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12.20.09

Microsoft Allegedly Pays $500,000,000 for Verizon to Remove Google

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Verizon Zune error

Summary: Microsoft and Verizon gang up against Google, which is ironically working on Android for Verizon contracts

A FEW weeks ago it was confirmed that Microsoft had negotiated smearing and maybe excluding Google. Rupert Murdoch is known to have done that [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], but there might be more to it.

Earlier this year Microsoft used its software, which it conveniently called FSF (Family Safety Filter)*, to block Google. This is the type of thing which ought to have Microsoft sued for more antitrust violations and now comes this:

Verizon has unilaterally updated user Storm 2 BlackBerries and other smartphones so that their browser search boxes can only be used with Microsoft Bing.

The move is part of the five-year search and advertising deal Verizon signed with Microsoft in January for a rumored $500m.

[...]

Previously, the search box – baked into the top of Verizon’s browser, above the url address bar – could be set to search Google, Wikipedia, and other sites.

Naturally, such sites can still be queried via the browser proper. But countless users are up-in-arms over the switch. A discussion thread dedicated to the change at CrackBerry, a popular BlackBerry user site, is now 36 pages long.

Microsoft is against choice. If the rumour is true, then Microsoft is even willing to pay $500,000,000 to remove all choices. How is this not anti-competitive? Accumulated below are references from the past 2 years. They show that Verizon has a mixed record when it comes to Free software, free speech, and of course net neutrality.
____
* Microsoft also uses the acronym RMS to describe user-hostile software.

References

[1] Android Gets a Big Backer in Verizon, and Palm Opens Up

The prospects for mobile open source just get brighter and brighter. Following months of rumors, Verizon Wireless has said that it will put substantial resources behind the open source Android platform, in a broad partnership with Google. Google and Verizon will work together to deliver new products and services that they say will arrive “in the hands of consumers quickly.” Notably, both companies have pledged to put unique applications onto handsets, including apps from their internal developers and others from third-party developers.

[2] The Droid Has Been Rooted — Now What?

Verizon’s Motorola Droid is a brand-new phone today. Like many smartphones before it, the Droid has been rooted so that owners of the Android 2.0-based smartphone can install multitouch support (including pinch-to-zoom gestures), enhanced themes and other previously forbidden goodies.

[3] Google, Verizon teaming to develop Android devices

Verizon and Google have entered into an agreement to jointly develop wireless devices based on Google’s open-source Android mobile platform.

During a teleconference today, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and Google CEO Eric Schmidt outlined the companies’ new strategic partnership that will develop Android-based smartphones, PDAs and netbooks, and deliver users with applications sold through the Android Market app store. Verizon says that it will have two Android-based handsets on the market by year-end with more to come by 2010.

[4] Flip Flops Are Evil

Surprisingly, AT&T has reversed its position, and is now passionately supportive of net neutrality. What, you may ask, caused this dramatic shift? Why, Google, of course. AT&T filed a letter with the FCC today complaining that Google Voice blocks calls to certain rural locations. According to AT&T, blocking phone calls is a violation of net neutrality — dictionary, anyone? — and thus Google is in violation of the rules that aren’t rules which AT&T vehemently despised but now passionately adores.

[5] Verizon, AT&T: Net neutrality not OK for wireless

“We are concerned, however, that the FCC appears ready to extend the entire array of Net neutrality requirements to what is perhaps the most competitive consumer market in America: wireless services,” he said.

He argues that wireless networks differ from wireline broadband networks because bandwidth is more limited on a wireless network. And he said that imposing new rules on how carriers operate their wireless networks would stifle investment.

[6] Google, Verizon Partner Over Android

The company that operates America’s largest wireless telecommunications network now considers itself a friend of Android.  Google and Verizon Wireless have sealed a deal that’ll see the two working together on mobile products and services.

[7] Red Hat Linux helps to power Verizon’s Cloud

Verizon Business rolled out its Computing as a Service (CaaS) product today, which brings the big carrier directly into the cloud marketplace. While the cloud is a compute infrastructure, it still needs an operating system and for Verizon that means both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows.

[8] Verizon to Offer HP Mini Netbook and ‘Mi-Fi’ Service May 17, Reports

It would come with either Windows XP Home (SP3) or Ubuntu Linux and 16/32GB solid state or 80GB hard-drive options.

[9] Verizon Launches MiFi Hotspot Without Subscription

When we first heard about the MiFi last December, Novatel pointed out that the router is actually a tiny Linux PC, capable of running its own software. The router could check e-mail and store messages on a memory card without a PC, in theory. But Verizon’s version looks like it’s just a Wi-Fi router – for now, at least.

[10] The Verizon Hub Widget Phone Just Got a Lot More Exciting

I’m reviewing the somewhat anachronistic Verizon Hub connected phone. Now that I’ve seen its future—an open platform built on Linux with sleek hardware from this decade, like capacitive touchscreens—it’s way more exciting.

[11] Verizon Launches ‘Hub’ VOIP Phone

Verizon Wireless launched a VOIP-based, Linux-powered home phone on Friday, the Verizon Hub. The Hub plugs into a home broadband line and acts as a family calendar, limited Web browser, messaging center, digital picture frame and, of course, a phone.

[12] Verizon VoIP phone doubles as DPF

Verizon Wireless announced a VoIP touchscreen phone that incorporates a digital picture frame (DPF) capability and can send navigation instructions to Verizon mobile phones. According to one report, the Verizon Hub (pictured) is based on OpenPeak’s OpenFrame phone, which is said to run Linux.

[13] Verizon CEO doesn’t know about open source

I just got out of a Q&A session with Verizon Communications CEO Denny Strigl and being an open source guy I asked Strigl about open source. Specifically I asked what role does open source play at Verizon now, especially in light of the recent SFLC lawsuit against Verizon on GPL infringement.

Strigl looked at me with a blank face and asked me to repeat my question. He was completely clueless.

He then asked one of his PR people to answer, and they too were clueless.

[14] Verizon offers details of Usenet deletion: alt.* groups, others gone

Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups–out of roughly 100,000 newsgroups that exist. In a press release, he took credit for the companies’ blunderbuss-style newsgroup removal by saying: “We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers…I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry.”

[...]

What this means in practice is that, thanks to the New York state attorney general, Verizon customers will lose out on innocent discussions. Verizon is retaining only eight newsgroup hierarchies, even though over 1,000 hierarchies exist.

[15] Verizon Wireless, seven others join Linux phone org

Verizon Wireless has chosen Linux as its mobile phone “platform of choice,” it said. Starting with feature phones in 2009, followed by iPhone competitors, Verizon will offer Linux phones compliant with specifications from the Linux Mobile Foundation (LiMo), an industry group it joined today, along with seven other companies.

[16] Update: Verizon, Mozilla join mobile Linux group

Verizon Wireless is throwing its support behind mobile Linux, becoming the first U.S. operator to join the LiMo Foundation, a group developing mobile Linux technology

[17] Palamida Exec Chides Verizon For Not Responding On GPL Suit

“I’m a little surprised by it, to tell you the truth,” Tolliver said in a recent interview. Palamida is a supplier of risk management software for managing an enterprise’s software assets. Its auditing system scans code and identifies its origins, from open source projects or other known sources.

“Usually these issues can be resolved before pretty promptly,” he added. But Verizon had no response to the center when it sent a letter notifying Verizon of a violation, and it’s had no response since the center filed a suit Dec. 7 in federal District Court for the Southern District of New York.

[18] Member review of Verizon FIOS

For the broadband installation, one thing I really didn’t want was to have Verizon install a bunch of junk software on my computer. So when it was time to set up the connection I offered the tech a linux laptop. He said, “Linux, what’s that?” I said, let’s try it anyway. The normal procedure is to connect your computer, go to a special website and download a bunch of software, then set up your account username and password and agree to a terms of service. Of course, going to the special website we get the message, “your operating system is not supported”. I asked the tech to call his support, who laughed when he heard the word linux, but then relented and gave us an extra special website with login and password where we could set everything up without downloading software. Yay! The TV and phone setup were completely straightforward.

[19] Verizon Embraces Google’s Android

In yet another sudden shift, Verizon Wireless plans to support Google’s (GOOG) new software platform for cell phones and other mobile devices.

[20] Verizon to support the Linux desktop, but only if your rich…

Verizon has been supporting the linux desktop for Red Hat for various applications for a while now. It wasn’t until recently that with the help of some unpaid employees that they got it working for Ubuntu.

[21] Verizon Business Expands OS Support for Enterprises

“Windows is our most deployed system, but Linux is our fastest-growing one…”

[...]

He also said that AIX and UX also have strong cross-platform compatibility with systems like Linux, and are well designed to handle applications requiring huge memory and scalability.

[22] Verizon takes over Microsoft TV code

Unhappy over the memory footprint of applications and delays in rolling them out, Verizon has ditched some of Microsoft’s television software and has chosen instead to write its own.

[23] Verizon sues FCC over open-access auction

Media reform group Free Press, a supporter of the open-access rules, accused Verizon Wireless of sending “lawyers, FUD and money” in an attempt to overturn the FCC’s decision.

[24] Google vs. Verizon: The ‘open access’ saga continues

First with Net neutrality and now with so-called “open access” rules for forthcoming wireless networks, there seems to be no end to the discord between Google and Verizon.

[25] BusyBox Developers, SFLC Sue Verizon for GPL Infringement

The same two principal developers already successfully sued Monsoon Media, and they have litigation pending against Xterasys Corporation and High-Gain Antennas, LLC. Here is the press release from the Software Freedom Law Center on the Verizon suit, followed by the complaint as text.

[26] Verizon Being Sued for GPL Infringement

According to the SFLC, Verizon can be added to the list of companies infringing on the GPL. They filed a lawsuit in New York yesterday (pdf) alleging that the company is handing out routers using the GPL’d software ‘BusyBox’ without accompanying source code.

[27] Verizon: Open access should cut costs

Verizon Communications Inc.’s plan to open its wireless network to any devices, not just Verizon cell phones, is partly motivated by a desire to cut costs, the company’s chief operating officer said Wednesday.

[28] Thin clients in, PCs out at Verizon Wireless

Sun’s Sun Ray is unique among thin clients, many of which still use some kind of embedded Windows or Linux operating system, even though the applications are shifted to servers.

[...]

With about 5,000 Sun Ray terminals installed at three Western call centers, and a fourth in progress, Verizon has seen a 60% to 70% drop in desktop problems and a 30% decline in electrical use at each center.

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