Two aging tech powerhouses came together Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer, speaking at Research in Motion’s BlackBerry World conference, announced his company will “invest uniquely” in RIM. In addition, Microsoft announced its Bing search engine and mapping will be integrated into BlackBerry phones at the OS level.
“Bing on BlackBerry tastes more like Windows Phone 7 than BlackBerry” tweeted NPD analyst Ross Rubin. The announcement comes just days after analysts blasted RIM for retreating on its quarterly financial forecast
The announcement prompted some to see touches of an earlier Microsoft agreement with cell phone giant Nokia. In February, Nokia announced it would use Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS instead of Symbian. Nokia, which has lost market share to Apple, recently announced it would outsource its Symbian team, reducing its payroll.
RIM used the BlackBerry conference to also refute critics of the recently-released PlayBook tablet. Along with introducing the popular “Angry Birds” app for the PlayBook, the handset maker also gave every BlackBerry World participant a free 16GB PlayBook.
Much of the news came from industry analyst attending the RIM event, including Gartner’s Michael Gartenberg.