As Microsoft gradually exits the consumer smartphone market with deals with Foxconn and job cuts, it has also announced it has offloaded 1500 patents and licences to Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi to allow it use them on its smartphones.
The two firms have also agreed Xiaomi will ship Microsoft Office and Skype on Xiaomi Android smartphones and tablets thereby reaching tens of millions of consumers and business customers in China, India and around the world.
The companies’ new collaboration also includes a cross-license and patent transfer agreement.
“We are excited to be working closely with Microsoft on a broad technology collaboration partnership,” said Xiang Wang, senior vice president at Xiaomi. “As demonstrated by this agreement with Microsoft, Xiaomi is looking to build sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders, with the ultimate goal of bringing the best user experience to our Mi fans.”
“People want their favorite apps and experiences to work seamlessly on the device of their choice, and that’s exactly what this partnership offers,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft. “Together with Xiaomi, we’re bringing the very best in mobile productivity to millions more customers in China and around the world.”
Beginning in September 2016, Xiaomi Android devices, including Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3, will come pre-installed with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype applications. Specific offerings may vary by device, market and mobile operator.
This agreement builds on the companies’ partnership with Windows 10 on Mi Pad and Microsoft Azure powering the Mi Cloud service. Partnerships with companies such as Xiaomi are central to Microsoft’s strategy to work with industry leaders around the world to meet the needs of joint customers.