Pulling the ultimate ninja move, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) teamed up with electronics company Lenovo in a deal that would have Microsoft’s apps preloaded on millions of Lenovo devices that use the Android™ operating system.
In a press release, Microsoft said the deal was a sign of a “deepening strategic relationship” with the Chinese laptop maker. Selected Lenovo devices will come with Microsoft’s signature productivity apps, including Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and Skype. That’s not all, Microsoft managed to score a “patent cross-licensing agreement” that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.
“Microsoft’s thrilled that our productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president OEM Division, Microsoft. “The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers around the world to be more productive, more connected and achieve even more.”
“Our collaboration with Microsoft will create new opportunities for our customers to take advantage of some of Microsoft’s most popular apps,” said Christian Eigen, Leader of Corporate Alliances, Lenovo. “Installing Microsoft apps and services on our devices will bring additional value to consumers around the globe.”
Microsoft added that the patent agreement demonstrates the company’s commitment to licensing intellectual property to ensure a “healthy and vibrant technology ecosystem.” Since the launching of Microsoft’s own IP licensing program in December 2003, the conglomerate has entered into more than a thousand licensing agreements. In addition, Microsoft teamed up with over 74 Android OEM, which means the company is serious about invading a highly profitable platform.
The agreement required Microsoft to surrender the right to charge royalties to companies that bundle its products “in exchange for software exposure.” However, Redmond exec Nick Parker said only that the deal applies to “Lenovo’s premium devices.”
“The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers around the world to be more productive, more connected and achieve even more,” Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s OEM division, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Christian Eigen, leader of corporate alliances at Lenovo said the company is looking forward to a fruitful partnership with Microsoft.
“Our collaboration with Microsoft will create new opportunities for our customers to take advantage of some of Microsoft’s most popular apps,” Eigen said. “Installing Microsoft apps and services in our devices will bring additional value to customers around the globe.”
Insiders believe that Microsoft is seizing the opportunity to gain a stronger foothold in the Asian markets, particularly in China. Not too long ago, Microsoft inked a deal with Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi and a year before that deal, the company collaborated with Samsung and other OEMs. Unlike Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft is going where users are. The waning demand for the Windows phones forced the tech conglomerate to latch on to iOS and Android. Microsoft seems to have no problems thriving on competitor platforms to widen its reach, which, let’s face it, is a real win for users.
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