Microsoft squeezes apps into Xiaomi, sells patents in return

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has partnered up with Chinese tech maker Xiaomi. Under the agreement, Xiaomi's Android-powered smartphones and tablets will come preloaded with Office and Skype.

Xiaomi, in return, gets to use a bunch of Microsoft's patents. In a Microsoft press release following the announcement, there is no talk on how much the acquisition of these patents cost, or how many were included.

Reuters says about 1,500 patents are in play.

“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.”

As of September this year, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype apps are coming to these devices: Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3.

Specific offerings may vary, depending on the device, market and mobile operator, Microsoft warns.

“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.”

Reuters says Xiaomi's biggest obstacle to becoming a big player outside Chna were patents and the fears of a prolongued legal battle. In that case, acquiring Microsoft's patents seems like a logical step.

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