Microsoft, RIM announce collaboration, Bing to power BlackBerry search

In what appears to be a joint effort to stave off both Apple and Google, Microsoft and RIM have teamed up to form a mobile partnership. The partnership will put Bing as the default search engine on all BlackBerry devices and Bing Maps as the default mapping software. The surprise announcement was made today at BlackBerry World where Microsoft's CEO shocked the audience when he took the stage.

"We're going to invest uniquely into the BlackBerry platform," Ballmer said in his keynote address. "Bing will become the default search provider in the browser and maps. I've never been more excited about where our future is going."

The news comes just days after RIM warned investors that its first quarter smartphone sales will be lower than expected, and as a result, the company cut its earnings forecast for the upcoming quarter. With Apple's iPhone and Google's Android devices consistently gaining smartphone market share, many on Wall Street have begun to lose faith in RIM's future. It remains to be seen if today's Microsoft/RIM announcement will have any meaningful impact on BlackBerry sales.