Strike another one off the hit list. Microsoft and Lenovo recently announced an agreement to preload Microsoft apps on Lenovo and Motorola Android devices.
The preloaded apps are the same we’ve seen in previous Microsoft deals with Android vendors, including the Office mobile suite, OneDrive, and Skype. The announcement did not mention when the agreement takes effect. Lenovo says it expects “to ship millions” of Android devices loaded with Microsoft apps over the next few years.
The story behind the story: The agreement to add Microsoft apps to Lenovo devices is part of a “patent cross-licensing agreement.” Most critics take that to mean that Microsoft and its powerful patent portfolio was able to make an offer that most Android vendors can’t refuse.
Prior to Lenovo, Microsoft made deals to bring its apps to Android devices from Acer, Asus, Dell, LG, Samsung, and Sony. Android device vendors have paid as much as $1 billion in patent royalties a year before Microsoft’s major patent cross-licensing push. That said, Lenovo and Microsoft did not mention whether any money will change hands as part of this latest deal.
The real Windows mobile
With Windows 10 Mobile a complete write-off at this point, Microsoft needs a strong presence in mobile. Right now, getting the company’s top apps—which, incidentally, millions of people like to use anyway—is the best bet for Microsoft on mobile. This sudden push for preloaded Microsoft apps across a wide spectrum of popular Android devices appears to reflect that strategy shift.
Lenovo has been working with Microsoft closely in recent months. Prior to the Android deal the two companies collaborated on the experimental—and soon-to-be defunct—ReachIt for Cortana service.