U2 Ditches Apple for RIM

U2 and Apple are no longer BFF, apparently, as U2 has announced its 360° Tour, and its sponsor: Research in Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry devices.

It's not like U2 has ever been officially aligned with Apple, but U2 does have history with Apple. For example, U2 has performed at Apple events, is the only band that has gotten its own branded iPod, and Bono helped debut several (RED) iPods as well.

More surprising than the ditching of Apple, perhaps, is the snubbing of Palm. After all, Bono is a partner in Elevation Partners, a venture firm that owns nearly 40% of the struggling company. Recently Elevation Partners injected$100 million more into Palm to keep it afloat until its new Pre launches. You have to believe that the rest of the "Partners" would want Bono to pump up the Pre as much as possible.

On Monday, however, Palm announced that it would "remarket" 18.5 million common shares that underlie preferred shares and warrant units held by Elevation Partners. Based on current market prices, the shares are worth about $105 million; Elevation Partners will receive the $49 million it originally paid, while Palm receives the excess.

In other words, a boost to Palm's bank account, still more cash to keep it floating until the Pre launches.

Back to the tour: here's what Paul McGuinness said in the press release:
"This tour announcement marks the first stage of a relationship and shared vision between RIM 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."
Sorry, Apple (and Palm). Sounds like a long-term deal. The tour will cover 14 European cities starting in June and then head for North America. Tour details are available here.

Tags:  Apple, iPhone, RIM, iPod