Xiaomi and Microsoft have entered into an agreement to include the Office and Skype apps on a number of Mi Android smartphones and tablets this year. The new deal between the two tech titans includes a cross-licence and patent transfer licence agreement, details of which are scanty at the moment.
In an official press release on Tuesday, Microsoft announced the expansion of its global partnership with Xiaomi to pre-install its productivity suite of apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype on Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3 starting September this year.
The Redmond-based software giant has already partnered with Xiaomi for powering Mi Cloud service with Azure and Mi Pad with Windows 10.
"We are excited to be working closely with Microsoft on a broad technology collaboration partnership," Xiang Wang, senior vice president at Xiaomi, said in a statement. "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."
Expanding the Xiaomi-Microsoft partnership: new deal for Office & Skype pre-install, IP cross-license and patent transfer agreement— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) June 1, 2016
This partnership enables Microsoft to reach Chinese consumers, especially with the help of Xiaomi's dominating presence in the country. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the deal also allows Microsoft to collect patent royalties from Android smartphone manufacturers and fend off antitrust charges in China. The company has for long been under a close watch by Chinese regulators for alleged violation of the country's anti-monopoly laws involving Windows and Office.
Microsoft has struck similar cross-licensing agreements with other manufacturers, including Asus, Samsung, Sony, and Dell. Samsung was the first to include Microsoft apps on Android in its Galaxy S6 smartphone and other Galaxy tablets this year. Sony, LG and Dell followed the lead.
Commenting on its partnership with Xiaomi, Microsoft's executive vice president of business development, Peggy Johnson said, "People want their favorite apps and experiences to work seamlessly on the device of their choice, and that's exactly what this partnership offers."