Cell subscribers sue Verizon Wireless for disabling Bluetooth file transfer: There was word all over the Net that this was brewing, and this report says the suit was filed. Verizon Wireless disabled Bluetooth file transfer (and possibly other features) on its Motorola v710 phone. The suit alleges, as some online mobile folks have said since this came to light, that Verizon disabled the feature to force its subscribers to transfer photos only through its higher-priced data service offerings.
Bluetooth operates at about 700 Kbps of real throughput; Verizon's EVDO network, as cool as it is, can only handle 50 to 100 Kbps upload speeds; slower where there's only 1xRTT available, too. To transfer photos to your computer, you'd need to subscribe to a Verizon data plan and photo plan, transfer the photos, and then download them. So it's a three machine process.
The suit may hinge over whether Verizon Wireless misled customers, which it appears prima facie that they did not. As a Motorola spokesperson said, quite amusingly to my ear, "Nobody in the industry has ever said that Bluetooth would always be cost free. It will vary from operator to operator."
It's amusing because it implies that files stored on your phone don't belong to you. It's akin to the increasingly common argument made by companies that design devices to play or store media that you purchase or create that the content that you own or have rights to use doesn't really belong to you. What next? Will Verizon Wireless invoke the DMCA in its defense? (Don't ask me how, but remember Lexmark and their DMCA printer cartridge suit.)