dept.
shrugger writes "I picked up my BlackBerry this morning to do a search and noticed Bing as my default search engine. I thought this was very strange, since I didn't pick this setting. I went to change it back to Google and, to my chagrin, Bing was my only option! Apparently Verizon has pushed an update that removes all search providers except Bing. Thanks a lot Verizon!" The Reg notes: "The move is part of the five-year search and advertising deal Verizon signed with Microsoft in January for a rumored $500m."
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Verizon Removes Search Choices For BlackBerrys

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  • by Syntroxis (564739) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:24PM (#30519088)
    Not gonna do it.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:24PM (#30519096) Journal
    "We don't have to care, we're the phone company."
  • by lorenlal (164133) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:28PM (#30519122)

    Go download the Google app in the meantime.

    My initial reaction is just pure anger. I have settings, I like those settings. To have them just overwritten, and to take away my choice of a search provider just reeks to me. BTW - Way to go pushing that Google Android based phone, and then piss off your BB users with a Bing deal.

  • F*ck you Verizon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vinn (4370) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:30PM (#30519134) Homepage Journal
    F*ck you Verizon. You know, I used to manage a 500 phone cell contract at the last company I worked for. I actually liked Verizon then. They had great support and offered decent phones (although it still took them a year to get the RAZR, the hot phone at the time.) We had some great regional sales reps too. Warranties were hassle free and we appreciated that. I moved jobs three years ago. It came time to consider switching cell providers and I naively assumed Verizon was the same. Sure, they're rates were still about the same, but everything else has changed with the company. I hate dealing with them now and they're the bane of my existence. I had SEVERAL regional reps outright lie to me this year. I hate them.
  • by Mononoke (88668) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:30PM (#30519140) Homepage Journal
    No matter how much AT&T sucks, Verizon will always lead the competition in that category.
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:31PM (#30519150) Homepage
    If you need to push your product by paying another company to force your product to be used, I don't think that says very good things about your product. Moreover, it is going to make many people simply react negatively to being forced to use Bing. On the other hand, given the massive head start that Google has over Bing, it is understandable that Microsoft would try tactics like this. Presumably if they are still trying this sort of thing in two or three years that would indicate a much more serious problem. Honestly, having tried both Google and Bing I've found them to be close to the same quality. I prefer Google but primary for the interface.
  • by StreetStealth (980200) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:31PM (#30519152) Journal

    The appropriate way to ink this deal would have been to simply make Bing the default instead of actually removing the competitors. It would have been worth less money to Verizon, but far more in terms of customer loyalty.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:35PM (#30519184)

    Apparently Verizon has pushed an update that removes all search providers except Bing.

    . . . more like a "shove."

  • Boycott, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sethens (1705378) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:36PM (#30519196)
    Honestly -- did Microsoft learn nothing from the browser war? Its anti-trust lawsuits? Even if this sort of move is not technically illegal, they're sure to gain more enemies than friends in the tech community. I was never keen on the blackberry, but the sliver of interest I had in the product is now gone.
  • by Tisha_AH (600987) <Tisha.Hayes@gmail.com> on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:37PM (#30519200) Journal

    Wow, AT&T with it's lock-in of the iPhone, now Verizon with a lock-in to Bing. Can it be that this is the only way that Microsoft can get people to use Bing?

    I tried Bing, gave it a fair shake and ended up back with Google. To have my choices taken away by my phone carrier in a backroom deal between Microsoft and Verizon would get me looking for a new carrier.

    Of course, Microsoft has been in this business for a long time so they can give lessons to Verizon.

  • You mean Fuck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:39PM (#30519214) Homepage

    Honestly how angry can you be if you still have to censor the word fuck? Whats next C*ap and F*rt?

  • argh, really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TakeoffZebra (1651327) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:43PM (#30519244)
    So Google provides the OS for the big Droid push, then gets its trademark search engine blocked? Not only is this offensive to Google, but to the consumers as well. The fact that Verizon accepted a payoff for the sole purpose of limiting usability on the customer's end is infuriating. There comes a point when capitalism is taken too far...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:52PM (#30519322)

    Anger at BB for this? I have no interest in owning a BB either personally, but if I was a VZ customer, I'd be pissed at VZ - not MS or BB. MS is simply trying to market a turd, and BB is simply BB. VZ is the one that crossed the lines, imo.

  • Shameful... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:52PM (#30519324)
    From now on, whenever Microsoft talks of providing choice, remember this deal in which Microsoft appears to have removed any choice of search from Verizon's users.
  • by Johnny Loves Linux (1147635) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:53PM (#30519336)

    This demonstrates exactly why the phone network provider has to be decoupled from the cell phone vendor. What is the subtext of this? That the consumers are nothing more than serfs for the phone network providers to buy and sell as they please. That's the point. You have NO choice with Verizon. It's not YOUR phone it's THEIR phone.

    Microsoft couldn't pay enough people to use exclusively bing *and* keep their word, so why bother with the common citizen and instead go directly to the phone network? After all, the phone network is the only the thing that matters. Who gives a F*** about you and me and what *we* want? Certainly not verizon with this maneuver. The worst part? I don't think it has even occurred to the management at verizon how deeply offensive this maneuver is. To FORCIBLY lock people into 1 choice of search engine?!?! WTF? What are they smoking?!?!

    I think it's time that Congress and the President (who's a blackberry customer) is informed of what exactly verizon thinks of their freedom of choice. Talk about Dumb Ass Maneuver!

  • by causality (777677) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:56PM (#30519352)

    Go download the Google app in the meantime.

    My initial reaction is just pure anger. I have settings, I like those settings. To have them just overwritten, and to take away my choice of a search provider just reeks to me. BTW - Way to go pushing that Google Android based phone, and then piss off your BB users with a Bing deal.

    The law should allow you to cancel your contract with no early termination penalty of any sort anytime the telco unilaterally and irreversibly reduces the phone's configuration like this. This behavior should legally negate any "terms subject to change without notice" clauses. It's a form of bait-and-switch, because when you bought the phone you were able to decide which search service to use and now that decision has been removed without your consent after you signed the contract.

    If it only applied to new phones with new contracts, or to existing customers whose contracts are renewing (and thus can be terminated with no penalty) I'd feel differently about it. It's waiting until you are locked into a contract with specific expectations and then reducing (instead of improving) the functionality of the device mid-term that I have a problem with.

  • Re:argh, really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:57PM (#30519366)
    It isn't capitalism. If it was true capitalism there would be competition because there wouldn't be government regulations/payouts that helped Verizon and MS in the first place. If it wasn't for the government intentionally creating monopolies with the first AT&T then breaking up the artificial monopoly, we wouldn't have had Verizion in the first place. The mobile phone market != Capitalism.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:58PM (#30519382) Homepage

    Ultimately how bad this is depends on the terms of the deal. Is the search engine the default option on new devices, or is it the only option forced on existing customers who didn't know something like this could happen when they signed up? That sort of thing makes a big difference.

    Either way, I think the real culprit here is Verizon. It's understandable that Microsoft or Google would want some kind of deal for search engine placement. We all know Google pays Mozilla for placement as the default engine. The problem is more about how little regard Verizon has for their own customers-- so little that they think it's perfectly appropriate to go in and screw with a customer's phone remotely.

  • Re:Droid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:59PM (#30519392)

    Apple and AT&T have been only allowing one set of search providers, stores, Web browsers, and API. And people flock to their products.

    Someone forces their devices to do the same thing, people scream bloody murder.

    Why? Because people *had* the choice before, and it was taken away from them. With Apple, you know you will be using Safari or nothing, iTMS or nothing, Apple App store or nothing, and AT&T (in the US) or nothing. The deal with this device is that people didn't sign up knowing that their choices of search providers would be taken away.

  • No, not exactly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:07PM (#30519458)
    I have a BlackBerry Storm through Verizon, and the other day I noticed the Bing icon show up on my screen, which I thought was strange, but seeing as how I'm sort of generally disenchanted with Google these days, I didn't really care. However, if you open up the actual browser app instead of clicking the new icon, then you can still search via Google by default in there without any disruption.

    Verizon didn't remove search choice, and they aren't forcing Bing, they just stuck an extra icon on the phone. Delete it and move on. Seriously.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:10PM (#30519484)
    Yeah, but the difference seems to be between usability and the total lack of. While I would like an open device, I would also like something reliable. For example, the last time I checked OpenMoko, calls still wouldn't work all the time. Its kinda important for me that my OS doesn't randomly not answer calls or receive text messages.

    Really, even though its closed, Android is a nice alternative. It is stable, has lots of application support, lots of phones and most are easily rooted to do whatever with. Yeah, mid 2006 OpenMoko had promise, now I don't see the point. They really failed to deliver.
  • by causality (777677) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:14PM (#30519512)

    Honestly -- did Microsoft learn nothing from the browser war? Its anti-trust lawsuits? Even if this sort of move is not technically illegal, they're sure to gain more enemies than friends in the tech community. I was never keen on the blackberry, but the sliver of interest I had in the product is now gone.

    What Microsoft learned is that the general public has an extremely short memory and will continue to assume good-faith on the part of companies who have given every reason to doubt that. It's similar to what politicians learned a long time ago.

  • Re:Wait for 2010 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pydev (1683904) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:21PM (#30519566)

    No, it wouldn't be nice "for them", it would be nice for you because it would make it easy for you to switch phones and providers as you like. And that's why they don't do it.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:21PM (#30519572)

    ah but they doubled their termination fee. now it is cheaper to get a divorce than to pay verizon to get out of the contract.

  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:21PM (#30519574) Homepage Journal
    Losing choice is a pretty good reason to chuck a carrier I don't care how good bing's privacy is or isn't.
  • awwww (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:28PM (#30519620) Homepage Journal
    Wow, if you wait long enough they will re-instate the choice but charge $5 per month to maintain the choice. It's the Verizon way..Yeah we get a buck for that...
  • by SetupWeasel (54062) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:33PM (#30519650) Homepage

    I worked in the telephone industry, and I can tell you this: Verizon is not perfect, but they are nothing like the festering shitpile that was SBC and is now at&t.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:42PM (#30519712)

    Weird that this roughly coincides with Verizon's doubling of the early termination fee, isn't it?

  • by shrimppesto (766285) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:58PM (#30519830)
    To be fair, I think that the browser wars taught Microsoft that their tactics actually do work -- to an extent. They went from being a minor player to being the dominant browser, largely by bundling and incorporating IE into Windows. Enemies in the tech community are no match for compliant sheep in the non-tech community.

    Firefox isn't dominant because Microsoft withdrew their tactics. Firefox is dominant because MSIE stinks. Time will tell if the same happens to Bing
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:58PM (#30519832)

    Ah, the wonderful sound of thousands of cancelled contracts! Nothing quite like it.

    Which won't happen because just about everyone who wanted the iphone or out of Verizon for some other reason has already bailed. The people who are left are there for the coverage or to put it more bluntly, it's the network stupid. They will piss and moan and grumble about it but it will not be enough to get them to switch because they chose Verizon for the network ; not because they had the best smartphones. Verizon is doing this because they can and their customers will like it that way. Verizon a bully? who knew....right.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:59PM (#30519844) Homepage Journal

    google does the exact same thing and has for a while

    As far as I can tell, their deals don't include blocking access to the other search sites. Verizon is making bing the only search site usable by Verizon customers. Google seems to merely pay for placement as the default server. My (up-to-date) copies of seamonkey and firefox default to google, but the search widget has a menu of other search sites, and I typing in the URLs of other search sites also works. Nothing is blocked.

    So it's not at all the "same thing" as what the Verizon/Microsoft coalition has done.

    The abovethecrowd.com article seems to confirm this. Google's nefarious plot has be based on positioning themself as the default "less than free" alternative, by giving kickbacks from their ad revenue to their partners. But so far they don't seem to have actually managed to restrict customers' access as Verizon is doing. They merely make their stuff available at a better price for everyone, to gain the "default" position.

    The article goes into the related GPS navigation story in some detail. I saw a good example of google's approach a few days ago, when I needed to be at an event about 90 miles away shortly after local rush hour. I have a Garmin GPS gadget in my car, and I also had my T-Mobile G1 Android phone in my pocket. The Garmin gave me a route that the G1's google maps app told me had a serious traffic congestion. So I took a slightly longer alternate route that google said wasn't congested, and got there well before the estimated arrival time of either GPS gadget.

    The interesting thing about this is that I've taken to pitting the G1 and the Garmin nav stuff against each other, out of interest in how they compare. The main problem with Garmin's GPS is that it doesn't have "live" net access to anything. Its maps are now incorrect for a couple of local areas due to recent new highway construction, and it would cost me $160 to "upgrade" my maps to the latest version. The G1 uses google maps, so it's constantly downloading the current maps from the Net, but its downside is that when I'm out of cell-tower range, it can't get the maps. In this case, though, it showed off the real strength of google's nav stuff: It gets current traffic reports from its traveling phones and can warn you when there are problems ahead. Most of the time, its warnings are even accurate. If Garmin and the other GPS vendors can't move onto the Net in the same way, they're going to be out of business soon. On that trip, I ended up ignoring the Garmin routing, and followed the G1's suggestions.

    It should be noted that google isn't just supplying their nav software on Android "google" phones. My wife has an iPhone (which she loves), and it has the same google maps software. We've had a bit of fun comparing how google's stuff works on the two phones. There's no clear winner in that contest.

    (And I expect that google will soon be pre-fetching maps over a larger area, as memory becomes cheaper and phones can store more maps. This will ameliorate the out-of-cell-contact problems a lot. They'll also probably figure out how to make their UI better, by copying things that the GPS companies have done right. ;-)

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:07PM (#30519894) Homepage

    ... Verizon sells its customers!

    There was probably a funnier way to say that, but I think the point is made. Here we have this situation that appears again and again. Businesses who collect our money in giant leaf-piles of money somehow feel it's not enough and end up selling their customers... their trust, their personal data and personality information and habits and preferences... it sickens me but it stopped surprising me long ago.

  • Re:Shameful... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:08PM (#30519910) Journal

    From now on, whenever Microsoft talks of providing choice, remember this deal in which Verizon appears to have removed any choice of search from Verizon's users.

    Fixed that for you.
    Verizon is definitely not a victim in this.
    Despite the mountain of cash waved in their face, Verizon could have said no.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:11PM (#30519932) Journal

    If you need to push your product by paying another company to force your product to be used, I don't think that says very good things about your product.

    People stopped using Microsoft because they wanted to around the millennium change-over. Ever since then, it's mostly for compatibility. Microsoft has yet to make a product that people actually want because it's a good product by itself.

    Their only other semi-success, the Xbox, had horrible QA problems. People only bought them because MS either subsidized them or because MS bought exclusivity on the best games of the day. With both Bing and Xbox they are hoping they can buy enough market-share to reach the point where they can use compatibility as their main weapon again. That's the only game they know how to competitively play because that's the only game they have sufficient practice in and that's the type of personality they hire because company managers tend to hire clones of themselves. Gates was a B techie, C- artist, but an A poker player.
             

  • by laing (303349) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:11PM (#30519942)
    I dumped Verizon over 5 years ago when they partnered with M$ for "myvzw". One day I went to log into the portal (which worked fine from a mobile phone so it didn't require too many html capabilities) and it said I was on an incompatible browser and needed to upgrade. The problem was that I was on a SPARC. I'd been using a SPARC with Netscape for years with no trouble and then suddenly they said I needed exploder. AT&T has better phones anyway. I recently dumped Netflix because they require Silverlight to view movies on-line. It's just a coincidence that the CEO of Netflix sits on the M$ board of directors... People who say Microsoft has changed its ways and is no longer anti-competitive just aren't looking in the right places.
  • Re:argh, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:26PM (#30520032) Journal

    If it was true capitalism there would be competition because there wouldn't be government regulations/payouts that helped Verizon and MS in the first place. If it wasn't for the government intentionally creating monopolies with the first AT&T then breaking up the artificial monopoly, we wouldn't have had Verizion in the first place.

    Your conjecture is based on the premise that a monopoly wouldn't have formed anyways.
    The only problem with that theory is that AT&T/Bell was already a monopoly by the time the Gov't got around to regulating them as one (1934).
    Unregulated markets tend towards consolidation, cartels & oligopolies.

  • by xSauronx (608805) <xsauronxdamnit.gmail@com> on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:44PM (#30520150)

    really, i cant think of a cell provider now that i dont hear some serious level of bitching about. im in rural eastern nc, the main provider here is us cellular. its meh. cdma phones/coverage.

    who is actually a good provider that people arent always bitching about? US Cellular has good customer service and rates, but older phones and a slow network

    everyone says verizon locks down the phones
    that at&t has bad customer service and so-so coverage
    sprint has horrible customer service
    t-mobile has limited coverage areas

    does anyone have a provider that, for the most part, they are happy with?

  • by DeadPixels (1391907) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:45PM (#30520162)
    Unfortunately, they aren't going to lose much in the way of sales. As someone else pointed out a few replies back, their network is probably the best in the US right now. I used to use Verizon years ago, but dropped them for T-Mobile because their coverage was poor. Suddenly, Verizon went on a network-upgrading binge, T-Mobile's network took a nosedive, and I found myself back at Verizon because I desperately needed a phone that could actually make calls when I needed it to.

    And of course, it's not like the other companies are much better. T-Mobile has shot themselves in the foot repeatedly with data breaches and other problems, and while I haven't used any other carriers, I've heard equivalent horror stories from those who have. All of the carriers seem to be fighting over who can offer the worst service to the most people and get away with it.
  • by Hairy1 (180056) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:54PM (#30520228) Homepage

    I have a OpenMoko as well. It's all very well putting your money where your mouth is but how about the makers of OpenMoko actually finishing the software so the thing will run. The version that was sold had a hardware bug that requires fixing. There has never been a solid version of the software. The Android phones at least actually delivered on being a phone.

  • Re:argh, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3NO@SPAMjustconnected.net> on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:56PM (#30520248)

    No, it's not capitalism but don't go dragging the big bad government scarecrow in here.

    The thing about capitalism is it leads - inherently - to exactly the sort of situation you seem to think requires a government to create. When the first company goes around laying phone lines, or cable lines, or train tracks, or anything requiring a large initial investment in infrastructure, you usually get something known as a "natural monopoly". When Ma Bell put in their phone lines, it seems reasonable to think that another company could just put in a duplicate set of phone lines - obviously, AT&T has no incentive to share theirs. Unfortunately, this never happens. While you're trying to pay off your entirely redundant infrastructure, the incumbent will just undercut you.

    Then, with networks connecting people, you have to worry about the network effect. If everybody (or almost everybody) uses AT&T, and they won't allow your new startup to connect to their network - well, you're screwed before you begin.

    The situation is the same with cellphone market. The tendency is for one company to do it all.

    Food for thought: Without government intervention, you'd still have Ma Bell but you wouldn't be able to use your own phone, or a modem. There wouldn't be any other cell companies - it'd all be Bell, because they would just prevent interconnection. Want a cellphone, and want to talk to people on landlines? Gotta be Bell.

    Please, if you're going to spout off about the evils of government, at least be right. There's plenty of things to be annoyed at the government about, but regulation of natural monopolies is not one of them (unless, of course, you run a natural monopoly...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @11:24PM (#30520390)

    I'm from Australia... when you say unlimited, you mean like 60Gb/month or something huge like that right?

  • Re:Droid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anethema (99553) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:32AM (#30521028) Homepage
    You can also download other browsers in the app store (Though they all pretty much suck).
  • by jesboat (64736) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:33AM (#30521032) Homepage Journal

    Maybe because it's decent in suburban areas, because it's significantly cheaper than AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, because we don't mind roaming, and because T-Mobile is slightly less obviously run by assholes than the other three aforementioned companies?

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:54AM (#30521392)

    Yea, they'll do something even faster if NO ONE complains though, right?

    This sort of statement is fucking retarded.

    They aren't going to do anything until someone complains, the more people that do the more likely they are to do something about it.

    Take your 15 year old teenager angst and use it for something productive rather than whining about how no one cares about you.

  • by dissy (172727) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:18AM (#30521488)

    but the phone default for /its/ search app is Bing.

    Doesn't "default" imply the option it chooses if you do not select an option?
    Doesn't that require "options"? Like more than one?

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @03:53AM (#30521632)

    Awe look, another idiot who thinks saying 'exploder' and M$ is witty and cool.

    It stopped being cool when you angsty teenagers used it for freaking everything 10 years ago, now it just makes you look retarded.

    Adding to the making you look retarded part is the fact that this is pretty common practice and is done by many organizations, including software on your computers right now.

  • Re:Droid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by indros13 (531405) * on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:57AM (#30522696) Homepage Journal
    It's good enough for a presidential election...
  • by Random5 (826815) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:50AM (#30523026)
    It's 350 (slightly prorated) to leave early because you paid $200 upfront for a 600-700$ phone. Well the figures vary depending on exactly what phone you have but you get the point.
  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:15AM (#30523208)

    Yep. you have 2 options:

    1. Use bing as the default search engine
    2. Stop using search.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:48AM (#30523548)

    Call and complain. Average cost per call, considering overhead, is anywhere from $20-$40 in the call center industry, even more if you have dedicated in-house support.

    Prepare a complaint and read it, word for word, to the person you are talking to. Remember you are not talking to the person who made the policy, so refrain from profanity, yelling, and personal insults.

    But do take the time, at length, to voice your displeasure. If you're the only one who calls, at least you tried. If a million others also call, they are going to look for what's driving all of these calls and fix it ASAP. Cos no one wants to pay for call center overtime, or ramping up staffing.

    The trick is, let someone know you're unhappy and it might change. Keeping quiet guarantees it won't. Example: "Dear abby, I have a problem but I haven't told anyone about it because of some arbitrary reason. Answer: Tell them, simply and directly." It's in the newspaper every day - try it out once.

  • by Myopic (18616) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:15AM (#30524644)

    You sound very knowledgeable. Could you please cite a law so we could use it?

  • by stonewolf (234392) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:26PM (#30526300) Homepage

    This is an excellent suggestion, but not quite complete. Do not just complain. Ask for instructions on how to change the setting back to what it was. Under no conditions should you accept that it can not be done. You could change it yesterday, so you must be able to change it today, right? Be nice to the poor guy on the other end of the line. He is not at fault. But, when he says you can't change it kindly say that you believe he does not know how, and then demand to talk to a senior technical person so you can get your phone working again. Stay on the phone as long as possible and talk to as many people as possible.

    After you call Verizon and complain you *must* then call the FCC. You can find the number at http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm?sid=d1e640&id=d1e697 [fcc.gov] or just 1-888-225-5322 if you trust me :-) Then, you call the senators and your representative. You find your senator at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm [senate.gov] and then your representative at http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/mcapdir.html [house.gov]

    Calling Verizon costs Verizon money, but it will not force them to change their actions. Calling the FCC forces the agency that regulates Verison to take notice of what Verizon has done. If the FCC doesn't get complaints they are not forced to "notice" the problem. Calling the Senate and the House of representatives makes sure that the people who make the laws that govern Verizon notice that the people who vote for them are not happy with the laws that govern Verizon. Believe it or not, no matter how large a bribe ... OK "campaign contribution" your elected officials have been paid by Verizon (each and everyone of them has been bribed by Verizon) they will take action if they think it will affect their ability to stay in office. You see, no matter how much money Verizon can give them, Verizon can not vote for them. And the elected bastards know one thing, if they do not get elected they get no more goodies from Verizon and the rest of the megacorps.

    And, Ya'know, if you are just feeling mean, call Microsoft support and ask how to turn off Bing on your phone. It is their product, they should know, right?

    The idea is to make this policy change as costly for Verizon as possible. That means you make them pay to handle your calls and you make them pay even more by generating bad feelings toward them in the Senate and the House.

    Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. If you want to call and leave a comment for at the White House for President Obomo, 202-456-1111 or, if you do not trust me as you should not, you can find the number here http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact [whitehouse.gov]. You can also send an email from there.

    Stonewolf.

    Why isn't this information listed at the top of the page on Slashdot?

  • by hazydave (96747) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:45PM (#30526622)

    From what I've read, the Milestone only does 900MHz/2100MHz 3G, which is the European AWS band, specifically reallocated for GSM's bandwidth-hungry 3G protocols (you need 10MHz for regular UMTS/HSPA, and 20MHz for the higher speed stuff, the version AT&T sells at 7.2Mb/s down and 2Mb/s up). It's almost as if Motorola didn't want this phone imported to the USA :-)

    AT&T jumped in early here, with more bandwidth already owned, and did it on their own with non-standard 850MHz and 1900MHz, including some compromises (they have a single-duplex 5MHz version), and some places they just aren't going to do 3G.

    T-Mobile waited for the US AWS auction, and got 1700/2100MHz slots, but they came later, and they're less well funded... and worst of all, not compatible with either AT&T or Europe. So they get little hardware support.

    Now, the reason they say "900/2100" or "1700/2100" is particularly evil... these are not alternatives, the phone is using both: 900MHz or 1700MHz for transmit, 2100MHz in both cases for receive. So if you look in detail at the specs, you may not even see mention of the 2100MHz frequency (FCC filings, for example), because that's receive-only, and doesn't have to be documented unless used for transmit. This was particularly confusing given that CDMA, 2G/EDGE, and AT&T can all work within a single band, which is what everyone's used to (eg, 850/1900 for voice, EDGE, or EvDO is a choice, not a coupling).

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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