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Google offers $150 gift card for Chromebook Pixel data shutoff

Chocolate Factory pays the price for Verizon shortchanging

Google has chosen to issue gift cards to customers who spent $1,449 on a shiny Chromebook Pixel with free Verizon LTE data only to find that the telco decided to ditch the offer early.

At launch, the Pixel was touted as coming with two years of free LTE data from Verizon. Admittedly you only got 100MB a month, but that's enough to at least check email occasionally without paying through the nose for a Wi-Fi port, and users could buy more Verizon time as needed.

But on Tuesday it emerged that Verizon has decided that two years is way too long to be giving its precious LTE data for free, and had begun cutting off Pixel owners after only a year. This caused significant disgruntlement among users and threats of a lawsuit – well, this is America, after all.

Now Google has stepped in to smooth ruffled feathers, and is offering Pixel owners $150 in Visa gift cards that they can use to pay for LTE connections or anything else that takes their fancy.

"While this particular issue is outside of our control, we appreciate that this issue has inconvenienced some of our users," a spokesperson told El Reg. "We are offering gift cards to affected customers."

As it turns out, $150 does buy you quite a lot of LTE time on Verizon – for its prepay tariff, $20 will give you 3GB over 90 days, so Chromebook owners are actually getting rather a good deal, thanks to Google's largess.

Not so Verizon. By saving the tiny sum it would have cost to make good on its original agreement, the firm has pissed off plenty of Chromebook owners and made it highly unlikely that Google will partner with them again on future hardware.

We've reached out to Verizon for their take on the matter but got no response, so we'll assume it's just a classic case of a corporation being penny wise and pound foolish. ®

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