Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) unveiled a new Bing Maps SDK optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) mobile operating system, giving developers a set of Objective C classes to build iPhone and iPad applications within Xcode as well as documentation and sample projects. According to Microsoft, the iOS map control supports Bing's road, aerial and hybrid aerial layouts--developers can add pushpins to maps and access user location via GPS to pinpoint the phone on the map. In an effort to improve performance, Microsoft separated Bing Maps Controls from the Bing Maps services, enabling developers to use the Bing Maps iOS Control in conjunction with Bing Maps REST geocoding and routing services to create fully featured mobile map applications--in addition, apps can integrate Bing search services to pull local listing data. The iOS SDK joins Microsoft's existing Bing Maps SDK for Windows Phone and its community-driven Android SDK.
The iOS SDK was not the only significant Bing-related news to surface last week: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance at Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) annual BlackBerry World event as the two companies announced a new partnership that positions Bing as the search engine and mapping technologies standard across BlackBerry devices. Bing replaces Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) search and mapping tools as the default option on the BlackBerry platform. Details on the RIM/Microsoft partnership are scarce, but Ballmer said BlackBerry users will see the alliance bear fruit by the end of this year, stating Bing integration will take place at the operating system level and adding "This goes way beyond a search box." Ballmer also said Microsoft will make significant investments to integrate RIM technologies into its cloud initiatives.
Bing succeeded Microsoft's Live Search solution in mid-2009. Later that year, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) quietly made Bing the default search engine on some of its BlackBerry smartphones--in fall 2010, Verizon also preloaded Bing as the default search engine on its Samsung Fascinate Android smartphone, leading to speculation the operator would substitute Bing for Google across all of its Android devices. Verizon and Microsoft quickly debunked the rumors. Google search remains the default option across most devices running Android as well as iOS.
- read this Bing Community blog entry
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