Microsoft and Research In Motion announced Bing will become the preferred search and maps application for BlackBerry.
Steve Ballmer took the stage at this year's BlackBerry World Conference to
announce that Bing will serve as the integrated search and mapping service for
Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones.
Microsoft will support the top phone platforms with our cloud services,"
Ballmer told the audience, "we're going to invest uniquely in the BlackBerry
platform in addition to our own Windows Phone platform."
agreement marks a deepening partnership between Microsoft and RIM. The two are
already partnering to port cloud services such as Office 365 onto the
BlackBerry and the new PlayBook tablet, with RIM's BlackBerry Servers
connecting "cloud to cloud" with Microsoft's data centers to host Office 365
data on users' devices.
today, Bing will become the preferred search and maps application for
BlackBerry," Ballmer added, "with regular feature placement and promotion in
the BB App World carousel. BlackBerry devices will use Bing as the default
search provider in the browser, and Bing is the default search and map
experience for new devices presented to mobile operators both here in the
United States and around the world."
Near the end
of 2011, Bing will be tightly integrated into the BlackBerry operating system,
expanding beyond a mere search box to become a core component of RIM's devices.
Both Microsoft and RIM will devote resources to promoting Bing on BlackBerry's
merging of search, commerce, social- and location-centric services.
partnership could allow Microsoft and RIM to better compete in the mobile
arena, where both face formidable rivals in the form of Google and Apple.
"Over the past
few years, suffice it to say, we've seen numerous mobile phone platforms
emerge," Ballmer said. "Certainly Android, the volumes have risen, but there is
ensuing chaos that has caused a level of frustration, let's just say with
developers and consumers alike."
He also fired
off a few barbs at Microsoft's other high-profile opponent: "Apple's platform
has certainly offered opportunity for application developers, but there are a
very limited set of ways to collaborate and extend the experiences of their
device for businesses and consumers."
mentioned, Microsoft is also trying to expand the reach of its own Windows
Phone 7 platform, which has seen limited consumer adoption despite a massive
advertising campaign and devices available on a number of carriers. In contrast
to other companies in the smartphone arena, whose products generally offer
grid-like screens of individual applications and features, Windows Phone 7
consolidates Web content and applications into a set of subject-specific
unique user interface, however, Microsoft has hit some speed bumps in updating
the software over the past few months. According to new data from The Nielsen
Company, some 7 percent of consumers indicated they wanted a Windows
Mobile/Windows Phone 7 device as their next smartphone, lagging behind Google
Android at 31 percent, Apple's iOS at 30 percent and BlackBerry at 11 percent.
That number roughly parallels data from comScore suggesting that Microsoft
holds 7.7 percent of the smartphone market.
continues to dominate the search-engine arena, leading Microsoft to pursue an
alternate strategy with Bing: Instead of battling it out for a larger share of
traditional keyword-based search, Bing's engineers and executives have focused
on exploiting verticals such as travel, and leveraging partnerships with
companies such as Facebook. That angling of Bing as an engine for "getting
things done," as opposed to hunting for Web pages and raw data, is evidently
being leveraged more and more in the context of smartphones, whose users are
often in transit or otherwise need actionable data quickly.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.