CyberTech Rambler

December 21, 2009

It is unfair for Verizon not offerring non-Bing option for search

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 5:48 pm

According to theRegister, Verizon does not permit some mobile users to set their default search engine away from Bing. It is my view that it is unfair.

I understand that Verizon has a commercial agreement with Microsoft, and in Verizon judgement, Bing has come-of-age and can be used to replace Google or other search engine. Therefore, if Verizon see it fit to reset its users’ default search option to Bing, it is free to do so. However, users must be given the choice to change back to their favourite search engine if they want to.

Overall, I think this is a bad move on the part of Verizon, and have implication for the rest of the industry. Telco has the ability to “customize” the handset for their network. They use it as a means to control the “user experience” and deliver added-value to their customers. However, they must understand that it is also important for the customers to see their customization as “added-value”, not “removing values”. In this case, I think Verizon overstepped the mark and used the ability to customize handset to its customers’ disadvantage. If Verizon continue on this path, and other telco follow suit, soon we will have people losing trust in them and will not permit their handset to be customized.

Of course, like other Telcos. Verizon calculation is that it can reap more benefits by “removing values” from its customers’ phone. How sad!

If you are Verizon’s customers and is upset with it, the only weapon that you have in your hand and that Verizon understands is to increase the financial cost to Verizon for making this mistake. The best way to do this by either leaving Verizon. However, I recognize this as not normally a valid option. You can, however, use the phone less to decrease Verizon revenue (if applicable). Or, as long as the cost permit and make sure Verizon don’t actually make money on your call/email)  give Verizon so many support call/emails to increase cost on them on the switch. One have to do it really systematically, e.g., emailing them once every month asking them when they are giving you back the option and not excessively. This last path is difficult to achieve because they had budgeted for the increase in support cost in for the switch. Your hope is that collectively, Verizon customers will make Verizon exceed their budget for this switch. Finally, negative publicity over this move always help your cause.

Now, if it was Microsoft that does this, one can see antitrust authority running to sue Microsoft, however, the smart thing here is it is not Microsoft that does it, but Verizon. I hope this is not Microsoft trying to workaround anti-trust problems by getting a third party, in this case, Verizon, to do the dirty work.

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