It was free PlayBooks for all at the BlackBerry World Conference keynote presentation today, but that was hardly the biggest surprise of the morning. Taking the stage right after RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis was Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. That’s right, the CEO of Microsoft held court at a BlackBerry conference. Why? To announce a new alliance of course. RIM is now working closely with Microsoft to integrate Bing search at the OS level on BlackBerry devices. Eric Zemen, aka @phonescooper, captured the rather odd video (above) showing how the Bing-on-BlackBerry experience will work.
If there’s one clear conclusion to be divined from Ballmer’s appearance today, it’s that the mobile battle lines have been drawn. Microsoft signed an agreement with Nokia just last month to shore up its OS position with Windows 7. Now it’s supporting RIM in the mobile OS world in order to further its mobile search interests. Bizarre? Yes. But also very calculated. Microsoft was late to the mobile game, and now it’s aligning left, right, and center in order to combat Google and Apple in the space.
You can place your bets now on whether Microsoft’s mobile strategies will work. Certainly the company is taking a scatter-shot approach to the market, but that doesn’t mean one of those shots won’t hit.
In the meantime, here’s a sampling of some of the greatest tweets covering the RIM conference this morning – from the hilarious to the insightful: Continue Reading…