Photo: Associated Press
Update: Microsoft is shooting down this rumour, saying that it will be on SOME Verizon Android phones, but not ALL.
Original: Verizon will remove Google search from all future Android-based smartphones, The Droid Guy reports.
Verizon Android phone users will be forced to use Microsoft’s Bing, says the Droid Guy citing two Verizon “tipsters,” one of which has provided reliable information in the past.
Another site, Android Guys, backs up Droid Guy, saying, “We’ve heard some unconfirmed reports that Verizon may possibly be ditching Google for their Droid lineup as well.”
We would be shocked if Verizon did this on all phones, but if true, this would be a blow to Google’s mobile business plan. The reason Google is paying for Android and giving it away for free to handset makers is to drive mobile web searches.
The plan is working so far. Google said mobile searches are up 4X in the last year, and Citi analyst Mark Mahaney estimates Google’s net revenue run rate for mobile search to be $500 million by the end of the year.
If Google is MIA on the nation’s largest carrier, then that could slow mobile ad growth. It won’t kill it because users could still navigate to Google.com from Bing. Also, Microsoft has paid for search deals on the desktop which hasn’t affected Google.
Still, if Microsoft paid a reasonable amount for the search deal, it’s an smart move from Microsoft to hurt Google. Microsoft is trying to turbo charge Bing, and fend off the growth of Android, as it launches Windows Phone 7. By installing Bing as the default on all Android, phones it accomplishes both goals.
If Microsoft is paying through the nose for this, then it’s not so smart. Microsoft can’t lose money on search forever.
Microsoft is already paying $600 million in a multi-year deal to be the default search engine in Verizon feature phones. However, Microsoft reportedly missed an opportunity when it negotiated that deal.
Android powered phones were said to be exempt from Microsoft’s deal with Verizon.
However, yesterday we learned the Verizon Samsung Fascinate phone, which runs on Google’s Android software, only had Bing as a search option.
Is this the start of a trend for Verizon? If it is, it illustrates the risk of having an “open” mobile operating system. If Verizon wants to kick off Google, it can.
All that said, we would be absolutely shocked if Verizon was kicking Google off all its smartphones in the future. It would absolutely shatter the companies’ relationship. Google would figure out a way to retaliate, we’re certain. Maybe slower updates of Android’s OS for Verizon users? Maybe something else?
We’ve emailed Google, Verizon, and Microsoft seeking a comment. If anybody offers any clarity, we will update the post.