Steve Ballmer talks Microsoft + RIM, BlackBerry + Bing at BlackBerry World 2011 (video)

By Kevin Michaluk on 5 May 2011 10:45 am EDT

One of the big surprises this year at BlackBerry World 2011 took place during Tuesday's keynote presentation, when Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer took to the stage. In the video above you can watch Ballmer's full presentation where he talks about Microsoft working with RIM to enhance the cloud-based services available to BlackBerry, with a primary focus on Bing.

If you want to skip the talking and get to the goods, you can jump to 7m35s for a video depicting where Microsoft and RIM want to go with Bing on BlackBerry, and to 10m35s for a live demo of some of the new Bing on BlackBerry features that they already have working (including location awareness and search right from the locked homescreen - swipe to search). 

All in all, I really like where RIM is going here. The more we can get our BlackBerry devices doing the better. My only hope is that while Microsoft + RIM are going to work closely to bring more cloud-based experiences to BlackBerry handsets, that users who may not be Bing fans can turn off these core OS integrated services if they choose too. I like having the option of using all of these Microsoft services, but I don't want to be forced to.

Be sure to watch the video above and be sure to sound off in the comments with your thoughts. Do you like the direction things are going here??

Reader comments

Steve Ballmer talks Microsoft + RIM, BlackBerry + Bing at BlackBerry World 2011 (video)


While I appreciate better services that are integrated into my blackberry and playbook, I am a little concerned about the integration with Microsoft. I see Microsoft as a software company that will look to new ways to charge for services as they are introduced. I prefer Google web and mobile services as they have a more diverse revenue model that will have them look to other revenue sources like Ads to cover the cost of mobile services. I am also concerned that a Microsoft partnership will have Google only focus on Android and iOS apps in the future.

I'd agree with your points, and also with Kevin's point about choices. A partnership that ends up costing BB users more money will cost RIM a loss of BB customers in the long run. And if they sew Bing into the BB and reduce or eliminate the choices BB users have enjoyed over the years, RIM will again loose customers.

Other than that, I just don't trust MS jumping into RIM's haulways like this. I'm not sure what to make of the future for BB with this union.

well said... my sentiments exactly. I feel RIM forming a strategic alliance with Google would have been the best option and i'm very much surprised they didn't go that route.

That view of Google is out of date. Google is increasingly backing away from the open internet concept. Like everyone else they are in it for a buck.

To me, it appears that RIM gave up innovating and took the way of subcontracting ever since they were suddenly blindsided by Apple back in 2007 (was it?) when Apple announced th iPhone. Those 2 co-CEO's laughed at Apple that it was impossible that Apple could produce iPhone. But when Apple did, true to their words, RIM started scrambling as they said that they did not see this coming.
Now, look at them. They could not innovate their own OS, so they bought QNX, migrating Android apps, and now selling their soul to M$. I switched from IP4 to 9780 as I found certain attractiveness of BB. I was much looking forward to the Bold Touch. But this M$ deal? I am beginning to be turned off.
I am afraid that RIM might be bought out.

That's what companies do, they purchase other companies to make their own stronger. Google bought Android, HP bought Palm, RIM bought QNX. etc. RIM is still a huge competitor in the mobile market industry, and despite the fact that Bing is inferior to Google in virtually every way, core integration with this software isn't necessarily a bad thing. Basically, all this means is universal search in future RIM devices will be more feature rich but for those who enjoy variety, Google will most definitely produce an alternative application to do most of the same functions as Bing.

The only thing RIM failed to understand with the introduction of the iPhone was how effective advertising can be, as the iPhone was far inferior to any multitasking Blackberry back when it was first introduced. Granted, over time, the iPhone introduced new features and became a real competitor, but so did every other Manufacturer, HTC being an excellent example and a real dark horse. RIM has finally realized the importance of Marketing with their PlayBook, starting off early and continuing strong with a forceful, 'Apple Approach' to campaigning.

Do not be afraid for RIM, they will be just fine.

The difference in this situation though, is that RIM did not buy Bing. They made a deal with Microsoft, a company with a long track record of sinking their teeth into other companies and projects, then systematically disrupting the project often to the detriment of the consumer (and their partner). Microsoft's business model has always based itself around building a reliance/dependency on their products and services, then squeezing that reliance to their own ends.

Even though I agree with you about Microsoft's business model and the fact that RIM has to be careful since this is an external party integrating into the BBOS environment, RIM is well aware of their competition, Microsoft being one of them. Despite the fact that they have this new partnership, they will not be blindsided and taken advantage of for Microsoft's gain as we are all aware, including RIM, that Windows phone 7 is the alternative to Blackberry. Software integration will not leave the search functions of RIM's products, I can almost guarantee that without a second thought.

Google bought Android, HP bought Palm.
Yes, they did, but Google and HP were not mobile device companies. They bought Android/Palm to quickly get into the mobile device market. RIM is a mobile device company but they were sitting on the success of their OS for too long. The only way for them to quickly regain competitiveness was to buy what they thought was the OS of the future.
Apple was not a mobile device company (well, they experimented on and off. Remember Newton?), but they created their own OS that is now threatening RIM.
Good for RIM that they bought the QNX, but at the present, they look like a scared rabbit jumping all over the places, announcing products prematurely apparently to hold up their captive market users from defecting by buying time, and thinking while running etc (recent PB roll-out certainly looks like so).
THey should have rolled out new lines of handsets first even with 6.1 as they can always update, without too much concentration of their resources to PB.

But what do I know? I am not running RIM. But the confidence in the mfr is important to average users. RIM should make themselves look like knowing what they are doing, rather than storming out of interview with a parting shot like "we are picked on" etc.

RIM has always kept with the same 'tried and true' business plan, which involves a very specific update schedule with selected hardware specifications months prior to product launch. This model is no different from virtually every other mobile company; they most definitely know what they are doing. Every official new product announcement is chosen to create the biggest impact on the market. RIM was clever in using the PlayBook to give users a glimpse into the not to distant future of RIM's design, and to introduce handsets any earlier than now would have only caused confusion as they attempt to move away from the existing BBOS into QNX.

They could have rolled out the handsets prior to the PlayBook's launch, however it is best to strike a new market early rather than being late to the game. This was a sensitive timeline that could have been worth hundreds of thousands of sales, and I believe they chose wisely; I guess we will find out when the HP tablet is released later this year.

I, too, am just an onlooker, so maybe I'm wrong about all of this. the confidence has dwindled in the company, it's the name of the game. You can't be on top for forever but you can continue to fight and integrate into a changing market.


Microsoft is trying to buy market share for Bing. First they gave Verizon big bucks to put Bing on all Verizon phones, now they are buying us Blackberry users from RIM.

So, 1) when Microsoft brags about the market penetration by Bing, consider what definition of "penetration" really fits their activities. (Was that too obscure, or did you get it?)

2) If you figure out how to uninstall Bing, post it.

I simply don't like BING as a product regardless who owns it... their search engine is just terrible and i HOPE they will replace the UI to be exactly like Blackberry's UI... at the moment it doesn't look like it's a deep integration at all. I HATE those background images behind the options. yuk!

I wondered about the relationship between MS and RIM too................especially when RIM announced the jump to OS7, which sounds very similar to Windows Phone 7.

I agree with Kevin, I don't want to feel forced to using Bing. Even though Bing is relatively better than what it was a few years ago, still, I find Google to produce better results than Google.

To be honest, this whole speak-result thing the guy showed us in the video for the restaurant is already available on Google App be it Blackberry or any other platform. So the question is, what did they REALLY introduce to the table? Nothing substantially new.

IMHO, Microsoft is not RIM's solution.

I love Blackberrys.

I love Microsoft Windows.

If RIM force that POS Bing up my BlackBerry OS, I shall cease using BlackBerrys.

I want Google and nuttin' else.

MSFT is paying NOK and RIMM to integrate BING as a location based services portal.

The future big $$$ of mobile is in advertising, deals (Groupon) and enhanced location aware apps. With WP7, NOK, and RIM, MSFT could get BING based location services onto 1/3 of worldwide handsets.

GOOG will produce its branded tablets and (more) phones one day, when it no longer can afford to let the Andorid markets remain fragmented.

AMZN tablet is coming later this year...

I think for all his wackiness, Steve Ballmer is an individual with a lot of drive and energy. I think he would be a positive energy in a partnership.

I wasnt a huge fan of bing when it initially came out. but ever since getting my pb ive been using it more and more, and I think it's growing on me.

i see it as a win win situation. google is focused on development for their os/devices. just look at the fact droid devices have turn by turn nav and nada for the bb version of g maps.

if getting in bed with ms finally gets us a free turn by turn, voice recognition, voice alert, I'm all for it.

I don't get this.

I have no issue with microsoft, but why are they forcing bing down my throat? If this can't be uninstalled I'm getting a droid instead of a bold touch.

If they could get google integration, that would be awesome.

That's all very nice, but that Bing application is just not available for me, in the country where I live... :(

So... Why is that application only available in a limited number of countries ???

I have a BlackBerry because I want the best smartphone experience possible.
When I search the web, I use Google for the same reason.

RIM introducing Bing onto BlackBerry phones is the biggest piece of shit ever. Apple and Android have such beautiful apps with Google technology embedded in them. Why should BlackBerry owners be punished with Bing?

Very, very disappointing.

Also, why are Microsoft incapable of making a decent advert for any of their products? Even the Bing promo in the video above is cringeworthy.

I dislike the Bing search engine and I'm not particularly fond of Bing Maps. I very much dislike Microsoft's business practices and am dismayed to hear that RIM wants to "partner" with MS. I just bought a Playbook knowing full well that initially it would perform none of the functions that I wanted in a tablet but was hoping that the necessary software would come along. I'm concerned that this announcement may discourage Google and others from introducing Playbook apps. As an example, why would Google invest in a Playbook Google Maps app when Bing Maps comes preloaded. Or, if Google should by Skype, do you think they'd bother with the Playbook App?

I guess I had better start saving up for a Droid...

I have been holding out and holding out. Upgrading to newer BlackBerries. Hoping that RIM will make something that finally compares to iOS or Android.

Now I got the PlayBook. I can run Android apps? Awesome! Oh... but the dev has to repackage the app for the PB... and it's trapped in some weird app player... and only one Android app can be running at a time...WTF?!?

And to make matters worse RIM wants to integrate Bing and other Microsoft products into their devices... way to piss off the remaining users you have. The only time Bing was any good was before they were forced to stop using Google's engine.

Shut your stupid pie hole you moron. This is a no brainer for RIM as I explain below. As for running android apps on playbook, purely temporary, in a year or two any playbook owner won't give a fig for inferior android apps.

I guess I am one of the few who likes the idea of this partnership. MS will be getting all of their location data from Nokia (who owns Telnav). Ovi Maps (which is a great product in and of itself) will be the new Bing mapping service. Before you start complaining about Bing mappiing services, check out Ovi. What Bing is today won't be the Bing of the holiday season (the time at which this partnership will make itself to handsets).

What I think a lot of us are failing to understand here is that Bing will be used at the OS level, not just for 'web search' which seems like what everyone is concerned about in here. If google yields better results for you, then use Google. Go ahead, make a bookmark icon on your Playbook with it.

What we're failing to see is Bing as a search engine, which is quite strong. Consider Facebook uses Bing for all their search and finding related data. Log on to facebook, search for someone. That's bing. If facebook 'recommends' people you may know. That's bing. If you consider the advertising engine which shows you advertisements depending on your patterns, things you view, facebook games you play... that's Bing. Twitter also uses the Bing engine for searches and recommendations.

The indexing and content of the WWW may not be up to Google's snuff, which will take time to do. But Bing as an engine, is very efficient.

Five years ago, I couldn't have imagined a suite of mobile products as helpful and useful as what Google provides today. Chances are, few of us can imagine what possibilities will be at our fingertips five years from now. In the whole scheme of things, who partners with whom today is really inconsequential.

I can't believe these comments ... "I want google not bing".... don't you f-ing get it every google innovation will be delayed or never come to the blackberry phone such as google's turn by turn driving directions that are restricted to Android phones. More and more Google will not give this stuff to RIM, so you can say all you want that you want google but you are not going to get it unless you by shitty made android phones.

QNX> Android OS so you are going to an inferior OS to get google's turn by turn directions etc. when RIM and MSFT can bring you this stuff right on the Blackberry? WTF? What are you smoking?? You look at google like it's all goody goody and is just going to give RIM all of it's stuff for nothing when it is interested in supporting the android OS. Wake up.

For things like internet search you can pick google if you want. No one, not even Balmer, says Bing is the only search engine on the blackberry, it is the preferred one that's all. However for the integration stuff google might produce a similar product but they are not going to give it to RIM.

A pure no-brainer for RIM.

And also those that think google is better because they attract all the talented programmers, read your newspapers. Top employees have been leaving google for some time now, going over to facebook where the chances of growth and stock options on IPO are much greater.

Tech cycles are happening faster and faster and in these terms google is already an old company, much less appealing to young talented programmers that it used to be. Honeycomb is pretty much the proof of that.

i dont understand why the search option is such a big fcking deal. why is there this huge push for search innovations? can someone please help explain this to me?

i fee like companies are just incorporating search just to make money and less about enriching the handheld experience.