RIM and Microsoft Join Forces Against Google

Tech giants announce partnership that will bring Bing search engine and Bing maps to all future BlackBerry phones. What does RIM have to gain?

Published: May 3rd 2011
in Economics » World

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on stage at BlackBerry World 2011

Earlier today RIM opened their annual BlackBerry World conference with a keynote address which involved a lot of demos, some minor surprises, and one major one.


During the keynote, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage to announce a partnership with Research In Motion. Yes, the same company that is a direct competitor to their Windows Phones.  


The extent of the partnership isn't clear yet, but what was announced was that Microsoft's Bing will become the new default search engine and map navigation on future BlackBerry devices.  


For those who already purchased their BlackBerry PlayBook (which, I have to say, I love more and more every day), you would have already seen that Bing Maps comes pre-installed on the PlayBook and that Bing is the default search engine of the browser, although that can be changed in the option.


"We're going to invest uniquely into the BlackBerry platform," Ballmer said at the conference. "I've never been more excited about where our future is going."


While it's clear that RIM and Microsoft have their sights aimed squarely at Google, there is a strange dynamic occurring between these three tech giants. Before the launch of PlayBook, RIM had announced a partnership with Google and their Android app store which will be available on the PlayBook, and likely upcoming BlackBerry phone, in the near future. This partnership is very important to RIM as it will automatically make their barren app store full of quality apps and will resolve the biggest criticism the PlayBook has received so far. However, now they take up arms against Google with Microsoft.  


This is the second major mobile partnership that Microsoft has entered into this year. In February they announced a partnership with Nokia which will have the Nokia smartphones using Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system, and similarly, will come pre-installed with Bing maps and Bing as the default search engine.


Microsoft's gain is quite obvious as they get their ever growing search engine into million of new users. In April, Microsoft announced that Bing is now being used in over 30 percent of all U.S. searches, compared to Google's 64 percent, which is a huge accomplishment for them. This move will further help Microsoft gain market share in the U.S. and international mobile markets.


However, RIM's upside is still uncertain. Unless there is some financial incentive somewhere, this deal seems quite bizarre. RIM gains little by offering Bing maps and search engine as a default to their clients. Hopefully the best of this partnership is yet to come for RIM.     

Related articles: (Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, RIM, BlackBerry, PlayBook, )

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