back to article OUCH... right in the Androids! Google hit by another antitrust sueball

Google is facing a new antitrust class action lawsuit in the US over its "illegal monopoly" on internet and mobile search. Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman said in a statement that the Chocolate Factory had "financially and creatively stagnated the American market of internet and mobile search" with its alleged monopoly …

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Instead of having me read through all the stupid why not say "greedy lawyers with no grasp over what they are talking about drool over the potential payments from Google but most likely from people that will pay to be represented in the trial"

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Silviu C. Your comment is so correct!. Hopefully the courts will see through this ruse and slap down these lawyers. Their only purpose is to collect $Millions at the expense of Google and the people they claim to represent.

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Anonymous Coward

Yep

Must be a quiet day for ambulances.

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Re: Yep

More like there is a gold rush to become a lawyer in the US.

It's driven by high profile stories of lawyers raking in millions, but the truth is, most step out of law school and find they can't get work.

End result? Crap like this situation.

https://www.theformtool.com/coming-50000-unemployed-lawyers/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/17/unemployed-lawyers-sue-schools-over-promises-of-jo/?page=all

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/job_market_for_would-be_lawyers_is_bleaker_than_it_looks_analysis_says/

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-25/will-too-many-lawyers-destroy-american-society-ask-peter-turchin

So Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be lawyers, unless you want to see them pan-handling, 'Will sue for food."

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Re: Yep

"More like there is a gold rush to become a lawyer in the US."

I've meet more struggling lawyers than rich ones. The US market is saturated and only lottery level paydays will break the endless circle of a struggling lawyer.

However, this does not stop lawyers from making the US legal system the envy of Kafka.

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Except of course that it is the best search engine... and even though Bing has made vast improvements, you can't really say Google achieved its position by not being clearly better, I would say it got to where it is because of precisely that which is why I continue to use it over the various competition that does exist, unhindered.

Also, how can they "represent all US purchasers of any Android mobiles or tablets that were made under contracts that also included the preloading of Google apps." without the specific say so of all of those purchasers? I mean, if I lived in the US and had purchased an Android phone with Google apps but was entirely happy and wanted this, could I sue this law firm for misrepresentation?

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Big Brother

Bing Bong

"Except of course that it is the best search engine... and even though Bing has made vast improvements, you can't really say Google achieved its position by not being clearly better,"

Exactly. The only Bing searches I make happen because in my Windows phone (like in all of them), hitting the search button starts Bing and often I am too lazy to start the Google app instead (which I do have), or go to the Google web page.

But of course it is not anti-competetive if WP very strongly steers users towards Bing... what with its pitiful market share.

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Re: Bing Bong

hitting the search button starts Bing

Quick, sue Microsoft!

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Re: Bing Bong

Since iOS 7, iPhone and iPad devices now go through Bing, as do Siri searches.

With the US market being the only one where iOS has a comparable marketshare to Android, it's going to be hard to make any claim of Google monopolising "mobile search" stick.

Bing is improving fast, though. I have two systems I use regularly: Bing is the default on one; Google on the other. I've seen no need to change the Bing one to Google, but sometimes I get Google results that are irrelevant to my search. Google is the bigger target for tricksters and "SEO" scammers, I guess, but that could make Bing a more useful search engine.

If that happens, well Google will move heaven and earth to improve their search product further.

Competition. It's great.

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Re: Bing Bong

I'm pretty sure my 5s carries out all it's browser searches using Google.

Not sure about Siri, it's ghastly

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Google search is not as good as it used to be.

It used to be I always found what I wanted first time. Now it messes about too much even with verbatim hacked in. I don't care about local results. Or anything Google thinks I want to know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing Bong

For years Google was my default search engine with my Firefox browser, but one day a couple of months ago I got tired of watching the spinner while waiting for Google to reply, so I opened a new tab and entered the same search into Bing. Imagine my surprise when Bing came up with a useable answer well before Google, even though Google had a huge headstart. I tried this with a few different searches and Bing bested Google every time, so now Bing is my default search, (and I can't believe I'm saying this), I'm happy about Microsoft probably snooping my online life, (simply because they are not Google).

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Re: Bing Bong

I'm just waiting for the "app" that is called "search" (maybe somebody has already patented this), that when pressed (pseudo)radomly selects which search engine to use and sends the submitted search parameters to it. And the list of search engines is maintained by an independent 3rd party with no axes to grind. (W3C? or something).

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Go

Re: Bing Bong

I'm just waiting for the "app" that is called "search"...

Something a bit like search.com then?

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Paris Hilton

Except of course that it is the best search engine.

I have no idea what makes a good search engine but having all my data slurped over by the US government as well as handing me adverts for old women that want shagging and asbestos awareness courses I don't need taking, other things to watch on You Tube before I have finished watching things on You Tube and all the rest of it doesn't happen with duck duck go does it?

I prefer to use duck duck go to find things on the internet because shaped searches tend to find me the things I have already fucking well seen. Or is a better search engine supposed to be a walled AOL/MSN type garden?

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Anonymous Coward

Erm - I use android

And like, windows, I can install different browsers/search engines etc.

Manufacturers add more bloat themselves regardless of google.

Flavours of android abound, but manufacturers are funding a central development team in google rather than their own forks which I am sure would be technically feasible just poor business.

I dont feel that android is a disproportional part of the cost of my device, the largest part of any mobile device cost seems to go on inter-company lawsuites and dumb trolls like this guy

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FAIL

"...not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine"

Except that's exactly how Google made its way to a monopoly position. I wouldn't argue against the case that Google is cementing its position by having its own services baked in to Android (in much the same way as Microsoft tied Windows to Internet Explorer), but Google became number one in search by being better at it than everyone else.

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Re: "...not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine"

It's going to be a really, really hard sell to say Google has monopolized search engines. Hilariously, Microsoft spends more money on Bing and its associated 'stuff' and has more staff focused on Bing than the entire entire, global, Internet browser world had working on IE alternatives during the MS anti trust mess.

That's not an apples to doughnuts comparison either. For an actual monopoly to occur the courts must see that the monopolist has such a stranglehold on the market that would be competitors see no point in providing a competing product. As long as Microsoft keeps pumping money and resources into Bing and other search engines thrive in different markets you've got nothing more than a clear market leader. Not a monopoly. A monopoly means you can't win and to even try is irresponsible, not that you won't have to compete on a seriously skewed field.

If someone can't play and excel on a skewed field it's best if they go on back home before they get their feelings hurt. At the very best, having a great product is 20%, or less, of having a successful company. That other 80% is an uphill battle both ways.

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Re: "...not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine"

I use Bing from time to time. Someone had their web page linked to Bing so when I pressed on "find us" it popped up with the post code in the url and bing obliged with a map of the south of england. They have improved it - you can now make out the grey roads against the grey countryside if you adjust your monitor. I sometime use the search engine when I accidentally click on the list of search engines offered by my browser and am now of the opinion that bing is designed to encourage you to search for other search engines as it looks like they dont want my business.

Perhaps their Baldrick style cunning plan is to be so shit google is no longer a defacto monopoly and some judge will fall for this sort of innanity.

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Re: "...not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine"

The ordinance survey data is the best there is (And that can only be used via Bing) it isn't the default though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "...not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine"

So Bing has a monopoly on the use of OS data, do they... I wonder if any lawyers have heard about this...

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Re: "...not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine"

The OS data is available to anyone who wants to pay for it. But it's been a questionable expense for a long time unless you're doing some serious cartography 'stuff'. Consumers want friendly little cartoon icons to tell them where they are. Actual information hurts their noggins.

On that note, both the US and Canada have been removing the fun icons from their official maps for decades. You go back and look at pre-WWII maps and compare with maps from the 1980's through the present and you'll see (or rather, won't see) historic sites, shitloads of mines, old roadbeds, cemeteries, traditional native areas (where the Injuns lived before we called their land 'reservations', old industrial or military sites and all sorts of stuff is disappeared. I would assume the same is true of the OS data.

The information is still out there, you've jury got to know exactly what to ask/query for. It kind of sucks. That's how really important things get 'lost to history'.

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well they are lawyers after all. And dumb ones at that. Everyone has a choice on what search engine they use. ALTA VISTA is a good one I hear, so are others that are not in the Good ole USA. Too bad that Google is the most popular currently. Also too bad that the plaintiffs do not know anything about how Internet and Internet Search work.

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well they are lawyers after all. And dumb ones at that. Everyone has a choice on what search engine they use. ALTA VISTA is a good one I hear, so are others that are not in the Good ole USA. Too bad that Google is the most popular currently. Also too bad that the plaintiffs do not know anything about how Internet and Internet Search work.

I though Alta Vista went tits-up yonks ago... Then again perhaps I was thinking of Astalavista...

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type www.altavista.com

Yahoo owns them.

Irony, right?

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Nice to see such selfless action on behalf of the little people.

For only 50% of any awards (as a guess) plus legal costs, they are willing to place themselves at the forefront of justice.

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As participant in a few class action lawsuits, I was lucky to get a discount coupon to a restaurant.

No joke.

The US is officially a fascist corptacracy.

No joke either.

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Facepalm

Time to sue the Internet

The internet has become a monopoly for sending information over long distances. "It’s clear that [the Internet] has not achieved this monopoly through offering a better [system], but through its strategic, anti-competitive placement, and it doesn’t take a forensic economist to see that this is evidence of market manipulation".

You have to admit they have balls. Of all the products that Google is offering, Search has to be the one that is the most recognized to have become the first choice through its own merits. If anything, It is rather considered as the reason Google can push its other products down other people's throat…

It was so before Android existed, and is still more popular than Android…

But hey, don't let logic get in the way of your hope for $$$.

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Re: Time to sue the Internet

Google doesn't even have to push their other products hard. Tampon salesmen have a harder sales job than Google and they know exactly who their customers are. Google makes so much money because every single component of their revenue generating operation is stupidly easy for people to use.

Sure, compared to other online advertising platforms, Googles advertising functionality is limited, granularity and visibility simply aren't and cost controls are not dynamic. If you want those things they're available, but not really suitable for companies that don't want the specialist overhead.

Small and small/medium businesses account for 2/3 of all US business and most of them don't have professional tech staff. They've got an employee who dates an IT persons brother or something. They pay their ISP to screw the coax into a modem and install spyware and they're happy to do it. It's not even something they consider figuring out. Christ, BestBuy charges $10 to change the batteries in a TV remote and the batteries aren't included...

But those very same people will go home from BestBuy with a $17 pair of AAA batteries (with free streptococcal pharyngitis) and stay up until dawn dicking around with AdWords combinations. It's fucking unreal. Computer illiterate backwoods inbreds learn (the basics) of spreadsheets, rudimentary budget forecasting and cross category promotion just so they can get more for their AdWords spend. They don't know they're doing those things, if you pointed it out to the guy who delivers the hay for my horses he would probably beat the shit out of you for 'callin' him gay'. But I found him through his Google campaign: 'Don't Pay for Middleburg Hay'. It's fantastic. This guy finds out how much everybody in the neighborhood is paying for hay, grows that, instead of more fucking corn, undercuts the local asses by 20% and now he's got four trucks and 300 acres of hay growing 30 miles away and all because this guy figured out how to give Google money.

There are plenty of alternatives available to people, but every time the travel people or insurance or whatever get all bent out of shape about Googles dominance, take a look at their search products. If the words hierarchy, taxonomy or DNS appear in the 'quick start' section they're fucked. If they want part of that 2/3 of US business they aren't going to get it with complicated products. They're going the wrong way. Dumbasses.

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Re: Time to sue the Internet

The internet has become a monopoly for sending information over long distances. "It’s clear that [the Internet] has not achieved this monopoly through offering a better [system], but through its strategic, anti-competitive placement, and it doesn’t take a forensic economist to see that this is evidence of market manipulation".

I bet all the Worlds Postal Services must be salivating right about now. I still find it humorous that the German Post at least attempted to create a "Premium Rate" eMail Service Once to try and compete with the Internet. Do to lacking sales on regular postage. For all I know they maybe either continuing to sell this, or finally let it die a death.

But, its hard not to see how the Internet (of things), has kicked-in one massive dent into these postal Services, since the Internet came along.

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Re: Time to sue the Internet

It's fantastic. This guy finds out how much everybody in the neighborhood is paying for hay, grows that, instead of more fucking corn, undercuts the local asses by 20% and now he's got four trucks and 300 acres of hay growing 30 miles away and all because this guy figured out how to give Google money.

1) Its called Capitalism - in a otherwise free market.

2) Nobody is forcing you (or your neighbors), to buy from him, and your welcome to stay loyal for +20% of what your "Friend" charges you.

If he makes more money selling Hay, then he would by selling Corn. I'd for one call that a smart business decision. So why are you so angry about that part again?

The Idiots that can't, or won't think about why its a bad idea to pay someone cash for something they should be able to do themselves... (i.e. Replace some dead Batteries). Deserve to get stung much harder for their trouble if you asked me.

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Trollface

Dear Hagens Berman

Please sue Apple for not letting us change the default browser on an iPhone.

I think that ones a bit more open and shut.

Especially with the old Microsoft IE ruling as precedence.

I'll be expecting my 10% for this one in BitCoin to the usual address.

Cake for everyone!!!

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Anonymous Coward

What goes around...

...MS wrote the "best" OSs (DOS and then Windows). And by "best" I don't mean actual "best" I mean "allowed people to get shit done at their desk without too much grief". MS then got ballsy, tried to tell everyone how they should do things (the MS way).

This got them a kick in the conkers for monopoly abuse and rightly so. They still have a desktop monopoly and IMHO they still abuse it (the EU seems to agree).

Google created the "best" search engine. It let people find shit at their desk without too much grief. Google then got ballsy...you know where this is going.

There is one HEE-OOJ difference here though. Android is (largely) F/OSS, so if these lawyers want, they can re-spin their own sans Google services. Cyanogenmod is one example of this.

For that reason, and that alone, it is possible I think for Google dodge the abuse allegation.

*IF*, however, Google are found to be presuring OEMs to not use other OS's then *THAT* is deffo abuse and they should be censured.

MS had no such defence of freedom or openness as they are activelh hostile to both concepts.

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"Android is (largely) F/OSS, so if these lawyers want, they can re-spin their own sans Google services. Cyanogenmod is one example of this."

That "(largely)" is getting smaller with each release, but the "sans Google services" is the crux of arguments like this. The problem is that all of Google's services are bundled. If you want to offer Maps, Calendar, Music, Play Store, but use a different search engine, you're screwed. It's all or nothing, and there's no business agreement you can come to with Google to change this. That's the anti-competitive bit. Would-be Android vendors, whose customers would prefer a different search engine, cannot offer such a product, because Google won't let them.

Why would someone want a different search engine? Because Google isn't the best everywhere. Yandex, for instance, is the runaway leader in Russia and other countries that speak slavic languages simply because their search indexing just worked so much better than Google's for these languages. Baidu owns the Chinese market, for less noble reasons (for instance, easy deeplinking into pirated music downloads). To customers in both these markets, Google is a second-rate, off-brand search engine.

This case, though, will fail, because they picked the one market where, thanks to iOS using Bing, there isn't a Google monopoly in search.

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Sorry Kristian thats bollocks.

I have my google made android phone here and it seems I can use any engine I want.

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@Tom7

It's not that the user can't change each of the components once the phone is in their hands that is causing the rumpus, it's that google is telling the the OEM's what the default has to be.

Note that I still think the entire case is BS

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Re: Sorry Kristian thats bollocks.

I have the Duck Duck Go app installed on my Nexus 4, along with firefox with Duck Duck Go the default there. If for some strange reason I wanted it, they have a Bing app too.

I'm still far more pissed every time Outlook opens a link in IE when my default browser is NOT IE.

I've never had chrome open since I made the default Firefox on the Nexus.

When people log onto a Windows box they get Bing. They make the effort to switch to Google because Bing sucks, not because Google makes them do it.

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Anonymous Coward

The problem is that all of Google's services are bundled. If you want to offer Maps, Calendar, Music, Play Store, but use a different search engine, you're screwed. It's all or nothing, and there's no business agreement you can come to with Google to change this. That's the anti-competitive bit.

Ummm no... that doesn't stack up at all. By the same argument I can sue Apple for not making it possible for me to run iOS without the bundled Apple apps. Or RIM for not making it possible for me to run BB without the bundled apps. It is at least possible to run Andriod without Googles apps, which can't be said for either of those two.

I wonder if he's considered suing AT&T or Verizon for abusing their monopoly of their market share by preloading their own apps on the devices they sell?

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The problem is that all of Google's services are bundled. If you want to offer Maps, Calendar, Music, Play Store, but use a different search engine, you're screwed.

How so?! I bought my Androids knowing full well that they were "with GOOGLE". After all its the GAPPs that make Android what it is. So is this pissing & moaning so much about the Search Engine, or the success of GAPPs, that both Apple, and MicroSoft have yet to figure out?

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Re: @Tom7

> it's that google is telling the the OEM's what the default has to be.

Google is not telling Amazon, which defaults to Bing, nor Nokia whose X Androids use Bing. Many OEMs do exactly as they like and the users can still access Google services (though they may not get them built in and will have to download them).

Having Google as the default does not prevent that being changed to whatever the user wants.

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Anonymous Coward

Ha ha ha ha ha...

How I laugh when I see turkeys voting for xmas!

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I know some VERY computer illiterate people.. mostly in my family and to a person they all prefer Google. The answer is simple. It just works and doesn't blast you with weather, sports scores, images etc that they have no interest in (ie their ISP's "home page" for example). Its just a page with google on it and a search box. That is why most people ( myself included in the beginning ) use google. Its simple and it works. That's what made it the dominant search engine.

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...and that's why OEMs feel compelled to offer Google services on their devices - their customers DEMAND it. The most optimistic ambulance chasing outcome would be a Microsoft style ballot on 1st start. And that's largely means just clearing the default 'intent' bindings, which aren't necessarily preset in any case, sure I've been asked to choose on first use of supposedly G exclusive services more than once.

That's likely to piss off OEMs more than Google. It's a safe bet ~100% of users will choose Google at the ballot leaving all the OEMs unable to favour their own crapware. Make no mistake, almost no devices actually ship without competition to Google built in:

- my LG tablet has LG stores, it's own (utterly useless) voice search and other G equivalents

- my Orange branded Blade has search,maps,email,browser and other direct equivalents and they were ALL given better placement than the native apps. They all got erased the moment I achieved root.

- my Sony had multiple app stores, music players and I forget how much else, all now nuked

- my HTC had just G stuff. It was a Google reference device though ;)

The OEMs will wail and nash teeth if this comes to pass. There will be no rush to launch cheaper versions shorn of the services, perhaps a couple of display builds that never reach the stores to piss off the lawyers. And there won't be any price drop. Probably won't be any cash award for lawyers to steal either.

Let's also remember Kindle demonstrates competition is alive and well. Nokia's X devices ram that home.

Ambulance chasing of a high order. They'd be better off bringing a class action against the buying public that keep Google where they are. Almost in control.

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I dunno about Android...

But I would be immensely amused if the courts forced Google to include a check-box list including Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc., for "Preferred Search Engine" when a new user first started up a Chromebook, in order to avoid antitrust sanctions.

I have to admit that I would get a huge laugh out of that... Does that make me a bad person?

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I can disprove this case 3 three steps or less

1) Open Browser

2) Goto http://yahoo.com

3) ???

4) PROFIT!

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Re: I can disprove this case 3 three steps or less

You just glossed over the part where the default home page is http://www.[vendor].com/launch.js?vendor=[vendorname] which then forwards you to http://www.google.com.

Or something like that.

My girlfriend has had a Samsung Galaxy S II for quite some time, and until I put firefox on it for her, every time she opened the browser, it hit at&t's search page at yahoo with a bunch of tracking variables set. I bet her use of firefox is why she's started to get even more junk mail from at&t.

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Re: I can disprove this case 3 three steps or less

You just glossed over the part where the default home page is http://www.[vendor].com/launch.js?vendor=[vendorname] which then forwards you to http://www.google.com.

I tried Firefox on Mobile Once... And it sucked!! END OF FORKING LIST!

The enforced Awesome Screen is anything but, awesome. And, I'm fairly confident that you can at least alter the homepage in most Browsers AOSP Browser (Which I use in CM10), and again on Chrome, as well as Dolphin or Opera. To any Website, or other Search Engine of your choice. But, of course this is like to much work for some people ain't it?

Its only on Firefox that prevents you from actually (i.e. simply) reaching the Homepage without having to jump though a bunch of fecking shite first.

So you argument is invalid!

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Re: I can disprove this case 3 three steps or less

If you changed browsers, and started getting junk mail, I suspect your problem is porn related. You can verify this by asking her what kind of porn she's been looking at. If she responds with something not to your liking call her a liar and show her the list of porn sites she has clearly visited.

Alternatively, you can just setup a filter and automatically shitcan all the AT&T emails. Unless you're opening those emails? Ah, man! Come on. You're opening the messages aren't you? Why? Just to check they they haven't canceled your service? There are better ways of making sure they haven't canceled your service. Think about it next time you're downloading your messages.

Save the porn thing for later though.

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Re: I can disprove this case 3 three steps or less

Save the porn thing for later though.

Quite frankly I'm shocked that AT&T would give you enough data to actually watch a porn vid. Then again pretty much any video. Without eating up what little Data you had for the Month.

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As an Android user, I hope Google get a good kicking here. The insidious proprietarisation of Android needs to be stemmed. I'm also a bit annoyed after the Kitkat update will no longer search meta data contained in 3rd party non-Google applications.

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