More Verizon Obscenities

I’m having a harder and harder time lately getting behind my phone provider, Verizon Wireless. On the one hand, they have by far the most complete and well run network around. No dropouts, excellent coverage, etc. I’ve been using my Kyocera 7135 phone for almost 2 years now on the Verizon network, and things have been pretty good. My plan had been to upgrade to a Treo 650 within the next month or two (now that the prices have dropped down to something reasonable, I don’t mind being behing the tech curve if I get to pay half the original price of the device), but Verizon has been doing some very shifty things that make me want to seriously consider jumping ship.
First, they have deliberately crippled Bluetooth functions on several of their phones, including the Treo 650. (See article here and thread here). There have been attempts to explain away these changes as ‘benefits’ to the user – providing ‘more security’ or such other bunk. In reality they are nothing more than pure greed. An attempt to lock in the captive user into a system that requires them to use expensive Verizon services, even though the devices are capable of the functionality on their own.
Now there’s a confirmed report that Verizons new music service, which is advertising itself as supporting MP3’s and the like, is a total sham. This article details the deal that Verizon and has struck with Microsoft to make sure you absolutely must use Microsofts proprietary audio format AND audio player to work with music on their phones. That completely cuts out Macintosh and Linux users, not to mention opening up the device to nefarious DRM restrictions:

You may ask why this was done? As far as we can analyze, Microsoft made an agreement to enginner [sic] VCast Music phones as WMA-only devices, in order to lock out iTunes and other competition from most interaction with the device that does not involve burning, ripping, and integrating into Windows Media Player. This type of monopolist tatic [sic] is something that iTunes has avoided, but Windows Media Player embraces.

It appears Verizon knows internally that this is a liability. In a leaked internal memo from Verizon’s corporate intranet, Verizon states that customers that want MP3 support should be issued a refurbished VX-8100 with V04 firmware. However, the average consumer is to not be informed that there is a difference between what VX-8100s support formats, and customers are encouraged without prior warning that MP3 support will be lost with the V06 update. Presumably a Mac or Linux customer could be downgraded to V04 firmware.

These sort of tactics make me seriously question whether I want to continue my business relationship with Verizon. Already, Microsoft has had a strong hand in destroying one of the only decent alternatives to the Microsoft ‘smartphone’, the Treo line – by forcing Palm to manufacture and distribute… a device running Windows Mobile. It’s enough to make you head for the mountains and give up on all this techno-crap.
I’m not ready to embrace the evil that is Microsoft’s monopoly and suppression of innovation. I suspect soon I may have to, but until then I’ll continue to fight.

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A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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3 thoughts on “More Verizon Obscenities

  1. I am right with you on leaving verizon my plans are to do so in the next 3months when I go overseas and leave the service behind. As for the moment I actually started this http://new.petitiononline.com/VERIZONW/petition.html sign on if you will. It is insane what verizon is doing it is no wonder they are working wit microsoft they both want to control their customers don’t renew

  2. Wow, that’s evil.
    Not that Apple is free from evilness, either; they won’t license the Fairplay DRM format for any content not sold via the iTunes Music Store, which means that the companies providing digital audiobooks via public libraries can’t make them available in an Ipod-compatible format.

  3. Okay you had me until this last bit:
    Already, Microsoft has had a strong hand in destroying one of the only decent alternatives to the Microsoft ‘smartphone’, the Treo line – by forcing Palm to manufacture and distribute… a device running Windows Mobile.
    It’s a real shame that Palm couldn’t produce an OS that appealed to corporate america, like providing an email client that worked with Exchange or any sort of centralized management. Also a shame that Palm ignored the trend of things like color for so long. However, it’s hardly Microsoft’s fault for coming in and fillng a niche. What’s really amazing is that Palm who owned the PDA space managed to fuck it up spectacularly and lose so badly.
    -M

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