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Verizon Removes Search Choices For BlackBerrys 510

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 skine ( 1524819 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:34PM (#30519176)

    The bigger problem is the people who are "stuck" with Verizon for the next (up to) 24 months, and not those considering a new plan with Verizon.

  • Thanks verizon. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by trapnest ( 1608791 ) <janusofzeal@gmail.com> on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:34PM (#30519178)

    Thank you Verizon, always looking out for what's best for us.

    Yet another reason why I left Verizon for T-Mobile.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:40PM (#30519216)

    Personally I'd try to argue my way up the manager food chain that this change is significant enough that I should be allowed to renegotiate or get out of the contract with no penalties.

    No idea how well that would work with verizon, every company is different, but I've done the same in similar situations with other companies/services.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:43PM (#30519242)

    Yea but from the same artilce:

    "It should be said, however, that according to press reports, Google was in talks with Verizon over a similar search deal before the Microsoft pact was finalized"

    Sounds like google was working on doing pretty much the same thing. Microsoft just beat them to it. This is about money, not about the quality of the product.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:46PM (#30519274) Homepage Journal

    I own an openmoko, which has some hardware limitations, but I like the fact that I control its configuration almost as far as I control the configuration of my laptops and servers.

    If you don't want to be treated as a captive audience by your service provider then put your money down on a phone which gives you control.

    I know its a cliche, but with Apple et al getting on the app store bandwagon, and google linking phones, the OS and advertising, the old GNU issues around Free software are becoming more real.

  • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:54PM (#30519342)
    If you're happy with TMO in your area, the Nokia N900 is a better choice than the Droid.

    I have both, and while I love VZW's coverage, I love the N900 UI.

    P.S. I'm keeping the N900 for Intl travel... and using the VZW Droid for here where I need to be able to make and hold a call...

  • by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:57PM (#30519362) Homepage Journal
    It is a little on the suspicious side for anyone paying attention to see this sort of thing--essentially, they're saying that nobody uses their engine voluntarily so they have to pay to force people to use it. Kinda makes me wonder what's -wrong- with it.

    I've used Bing a couple times, mostly by accident because the corporate image only has IE available and forgetting to complete an address in the search bar brings you there. I didn't really like the 'feel' of it, but that could possibly be because of my not being used to its foibles. Certainly I'm not likely to go spontaneously switching to it, given that I've spent a lot of time learning exactly what search terms to use in other places to get the result I'm looking for.
  • by rzei ( 622725 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:58PM (#30519372)

    Go and demand your gsm subscriptions and your mobiles separately.

    Easy as that. Unless you are already past the point when there are only these mega corporations (Verizon + AT&T) selling you what ever bigger companies want.

    Buy Nokia :) (The cheapest ones, you don't get angry when destroy the damn thing next friday when you're drunk! You don't really need all those fancy features, you just want to make a call, send an sms and every phone can run Opera Mini)

  • Re:Not for OS 5 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr. Spontaneous ( 784926 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:59PM (#30519398)

    I'm running the official 5.0 on my Storm 9530 w/BIS and still have the same 4 search providers.

    Any chance that Verizon accidentally pushed a malformed service book?

  • Re:Wait for 2010 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:02PM (#30519422)

    It would be nice for Verizon and Sprint to use R-UIM cards. From what I know, Chinese CDMA providers use these on a widespread basis. It saves them money over time because a user can upgrade devices without needing to have the cellular provider need to enter the device's IMEI number at their end.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:03PM (#30519430)

    Not gonna do it.

    I haven't heard anything good about Verizon Wireless that made me want to do business with them in a very long time. They seem to be competing with themselves to see how much bad press they can drum up in the shortest possible time. What a sharp contrast to my personal experience with their DSL service, which has been amazingly hassle-free (no bandwidth caps, no ports filtered, no restrictions on running servers, etc). It's a shame because this one division seems hell-bent on giving a bad name to the entire company. This deal with Microsoft may be for $500 million, but I wonder what that figure would be if you adjusted for ill will and lost sales from potential customers who see this kind of thing and decide to go elsewhere.

  • by innerweb ( 721995 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:10PM (#30519488)

    Google pays Mozzila for initial placement. That I can change when I want to. Nah, this just means no AT&T and no Verizon for us (my family).

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:17PM (#30519530) Homepage Journal

    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?

    According to the summary, it was done to the writer's phone that had been using google; he found that google was no longer an allowed search engine and he had to use bing.

    It does seem like this sort of arrogant restriction should be legal ground for abrogating the contract. It should also be additional evidence in the "Net Neutrality" debate, since it's a good example of how current internet providers are blocking net access to prevent you from dealing with companies that haven't paid them for access to customers.

    I wonder if any Verizon customers are discussing a class-action suit yet ...

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:31PM (#30519644)

    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.

    I've got some friends that work for Microsoft, and a lot of their social media status updates are about Bing!. The way they're phrased, it's obvious that posting those statuses is "not required, but not discouraged". Astroturfing, paid shills, annoying television commercials, removal of choice, worse search results... these are a few of my least favorite Bing!s.

  • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <shentino@gmail.com> on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:46PM (#30519736)

    I hope that locking you into a search provider is sufficient grounds to void the contract.

  • Re:Boycott, anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @10:46PM (#30519746)

    It isn't a boycott unless paying customers leave. Every time I see an article like this there are always a slew of people who say "I'm not a customer of XXX, and I certainly never will be now!" I think Verizon is probably yawning right now. For a boycott to work, people who were a source of income to the company need to CEASE being that source of income. Otherwise it's just mental masturbation. The people who are actually customers always seem to be able to find an excuse not to take action. Personal convenience seems to trump ethics more and more.

    It's not that I don't understand your position. I feel the same way. But we aren't the ones who can change the situation.

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

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @11:08PM (#30519906)

    From my experiences with Verizon as an internet provider, they're fantastic -- but all of their services just feel way too overpriced.

    They really are. When I signed up for DSL service I just about grilled the sales rep, to the point that he transferred me to one of their techs because he did not know the answers to some of my questions. I asked whether they filter any ports for any reason, and they don't. I asked if they have any kind of bandwidth cap, and they don't. I asked if they would hassle me if I decided to run any servers of any kind on my Linux box, and they won't. I straight up asked them, "let's say that I totally saturate both the upstream and downstream bandwidth 24/7, would you throttle or cap or in any way interfere with this?**" and they said no. And you know what, they were honest and true to their word. Mind you, this is regular residential service, not a business plan.

    Friends of mine who have Internet service through cable companies have not been nearly as satisfied. At least in my local area, the cable companies are much more eager to screw with users' traffic. They're also much less reliable in terms of outages, which almost never happen to me and have been promptly fixed the few times they did occur. I think too that the cable ISPs around here filter at least TCP port 25, possibly others. Further, while their potential maximum bandwidth is more than my DSL connection, they rarely (if ever) experience that maximum speed, presumably because of the shared nature of cable service. Anytime I have tested it, my DSL service has always been exactly the bandwidth that Verizon has agreed to provide, no more and no less.

    I feel like I am getting my money's worth and I really cannot find anything to complain about. When I read negative story after negative story about Verizon Wireless, it amazes me that their wireless division is even the same company.

    **I don't actually saturate my full bandwidth 24/7. That's not really the point. What matters to me is that I can do it if I feel like it without interference. At least in my case, when they say "unlimited" they really mean it.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @11:10PM (#30519920) Homepage Journal

    I guess it's fair to say that all the service providers will screw us over, given the chance. Which is why I vastly prefer GSM networks to the others, since having a SIM card takes away the provider's ability to dictate which phone I'll use. Though then you still get screwed; if you don't take the free or discounted phone, you're effectively paying for your phone twice.

    The Europeans did it right: all service providers use GSM, which creates a nice competitive market for SIM cards and gives consumers control over their devices.

    If you don't want AT&T dictating which network you use, you may (or may not) find it worthwhile to use two SIM cards. You can even get a phone with two SIM slots.

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <s73v3r@gmail.RABBITcom minus herbivore> on Monday December 21, 2009 @11:42PM (#30520140)
    Shouldn't this fall under changing the contract? You are now locked into using Bing as your search provider, which is a restriction that was not present when you originally signed the contract, which means that it has changed. You should be able to terminate ETF-free, although it'll definitely take some fighting to do so if you're the first.
  • Re:argh, really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday December 21, 2009 @11:43PM (#30520146)

    Your conjecture is based on the premise that a monopoly wouldn't have formed anyways.

    A monopoly may have formed, but a monopoly was formed in 1934, it would have surely would have broken up before the 1980s had it been a truly natural monopoly. Changing technologies and the shortcomings of AT&T would have forced at least local competition in high-density metropolitan areas almost certainly.

    Unregulated markets tend towards consolidation, cartels & oligopolies.

    Depends. Purely unregulated markets usually tend towards lots of individual companies. In unregulated markets, it is easy to make a company, leaving with lots of companies. Many will die out soon, but the sheer number of them prevents a large company from absorbing every single startup. Monopolies rarely form in unregulated markets. Simi-regulated markets though, are breeding grounds for monopolies. The cost to start a business is usually too high to allow many different companies and the weak rarely fail enough to weed out unprofitable companies, especially once they get too big (look at all the bailouts). In the US, we have too little regulation to prevent destructive monopolies and too much regulation to allow the natural market to take its course.

  • by RobertM1968 ( 951074 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:19AM (#30520370) Homepage Journal

    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 happily use TMo, who has coverage (or at least roaming I dont seem to pay for) in every area I need them.

    If one looks at their coverage map here:
    Verizon [verizonwireless.com]

    And enters Ticonderoga, NY in the City/State field, one will notice that they have... ummm... something. I dont know what. There is no key on their map that indicates what blue with white lines through it means. The same goes for Rt9N and the outskirts of Port Henry.

    Well, I know what blue with white lines means (even though there is a Verizon store there). It means NO coverage... even though one would suspect from the map that it means 3G.

    As a matter of fact, if you zoom out, it shows the coverage as blue - which is on their map key.

    Gee, that's an outright lie. I wonder how many other areas are similarly mis-marked. Ticonderoga and Port Henry dont have 3G, EDGE, or even just basic phone coverage from Verizon. We (the Star Trek Phase 2 Team) has even made some "funny" videos about it that are on YouTube (well, "we" is our sound engineer Ralph Miller mostly, with a couple of us participating in some of them).

    When we called them asking if or when they'd have it (since it is marked as they do on their map), they told us they dont, wont and never plan on as there is no demand for coverage up there. Four years later, and calls as recently as this past fall, and their maps are still incorrect.

    Regardless, I am sure Verizon has better coverage in many areas than TMo, but for me, TMo's coverage is all I need for where I travel, and their customer service (regardless of how it may or may not be able to be improved) is light years above Verizon's - including helping me with phone/connectivity issues with "unapproved" and "untested" phones - as well as with my "tested/approved" G1 that I bought second hand on eBay.

  • Re:F*ck you Verizon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:48AM (#30520514)
    But would they actually tell you the price? When I was looking for an ISP I couldn't get a quote for what my bill would exactly be, since "taxes" and "fees" apparently are unknowable in advance. One of my requirements when buying something is to know what I'm paying, and cable at least is able to fulfill this basic requirement (Service is also great, but that is likely to change since people are willing to pay so much for obsolete DSL connections that cable companies will match the competition by offering DSL-level bandwidth)
  • by jesboat ( 64736 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:45AM (#30521092) Homepage Journal

    argue my way up the manager food chain

    What you fail to understand is that the customer-accessible part of the manager food chain in the vast majority of companies is approximately two people tall: CSR and supervisor. (Depending on the company and nature of question, you may be able to get to tier2 support; hence the "approximately".)

    You will have better luck...

    • Just calling back. Virgin Mobile's policies used to differ depending on which call center your call got routed to, but even in less extreme cases, some reps are nicer than others.
    • Turboing [macwhiz.com]. In particular, some companies have started to have "Executive Support" hotlines (Sprint comes to mind.) Save these for a last resort. GetHuman [gethuman.com] is also useful.
    • Moving horizontally. Try web order support, activations, billing, customer service, terminations, etc.
    • Being nice instead of nasty.
    • Writing. Yes, seriously. I've resolved many issues just by sending the entity in question a nastygram. People still take snail-mail seriously.
  • by donaggie03 ( 769758 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {reyemso_d}> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:27AM (#30522856)

    Well to do that you are going to have to hire a lawyer.

    No you wont. Simply request arbitration, in writing. They'll usually leave you alone after that.

  • Re:Boycott, anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:00AM (#30523702) Journal

    Honestly -- did Microsoft learn nothing from the browser war? Its anti-trust lawsuits?

    Yes, they learned that they still keep getting richer every day, and punishments are a joke.

  • by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:22AM (#30523938)

    I'm pretty sure you'd have to show that having multiple options for the phone's built-in search feature was a material part of the service as defined by the contract. I'm also pretty sure you can't.

    Something you'll want to keep in mind - because you can bet if it were argued in court that Verizon's lawyers would be pointing it out: This is a UI change, not a change in the total functionality available to the user. Can you still browse to google.com? If so, you may find it hard to convince a judge or jury that removal of a shortcut to access that functionality through the phone's menus matters one bit.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:48PM (#30525774)
    Doesn't matter. Contracts can't override the law, regardless of how hard they try to make you think they can.

    Well, the Libertarians will be very upset about that, but suppose you are 100% correct. What's the effect when you sign an "illegal" contract? You get to follow what you like, then if there's something in violation of the law, you don't follow it and tell them why? They won't believe you, and you'll have to fight the contract in court. Otherwise, they'll proceed like the contract is valid and you'll have outstanding debts and marks on your credit report.

    By the way, have you ever tried to get a home loan with even silly stuff on your credit report? You'll be there on closing day, they'll say "this whole thing falls through if you don't make out a check for $525 (or whatever) to Verizon and hand it to the escrow agent." Sure, you have the option to not pay Verizon, but then you also will be giving up the home loan, and the house that goes with it. Happened to me with a water bill after I moved and the final bill never made it to me. I probably did owe that money, but never even got a chance to look at the bill and make sure it was correct, and it was pay the bill or not buy the house.

    Your only real recourse if someone presents you with an "illegal" contract is to walk away. Anything else and you did sign away that right, and it would take a court order to reinstate it if you aren't allowed to sign it away.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.