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After an appearance on stage at RIM’s annual Blackberry World, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that Bing is set to become the search provider on BlackBerry devices.
Later confirmed on Bing’s Blog the news will see a new alliance between Microsoft and Research in Motion (RIM). They say the companies will work together to “help people make better decisions with Bing on Blackberry devices.”
Microsoft’s Bing will be the preferred search provider, both for the search app and the browser. It will also be the default map application on Blackberry smartphones.
It is unclear which device will be the first using the new search provider, but is believed that the upcoming BlackBerry Bond 9900 is likely to be the earliest smartphone, whilst the first actually product itself will be the new BlackBerry Playbook.
Being the preferred search provider means that Bing will replace the current search provider for Blackberry, Google. It’s not the first time that Bing has opened their services exclusively to mobile phone providers. A few weeks ago Microsoft announced a partnership with Nokia, similar to the Blackberry deal, which will see Bing become to default search provider to all Nokia tablets and smartphones.
So what does this mean for Google and Bing’s market share? Well, it’s clear that Bing’s market share has been growing month on month [See: Search Engine Market Share Statistics – April 11] and they have been doing very well in 2011, on both sides of the Atlantic – with a larger share in the US [See: Rise in Search Volume and Market Share for Bing]. Therefore, this latest news will add the ongoing optimism surrounding Bing and their growth. However, will it significantly affect search engine market shares? For mobile search its certainly a shrewd move.
In terms of mobile search, Google have a strong presence with Android and iPhone devices using them as their default search providers. However, for iPhone at least, their relationship may not be that rosy as Chris Crum has pointed out. If iPhone were to drop Google as their search provider, this would be disastrous for their mobile search market share – and a window of opportunity may open. Although, it would be fair to say that Apple and Microsoft aren’t exactly bosom buddies either.
Increasing criticism over Google’s SERPs and changes to their algorithms [see: New Algorithm Update for Google: Are they finally targeting Content Farms?] coupled with Bing’s ever increasing presence does suggest the search engine rivalry may be heating up.