Vodafone moves 360 goalposts
Operator locks customers into software by changing T&Cs
After being forced to allow customers to remove 360 branding and applications by its own terms and conditions, Vodafone has responded by tearing up the offending rules.
The old rules are still in place until 12 November, so until then Vodafone is still bound by the agreement that states users can "remove both the Service and any applications downloaded via the Service at any time", but within a month the operator will be under no such obligation.
Vodafone 360 is the operator's venture into identity aggregation and service consolidation - combining a social identity that scrapes content from Facebook and its ilk with online shopping for applications and multimedia. Vodafone 360 was supposed to have dedicated handsets, based on the LiMo platform, but those have been dropped in favour of a software incarnation.
That software comes pre-installed, or gets pushed out to customers as owners of the HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy S recently discovered when they downloaded what they thought were firmware updates but actually comprised Vodafone 360 branding and applications that couldn't be removed without considerable effort.
That prompted a customer rebellion, which led to the next Desire update automatically removing the Vodafone 360 applications and branding. Galaxy S users are still waiting to see if they're offered the same option, though Vodafone's decision to change its terms and conditions bodes badly.
The changes also remove the ability for customers to opt out of recommendations for new applications, though we're not clear how many users bothered to send the specially-formatted email required to do that, or if those who did will remain opted out under the new T&Cs.
The new terms and conditions claim to have been in place since 15 September, apparently in conjunction with the old ones which (according to the published details) continue to be in force for another few weeks - so if you're hoping to exercise your right to remove the Vodafone 360 service from your handset then you'll need to so so quickly, before the option disappears forever.
They'll never learn.
Voda, you suck. Embrace the inevitable; you're a pipe (that's not an insult).
Adjust your business. Stop pissing around with services and charge properly for data. Sink cash into making yours absolutely the best network for data. Be the future of mobile data in the UK.
Vizzavi, vodafone360 and all points in between. Over weaning ambition. Look what it did to Nokia.
In the meantime, I will never ever purchase a subsidized handset from Vodafone again, instead opting for what I hope is a 3-5 year replacement cycle for sim free devices, so I can enjoy them as the manufacturer intended and without that miserable pile of garish crap which is Vodafone branding (I believe they paid a 6 figure sum for those awesomely bad icons).
Please read article
That should be a big enough hint.
And if you cannot be arsed (you obviously didn't bother reading it before) - the article is about the T&C's CHANGING to remove the phrase you so delightfully quoted.
As the person who submitted the details behind this story to Bill, I'd like to remind you that Vodafone are legally obliged to provide its customers with a means to remove the 360 software from their phones. As to this statement:
"In the meantime, we can tell you that it's likely we'll implement these changes through the forthcoming Android 2.2 update."
That is simply not enough. Consumers have rights. Vodafone has breached their own Terms and Conditions by denying its customer base the ability to remove this software. Stop employing delaying tactics and do what Vodafone is legally obligated to do; allow customers to remove Vodafone 360 software from their handsets.