Blog Post

Verizon, Bing Make Google Go Boom on BlackBerry

Last month Verizon (s vz) and Microsoft (s msft) entered into an agreement to push the Bing mobile app onto BlackBerrys. It was a standard agreement of this type — owners got pushed a Bing icon that let them download and install the Bing mobile app simply. Not a big deal in itself, but some strange things are now happening to some BlackBerry owners on the Verizon network that have people up in arms. It seems that many Verizon BlackBerry owners have seen all search provider options except Bing disappear from the browser, and they are not happy about that.

The way it works is this: In the BlackBerry (s rimm) browser when you select the Go To option, you get a screen like that on the right. It allows easy searching using one of several different search engines, Google (s goog) among them. Yesterday some BlackBerry owners accessing the search as always discovered that the only search option was now Bing. Gone was Google, Wikipedia and the others. This change had apparently been pushed to the phone by Verizon at some point.

Phone owners are used to being jerked around by the carriers, but no one likes simple options removed like this. It’s one thing to force users to use a new default search provider, but it is another thing entirely to remove all other options that were previously available. Customers are complaining on enthusiast forums, the BlackBerry forums and on Verizon’s forums. Will these companies never learn?

My own Storm still shows the multiple provider options as always, as others are reporting. But something is definitely afoot, as folks are reporting that the change gets pushed seemingly randomly to the phones.

34 Responses to “Verizon, Bing Make Google Go Boom on BlackBerry”

  1. This smells awfully like the behavior that got MS fined billions of dollars in Europe. I suppose they think that if they make an anti-competitive agreement with a provider on someone else’s operating system then nobody will notice.

    Personally this is a deal breaker for me. If I can’t erase all signs of M$ from a Google based phone then I am not interested in paying them a shed load of extra money each month and I’ll stay with my dumb phone or move to another carrier.

    Some people might think that is an over reaction, but I hate being forced to use things I don’t like.

  2. Jason Uppercue

    While you could make an lukewarm argument argue that this is understandable for phones that remain under contract, phones that are owned outright should be protected from this despicable behavior by law.

    Personally I think it is an outrage, and the people who are minimizing this as a non issue are absolute fools. Anyone who doesn’t mind this type of involuntary commercialism is essentially inviting their DSL/Fiber and Cable companies to just start installing digital offal onto their computers as well.

    Think outside the box.

  3. Bob Ryan

    I know that we each have our own “FAVORITE”. The issue here is freedom of choice. I don’t mind if Verizon pushes an icon on my Blackberry — I can hide it. But to REMOVE a choice that I had when I bought the device is WRONG!

  4. p--d off!!

    Hear! Hear! Bigpicture, you nailed it on the head! Hey Steve Ballmer, can you say “anti-trust” (AGAIN)?? Of course you can! You must be so used to antitrust litigation by now!

  5. Who cares which site is better? It’s still not right for them to take away the option when they could have just as easily left both on there for the customer to choose from!

  6. Shawn,
    The change in home page doesn’t make me want to leave Verizon in and of itself. The fact that they push apps to your phone that you don’t want and they disable or remove apps you do want(google search was gone for me, I had to reinstall it) is the problem. That’s unacceptable. The way I see it you have two options. You can bitch about it until they change it or you can leave for another provider. Nexus one comes out Q1 of next year and it’s GSM. Combine the ability for me to pick up an unlocked phone that blows the droid out of the water with all this nonsense and it is plenty of reason to abandon Verizon.

  7. This sucks, but it’s definitely not boycott worthy. Damn people, your gonna drop Verizon because of a start page option change? I really am pissed tho; After using bing for the first time because of this, they display results for web, image and news? wtf?? Google ftw. I’m just gonna change my homepage from the Go To page to Google Mobile search.

  8. Doug Mielke

    As Kevin has said, this issue is not Bing v Google.

    I am a Verizon customer with a basic LG debating on upgrading to a Droid Eris. If Verizon has decided to make my choices of apps for me, I will probably let my plan expire in mid-January and find another carrier to screw me over.

    It’s all about the network. And in this case, possibly the network is the customer base in revolt.

  9. I don’t care which search engine people use. I know some people like Bing, others like me prefer Google, and others like Yahoo! etc. This isn’t about who likes what search engine, it’s about ANY carrier forcing one choice down the user’s throats.

  10. bigpicture

    You would think that they would eventually learn about the relationship between consumer choice, anti-trust and Government and class action suits. The dinosaurs were just too slow to learn too. Just because they put something in an EULA, that does not deprive the consumer of their rights under the statutory law nor does it trump that law.

  11. The Bing icon just appeared on my bb as well. At first I couldn’t figure out how to get back to a regular Google page (my old home page) or use the “go to” feature. However, in a round about way I was able to find an semi fix (NOTE: I did not agree to downloading Bing – I clicked the I do not agree button, so the app never really downloaded). Using twitter, I found a link to a site…any site – and went there, once there I was able to use the blackberry button to find “go to” again and from there went to google and it once again became my home page. Since Bing isn’t formally downloaded as an app, I can’t delete it under settings – but I did “hide” it – as every time i click on it, I lose the google browser.

    Not a perfect fix by any means, but at least I was able to get Google back.

  12. This Bing app just appeared on my BB, as well as my son’s, 30 minutes ago and I’m not happy. I could care less if Bing is better than Google (althoug I doubt it. The point is there is an app/icon on my screen that just popped up without my permission or control. Even if you prefer Bing don’t you see something wrong there? With as much money as Verizon charges they’d better get a grip. I was already thinking about switching.

  13. I hate class action suits, but this is so egregious that I would happily serve as a the complainant against VZW. First, the outrageous new ETF now this slap against our free will. I’ve traveled around the US with an iPhone and a Storm. The VZW network isn’t that much better. If these marketing morons don’t wise up, they’ll create a map for switching carriers.

  14. Crazy stuff, James.

    You knew that the iPhone would force carriers, device makers and Microsoft to start prostituting themselves at the expense of their phone customers.

    Good reason to get an iPhone or just install Opera Mini/Mobile on your non-iPhone to retain control over your own mobile web experience…

  15. It could perhaps be a topic later down the road, i apologize for jumping to another topic not related to this, it was just an opinion as i hate companies that do those kind of things like what is happening with the BB users, i dont know if it was intentional or part of a marketing scheme, who’s to say that whats happening with the blackberries users wont happen to other platforms? we already have a Bing app for iphone(ipod touch users) which i might say its pretty cool, who knows if Apple decides to ditch google maps in favor of Bing since its almost an all in one app, you got search and maps all rolled in an easy to use app as well as more features.

    • I actually think it is on topic. Verizon is now making it’s subscribers use Bing which is a sub-par search tool. Basically, Microsoft is paying Verizon so their search tool will actually get some use. They paid them to take Google away because Microsoft itself realizes that the common person will choose Google over Bing.

  16. I like google better, granted, there are some stuff that bing does better or the other way around, so far nothing beats anything as far as i know, regardless of who is or what is better, for me, nothing is better than the other one, true with gadgets (phones, etc) there will always be something new that a browser/search has that the other doesnt but it catches up (eventually) everything has its advantages/disadvanges regardless what you have or use. for me, nothing is better than the other, just depends on the needs and who likes what better. that is my personal opinion though.

  17. “How big is the sun?. I got better answers on Bing than Google

    The first site was the same for both

    The rest of the results made me feel that Bing gave better results

  18. They will only learn if you return your products back if you can or move to the other network.
    Also – if sites like this one will call for a consumer boycott on those companies until this is fixed.


  19. Yeah this not right. Yesterday went to do a search and all but Bing was my only option. Verizon better think about this and put back all options. My wifes Storm still has al options. I will be calling today. They never learn do they