Microsoft and RIM in Holy Molly Matrimony.

Posted on May 5, 2011

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From http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/227018/microsoftrim_alliance_is_no_easy_boost_for_blackberry_brand.html

In a move to secure fraying market share against their bourgeoning competitors, RIM and Microsoft are partnering. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise keynote earlier Tuesday at the Blackberry World expo in Orlando, Fla. Microsoft will integrate its Bing search and map application at the device operating system level, he said. “We’re going to invest uniquely into the BlackBerry platform.”

That’s the opening paragraph of that story. But what is interesting is the following commentary on the same story, a few paragraphs below:

These numbers aren’t great for either Microsoft or RIM–and are clearly bad enough to make the competitors put aside their differences to try to help each other.

The integration will allow RIM to focus on its core competencies, rather than developing search and map features–or sending its users over to Google, which builds the Android platform.

For Microsoft, the deal represents one more platform for Bing to live on. Earlier this year, Microsoft struck a deal with Nokia, which includes a set of phones developed in partnership and due to ship in 2012.

That pretty much sums the “oh-crap” moment  (or “ooh la la” as reminiscent of the classic scene from “Along Came Polly”) for both companies, in particular to RIM. But as bad augurs go, it is the smart thing to do.

Interesting. From an app/platform integration point of view, it makes sense for RIM to use MS Bing and its search, map and navigation services. I assume that RIM can integrate their own GPS with Bing (in the same way Android phones do with Google Maps.) The other alternative is, as the article said, is for a BlackBerry to send its user to Google/Google Map (with Google being the pusher for Android)…

… or get into serious search and geospatial database R&D… it took Google and MS a shitload of Ph.Ds, millions and many years to get it right.

This doesn’t even count infrastructure, tens of thousands of CPUs and data centers that suck more juice than a small town. RIM is in no position to do so, now so late in the game. Probably it never was in a position to do any of that, unlike MS or Google.

This joint effor provides a new, nice-to-have foothold for MS Bing, and a badly needed lifeline for RIM. Even when BlackBerry has enterprise and security features that no one else has, it is taking a beating from Android and iPhone.

Incidentally a couple of days this story ran in slashdot, about the possible beginning-of-the-end for RIM:

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/11/04/29/1652218/RIM-Collapse-Beginning

Any end would be years away. But even then, it would prove really bad for our local South Florida economy. South Florida utterly sucks when it comes to tech and innovation (as it seems more content to be a parochial service and cheap entertainment  economy than to be anything else.) With Motorola gutted in half and news that Beckman-Coulter is packing up and leaving for good, losing RIM would mean a lot of engineers having to move out of the region or serving margaritas at SoBe’s Mangoes.

But who knows, RIM might actually pull it off.  For the sake of our area, I hope it does (it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.)

I'll BlackBerry you Biiiiiiiiiing!!!!!!

I'll BlackBerry your Biiiiiiiiiing!!!!!!

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