Microsoft's CEO suprised many today with an unannounced keynote at Blackberry World, and revealed that he is purchasing the rights to be the default search and mapping provider on BB handsets.
Although I have my doubts about this I wouldn't put it past them. Microsoft has a long history of changing direction on a dime and throwing their partners under the bus. The best example that could be compared to this situation is when Microsoft decided to dump 'Plays for Sure' and go their own route with Zune. Many hardware partners were left holding the bag on that one. And their are many other examples of Microsoft doing this in the mobile space alone.It's been widely suspected and expected that MSFT will eventually purchase controlling shares of RIM. RIM has a HUGE corporate base here and globally. Windows Phone 7 is turning out to be a bust, so purchasing RIM would give them an established market. Something they've always done. It would be very easy to market Blackberry services, native integration with Exchange, then sell that as a complete package.
You know, thats something Ballmer could actually do well at. I'd love to see him get eaten alive on Coach's Corner...I wouldn't be surprised if RIM is purchased by MS. Next on the agenda would be a NHL team in Hamilton owned by Steve Ballmer.
I doubt at this point that WP7 has much hope left. Everyone seems to acknowledge that except for Nokia. I believe they are on the smarter path by buying shelf space for Bing search and mapping on other platforms. They appear to have competency there, and should leave hardware and mobile OS to the experts.Honestly, Microsoft really has only one path in mobile left to them. That is to put their full faith and resources behind WP7 and hope that it gains enough traction for them to actually make money from it. If they can't do it with WP7 then they may as well forget about mobile and concentrate on something else.