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Verizon inks ad deal with Microsoft, annoys paying customers

Over the weekend I received several reports from smartphone users on the Verizon network reporting that the company had rolled out search box changes, fiddled with default settings and pushed new links to customers, much to their annoyance.

Over the weekend I received several reports from smartphone users on the Verizon network reporting that the company had rolled out search box changes, fiddled with default settings and pushed new links to customers, much to their annoyance.

Following the inking of a new 5-year ad and search deal with Microsoft's Bing (a deal estimated to be worth some $500 million), Verizon is now a "proud supporter of Microsoft's Bing search engine," and it wants its customers to be supporters too. The company pushed the changes down the line to handsets, in particular the Blackberry Storm 2 it seems, changes that included making links to Bing appear on handsets and altering the built-in search box default to Bing, as well as removing links to Google, Wikipedia and other search sites.

Some users are, as you might guess, annoyed. Forums such as Crackberry are buzzing with ticked-off users, as is Verizon's own support forum.

OK, little free advice for Verizon. People really don't want you messing with "their" handsets, especially when that tinkering s just a grab for ad dollars. People really don't want to have to change their work-flow, especially when they're not pocketing any of that $500 million. If you really must try to push something you've promised to sponsor, changing defaults and removing existing functionality is really boneheaded.

FAIL.

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