Verizon beds Bing. Must have been drunk!

Add my name to the growing list of Verizon customers who are VERY unhappy with the company’s holiday “gift” to everyone — exclusive search for Microsoft. According to many reports, Microsoft and Verizon have reach a $500 million deal that includes, among other things, exclusive search access to millions of Verizon smart phones, including my Blackberry Tour.

On Saturday, a Bing icon appeared on my start page. I did not ask for this. I did not want it. Moreover, gone were the options for Google and Wikipedia via the Blackberry browser icon. (UPDATE: Google is still my default search under the browser).  All of this happened without my knowledge or my approval.

The comment thread at Crackberry.com is now 51 pages long.

You  know, I really have nothing against Bing, but I have a serious problem who try and force things on me, when technology is moving in exactly the opposite direction. I am a loyal Google user, and while I can still use it via the browser, Verizon has put Bing on top. This is a bone-headed move that was done in the name of cash and will return to haunt Verizon downstream. There is just no way this can end well for what has been my favorite carrier.

Aesop’s goose has, once again, been slain in the name of profit. Sigh.

Mark Cuban wants to take on Google (via Microhoo?)

Stay with me here.

Carl Icahn has done his hostile deed in an attempt to take over Yahoo at its annual meeting next month, offering up a slate of directors for shareholder consideration. Michael Arrington at TechCrunch has the details, including the letter from Icahn to Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock. Icahn personifies the word “colorful” in his thoughts about the “botched” Microsoft-Yahoo merger.

I am perplexed by the board’s actions. It is irresponsible to hide behind management’s more than overly optimistic financial forecasts. It is unconscionable that you have not allowed your shareholders to choose to accept an offer that represented a 72% premium over Yahoo’s closing price of $19.18 on the day before the initial Microsoft offer. I and many of your shareholders strongly believe that a combination between Yahoo and Microsoft would form a dynamic company and more importantly would be a force strong enough to compete with Google on the Internet.

That last thought is significant, especially because Mark Cuban is one of the directors that Icahn wants on the Yahoo board. The always outspoken — and often controversial — Cuban is no friend of Google and is thinking out loud about how to beat them (with his Mahalo, Cuban has a considerable dog in the fight), prompting John Battelle to note that Cuban “is clearly drinking and blogging again.” That’s because Cuban’s Microhoo strategy is a doozie: “What would happen,” Cuban asks, “if MicroSoft or Yahoo or a MicroHoo went to the 5 top results for the top 25k searches and paid them to leave the Google Index?” He reasons that at $1,000 a site and 100,000 sites, “thats only $ 1 Billion Dollars.” (sic)

Battelle rolls his eyes and invites Cuban to try:

One big problem: No one would do it. Well, some would, but assuming that folks would be willing to be paid to screw over Google assumes folks 1. have no soul and/or 2. hate Google. I pray that for most folks, #1 is not true, and Google prays that for most folks, #2 is not true. So far, I think we’re both right.

But hey, Mark, you have the money! Why not find out?!

Carl Icahn is a smart and colorful fellow who’s making a hard run at this (and getting a ton of attention for it), but by putting Mark Cuban on his Yahoo wonder board at the precise moment Cuban is talking about paying people to leave Google’s index boggles the mind.