Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Bing For Me, Or Other Non-Verizon Users

I like trying new things, especially new apps and mobile tech. So when I learned that Bing will be available today, I waited patiently for it. When it didn't appear in the Marketplace, I started to dig around.

It turned out that Bing is only available for Verizon Wireless customers with Android phones. Hen this fact hit me: the Marketplace isn't equal for all.

In fact, Microsoft acknowleged the desire to bring Bing to all Android devices, the Marketplace filtered out non-VW queries.

The implications of this is pretty big. It means that developers can be locked out of some carriers depending on whatever deals are agreed upon.

Some apps may be denied because of carrier-specific feature. Others may be if a carrier signs deal with a developer. Today, it is Bing, Microsoft has a search deal with VW. But what about tomorrow? It may be the next hottest game.

Imagine if T-Mobile has an exclusive lock on any new EA games for a period if time. Or if ATT decides it wants to lock out some content because another part of its empire is having some licensing dispute with the content owners.

I am just not sure Google in trying to vie for mobile dominance should allow carriers so much control. Sure, Bing is a Google search competitor and wouldn't mind seeing as little of Microsoft on the mobile platform it fathered (or mothered), this app store policy may backfire some day when it is an app that all Android users want but find that they must be on a specific carrier in order to use it.

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