Verizon Sued Over Disabling Bluetooth

By | January 18, 2005

Verizon Wireless is being sued by customers in California for disabling certain Bluetooth capabilities in a Motorola Handset sold by Verizon.

According to the class action suit, Verizon disabled several of the advertised Bluetooth features in Motorala’s v710 phone.

“Verizon Wireless has enjoyed enormous financial gains by marketing and selling the popular Bluetooth v710 phone then disabling almost all of its Bluetooth capabilities, resulting in a degraded phone, which requires the customer to use other Verizon ´paid´ services in place of the Bluetooth capabilities that were supposed to be part of the phone´s Bluetooth features,” the lawsuit said.

Typically the v710 handset, which Verizon began selling in August, allows users to use their phones with a Bluetooth headset and a Bluetooth car kit. Verizon, however, has disabled all file-sharing capabilities which would normally allow users to transfer photos and other files to PCs, printers and other devices.

Verizon says the features conflicted with contractual agreements it has with content providers through its “Get It Now” application download service.

“The v710 includes Get It Now, our virtual mall of games and productivity tools that customers can download. The agreements we have with our content providers preclude our allowing anyone to download these applications beyond the phone. The open architecture of Bluetooth could also allow customers to download Get It Now applications beyond the phone,” said Verizon Wireless spokesperson Brenda Raney.

Motorola, for its part, said the decision over what Bluetooth capabilities to include in handsets is solely up to the wireless operators.

“Those decisions are left to the wireless network operators, and they vary from operator to operator,” said Motorola spokesperson Alan Buddendeck. “There are myriad reasons why a wireless operator would provide a certain level of service or of the Bluetooth profile, such as what their network will support, what they are willing to support as a business, as well as contractual agreements.”

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