RIM, Microsoft announce partnership with focus on Bing

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) and software giant Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new pact under which the two companies will partner to offer a variety of Bing related services to BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook tablet users. Bing is Microsoft's Web search offering, and it's one of the top three search engines along with Google and Yahoo Search, according to Hitwise.

"Bing will be integrated in the BlackBerry experience, starting this holiday season," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, while on stage in Orlando at BlackBerry World, RIM's annual BlackBerry user conference.

More specifically, Bing will now be the default browser search engine on all future BlackBerry devices, including the recently announced BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone. And Bing will eventually also integrate with the BlackBerry universal search function in RIM's new mobile OS, BlackBerry 7, so Bing content will show up when users search their devices and not just when they use Web search.

In the past, some wireless carriers have decided which search engines would be the default in their BlackBerry device browsers, and it's unclear whether or not those carriers will still have a say or if they'll be forced to leave Bing as the BlackBerry default search. Either way, it's not difficult for individual RIM smartphones users to manually change the BlackBerry default search to the engine of their choice.

RIM's new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet also uses Bing as its default search engine, and a Bing mapping app comes pre-loaded on the device. Bing will also receive regular, featured placement and promotion in RIM's BlackBerry App World mobile software shop, according to Ballmer.

And RIM and Microsoft will work together to market and promote each other's respective offerings, though Microsoft will still strongly focus on its Windows Phone 7 platform, a BlackBerry rival.

This new deal is not the first significant partnership between the two technology giants; RIM and Microsoft have worked together for years to ensure BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) compatibility with Microsoft Exchange. And recently the companies announced a new, hosted version of RIM's BES for Microsoft Office 365 users.

Read more about the BlackBerry/Bing deal on Microsoft's Bing blog.

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