Verizon fingered in Android bloatware-for-cash cram scandal
Report says carrier offered to pre-install apps for moolah
Verizon has reportedly approached app developers about pre-installing their software on customer handsets in exchange for cash.
A report from Ad Age cites marketing industry execs who say that, since late last year, they have been approached by the nation's largest carrier with offers to install their mobile apps on millions of handsets for a per-install fee.
The report claims that Verizon would charge the developers $1-2 per install and that the apps would appear on the home screen of Android devices on the Verizon network.
Customers would be able to remove the apps from their handsets if they so choose. The report alleges this has been a sticking point for advertisers and developers, who worry they could be charged for users who never activate their apps.
Verizon said it has no comment on the report.
Apple iPhones, however, would not be included in the deal, thanks to the iron grip Apple keeps on iOS software via the App Store. Rather, the apps would be bundled with new Android devices.
Verizon says it has more than 110m mobile connections on its network in total. In its last quarter, the wireless business was credited with bringing in more than $21bn in revenues, though returns have been slipping, which could explain why the carrier is now looking at other cash streams.
The deal, while the first of its kind for a mobile carrier, would hardly be unprecedented. PC vendors regularly make such deals with software vendors to offer their products pre-installed on new systems.
Such "bloatware" has long been an annoyance for consumers who are then tasked with the time-consuming task of removing the unwanted software from their own machines and, in many cases, those of friends and family as well.
From the sound of things, Verizon's planned bundles would be far easier to remove, though still likely an annoyance for many Android users who chose the Google-backed smartphone platform in part because of the freedom it gives users to customize their smartphones and tablets as they see fit. ®