U2 said today that its upcoming 360 Tour, which will promote the album No Line On The Horizon, will be sponsored by Research In Motion’s BlackBerry. The announcement is coming as a shock to the technology world, which saw U2 and the band’s frontman Bono, as being partners with just about any one else — Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Palm, and heck, even Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT).
CNBC points out that it was just a few years ago that U2 joined Apple to unveil the company’s latest generation iPods, including a very special U2-branded device that benefited a campaign to fight AIDS in Africa. But also, the partnership is seen as a diss to Palm, which is launching the new Pre right about the same time as the concert kicks off late June in Barcelona. That’s because Bono is a partner in Elevation Partners, which owns about 39 percent of Palm (NSDQ: PALM). But let’s not forget about who else Bono is leaving in the tracks with the decision to go with BlackBerry…It’s his buddy Bill Gates and Microsoft’s ailing Windows Mobile phones. It was only three years ago that Time named both Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates as “Persons of the Year,” which led to a special friendship.
U2’s Manager Paul McGuinness said in a release: “This tour announcement marks the first stage of a relationship and shared vision between RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) and U2 that we expect will lead to new and innovative ways to enhance the mobile music experience on the BlackBerry platform for U2 fans. We look forward to sharing more details as the relationship unfolds.”
Still, the partnership may have more to do with other players than U2 and BlackBerry. The tour is presented by Live Nation (NYSE: LYV), which recently merged with Ticketmaster. Late last year, Ticketmaster announced that Research in Motion and Blackberry was their official “smartphone partner.” Together, the two were expected to collaborate on software that would allow Blackberry users to easily buy event tickets from Ticketmaster, Ticketsnow.com and getmein.com.
Photo credit: IrishTimes