Microsoft Bing replaces Google as BlackBerry's default search engine
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance Tuesday at Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) annual BlackBerry World event as the two companies announced a new partnership that positions Microsoft's Bing software solution as the search engine and mapping technologies standard across BlackBerry devices. Bing replaces Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) search and mapping tools as the default option on the BlackBerry platform.
Details on the RIM/Microsoft partnership are scarce, but Ballmer said BlackBerry users will see the alliance bear fruit by the end of this year, stating Bing integration will take place at the operating system level and adding "This goes way beyond a search box." Ballmer also said Microsoft will make significant investments to integrate RIM technologies into its cloud initiatives.
Bing succeeded Microsoft's Live Search solution in mid-2009. Later that year, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) quietly made Bing the default search engine on some of its BlackBerry smartphones--in fall 2010, Verizon also preloaded Bing as the default search engine on its Samsung Fascinate Android smartphone, leading to speculation the operator would substitute Bing for Google across all of its Android devices. Verizon and Microsoft quickly debunked the rumors. Google search remains the default option across most devices running the Android mobile operating system as well as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iOS platform.
At the current rate of growth, the U.S. mobile paid search segment is on track to end the year at an overall value of $1.1 billion according to data issued in March by banking and investment firm Macquarie Group. Macquarie notes that Google alone rakes in almost 97 percent of U.S. mobile search spending, with Bing and Yahoo dividing the remaining 3.2 percent.
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