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.