Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, was a special guest at today's BlackBerry World keynote speech where he announced that Bing is to become the 'preferred search' on BlackBerry devices.

Expanding the existing enterprise-focused partnership between Microsoft and RIM, the two companies are also working on new handsets which will launch with Bing integrated into the OS.

"This goes way beyond a search box," said Ballmer. "Bing will be integrated into the BlackBerry experience starting this coming holiday season.

"Bing will be deeply integrated at the operating system level, going way beyond the application experience that is available today."

BingBerry

Speaking of the motives behind the new improved partnership, Ballmer noted that mobile commerce is a driving factor.

"It really highlights how the mobile landscape is changing; the convergence of search, commerce, social and location-centric services, where Bing will provide intelligence and the organising layer in the cloud."

Nodding to recent privacy concerns that the iPhone has been tracking users' location data, Ballmer was also keen to point out the safety of the service: "We're focused on doing this in a way that protects users' privacy."