T-Mobile casts Yahoo aside in favor of Google for mobile search

When it comes to mobile internet search, alliances are short-lived and loyalties are looser than, well, you get the point. AT&T recently kicked Google off the Android-powered Motorola BackFlip, in order to get in bed with Yahoo as the default search engine on the smartphone. Now, T-Mobile USA has up and shuffled Google out the door to make space for Yahoo. The two-year agreement between Yahoo and T-Mobile is apparently no more, and the fourth-largest US wireless carrier is looking elsewhere for mobile search. That elsewhere is Google.

To keep with the search-is-promiscuous-business theme, let’s revisit T-Mobile’s not too long ago marriage to Yahoo. The partnership between Yahoo and T-Mobile was supposed to be beautiful. It birthed a new T-Mobile web portal, it spread to many handsets, but alas, the union did not last. Today, things are different. The Magenta carrier has apparently decided that there’s nothing keeping it tied to Yahoo and has already turned to Google’s waiting arms.

The deal should boost Google’s bruised ego, coming off the “burn” delivered by AT&T, by way of the BackFlip. It’s not clear what the terms of the deal were, but mobile search deals aren’t anything to scoff at. It recently cost Microsoft a cool half billion (with a “B”) dollars to get Bing on deck as the default search engine on Sprint phones.

It’s not clear how long T-Mobile’s commitment to Google is at this point, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see them looking for a new search partner in the not too distant future. That’s how things go in the crazy mobile search game. Hey, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

[Via: paidContent]

  • mike

    Question for you Will… How do you think all of this bed jumping going on in the mobile space with carriers and search engines is going impact the future of firmware updates for existing Android phone users? For instance, as has been well publicized all over the blogosphere, Motorola (with more manufacturers to follow suit I’m sure) has recently shown that they’re willing to make a Android phone without Google with the Back Flip for a carrier. Since the Back Flip is essentially the same phone as my CLIQ on Tmobile, with the exception of some minor hardware differences, what’s to stop Motorola or even Tmobile from changing the preinstalled search engine on a phone like my CLIQ from Google to Yahoo or Bing with a future firmware update?

    As has been recently demonstrated (again by Motorola) they’re not afraid to get rid of a previously installed app or feature with a firmware update, like they did with CLIQ with it’s most recent update and the removal of the previously pre-installed app IMEEM. So while someone like Tmobile is locked into search with Google for now, what’s to stop phone manufacturers or carriers from changing the default search engine on my current/future Android phone when my contract expires with their current search partner? Will consumers have a choice in what goes on their phone? While not a big deal to most consumers, this kind of is for someone like me and I’m sure most of your readers. Will we, as the phone’s owners, have the option to re-download and apply Google search and make it the default search client if something like this happens, or will we be stuck with what the manufacturer and/or carrier pushes out to us? As I now understand it, no one’s been able to figure out how to get Google search on the Back Flip yet… Whatever the case money talks, and I’m sure all parties involved (the manufacturers and carriers) are going to go where the money goes…

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