Verizon’s Android Problem

With the release of the Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Incredible in early 2010 Verizon became the US leader in Android phones.  Later they came out with the Droid X, Droid 2, Droid Pro, and Samsung Fascinate to solidify their front-runner position.

But there’s a problem with how they are doing business now.  They are positioning themselves as PC makers have done, but with one major exception.  PC makers have a long history of installing “extra” software, what users have termed “crapware”, onto their PC’s – things like trial versions of antivirus.  But there has always been a way to uninstall it.

Now Verizon is trying the same trick, but without any uninstall option.  All Verizon Android phones come with a Blockbuster app and recently an update for the Droid X installed a trial version of Madden NFL 2011.  The kicker here is that these apps take up precious space on your phone and Verizon has ungraciously provided NO WAY to remove them.

I have not rooted my phone, but I have heard mixed messages regarding uninstalling these apps after rooting.  Some people have said it’s possible and some have said it isn’t.  But, rooting is complicated and certainly not for the casual user.

So Verizon finds themselves in a position where they really don’t want to be.  Yes, they are releasing the phones people want, but they are also angering their core users.  By not allowing any type of uninstall option they are going to drive away the base of users that has made the Android phones such a hit on their platform.  Really Verizon…Blockbuster?!  There may still be a user out there, but do you think the majority of your customers want this?  Do you think they want to pay $9.99 to get the full version of Madden?  Do you think Samsung Fascinate buyers want Bing for their search and maps as opposed to Google when they bought a  Google phone?

No Verizon doesn’t think any of that.  What they are thinking is only about the dollars they can earn from these deals.  But those dollars go away when users go away.