Microsoft has expanded its patent-licensing deal with Taiwanese hardware maker Asus. The revised terms will permit Asus to pre-install Microsoft’s Office productivity suite on its Android smartphones and tablets. Conversely, Microsoft also gains access to Asus’ patent portfolio.
As The Verge points out, Samsung became one of the first Android partners to bundle Microsoft apps on select devices. The Galaxy S6, for example, includes a Microsoft folder loaded with Skype, OneDrive and OneNote. Dell followed suit shortly after as did both LG and Sony.
In total, there are now over 30 device makers actively pre-installing Microsoft products on Android-powered hardware.
While convenient for some, it’s Microsoft and its partners that come out on top in such deals. Getting your apps on as many devices as possible has obvious benefits and for hardware makers, well, it’s just another check they get to cash at the end of the day.
The strategy is in stark contrast to how Microsoft was run under previous regimes. Before Satya Nadella took over the reins, Microsoft competed directly with Google in the smartphone industry, leveraging its software and services in a bid to attract users to its mobile platform. Now, Microsoft is focused on getting its goods on as many devices as possible, regardless of the platform.
Just yesterday, for example, Microsoft and Google agreed to settle their five-year patent dispute and dismissed nearly 20 active lawsuits across the US and Germany.