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Blackberry's New Friend

Microsoft is not buying Research in Motion just yet, despite what you may be hearing on the rumor mills for a while now. Instead, the company is joining hands with RIM to take on common enemy Android (Google).

Research in Motion  has a rather unlikely ally – Steve Ballmer from Microsoft. Ballmer showed up at the Blackberry World Trade Show in Orlando, Florida in an unbilled appearance. Bing (Microsoft's version of Search, which has been giving considerable headache to Google lately) will be the default search engine and map app for Blackberry smartphones, Ballmer informed, starting from around the holiday season this year. Bing will be replacing Google.

Ballmer also said Microsoft is going to "invest uniquely" in the Blackberry platform, but did not reveal details as to what shape, or size for that matter, the uniqueness would evolve to. The company's deal with Nokia had a $1B price tag.

Ironically, Microsoft also has a (deal )with Blackberry's arch nemesis Nokia , under the terms of which Nokia is adopting Windows Phone as its principle smartphone operating ecosystem.  One  of Microsoft's top executives, Stephen Elop, also happens to be the President and CEO of Finnish telecom giant, and the first non-Finnish to take up the post.

There are Bing apps for the competition as well – including Apple's iPad.

In the meanwhile, Blackberry has been keeping busy. It has announced Blackberry Mobile Voice System 5 with Voice-over-WiFi calling for Avaya and Legacy Nortel Communications Systems, launched Blackberry Balance, announced a multi-platform enterprise solution for smart phones and tablets, a new video chat app and a new Facebook app for Playbook (RIM's tablet device), and a new line of handsets ( (Blackberry Bold) ), the company's thinnest and most powerful handsets till date.

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