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Bing Makes Its iPhone Debut

Even Microsoft can't ignore the iPhone's success. Today Microsoft's Bing search unit announced the "Bing App" for the iPhone and iPod Touch has been accepted and is available for free download at the iPhone App Store.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) said in a blog post that Bing on the iPhone brings "some cool stuff" to the mobile device.

Among the features is voice-powered search, so you can say "Chicago weather" for a report on weather conditions, or speak out a full address for a map or directions to a location. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), an early iPhone supporter, also already offers a voice search application on both the iPhone and Android devices.

Some of Bing's new mapping features were previewed at a press event earlier this month and are included in the iPhone release, which Microsoft said features very smooth panning and zoom in/out in response to finger swipes.

With geo-location, Bing can help you find the nearest banks, theaters, restaurants and other destinations by category. You can also add virtual pushpins to save locations on a map for later recall.

An initial flurry of comments by users on Bing's blog had some praising Bing for being better than Google Maps. "Wow, the interface is simply fantastic," said one. But others complained the voice app either didn't work on their iPhone or crashed it.

A user with the handle "Neilksos" using an older iPhone said "I'm on the iPhone 2G and typed search doesn't work for anything...web, images or map. I just get a blank page and it says 'We did not find any results for '. The map works perfectly just panning around but you cant [sic] search. and also why no Bird Eye? Thats [sic] the best thing about Bing Maps and what sets it apart from Google Maps and it's not included in this app."

Bing is already available for Windows phones, BlackBerry, the Sidekick and select BREW-based devices offered by Verizon as well as from a mobile browser.

The iPhone App Store has been a runaway success, now offering over 100,000 applications for the device. Apple also reported there have been over two billion downloads at the store since its debut less than a year and a half ago.