Most surreal moment of the day so far in the tech world: Steve Ballmer making a surprise appearance at the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Fla.
The Microsoft CEO was there to announce a new partnership with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion that will make the Redmond company’s Bing search engine the default search and mapping application on new BlackBerry devices around the world. Mobile operators will have the option to change the settings before the devices get to end users.
Microsoft and RIM will jointly promote the partnership under the slogan, “Making better decisions with Bing on BlackBerry.”
With the rise of the iPhone and Android, BlackBerry isn’t the force it once was in the mobile world, but it’s still an important win for Microsoft in its effort to chip away at Google’s lead in the search market.
The key question is how much Microsoft paid for the privilege. Microsoft isn’t commenting on the financial terms of the deal. The company’s Online Services Division posted a $726 million loss last quarter, the latest drop in a sea of red ink for the company’s online initiatives.