It seems that Xiaomi and Microsoft are cozying up nicely with the news that the Chinese handset maker has purchased around 1,500 patents from the American software giant in what has been called the beginning of a long-term partnership between the two companies. The partnership also means that Xiaomi will pre-install a bunch of Microsoft apps on future Android devices, much like its agreement with Samsung.
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
One reason for the partnership between the two is Xiaomi’s vulnerability to lawsuits in markets outside of China and India. The cross-licensing agreement could be what Xiaomi needs to protect itself when it moves to expand its reach to Europe and the US. The patents relate to voice communications, multimedia and cloud computing.
Besides the 1,500 patents, Xiaomi has also agreed to pre-install Microsoft apps such as Skype, Office, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook on its Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3 handsets from September 2016. Xiaomi’s senior vice president, Xiang Wang, had this to say about the deal:
“We are very excited to be working closely with Microsoft on a broad technology collaboration partnership. 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.”
News of the deal was announced by Hugo Barra via his Twitter account, as well as a press release from Microsoft. While for Xiaomi, the deal means it can protect itself better against lawsuits once it begins expanding its global reach, Microsoft gains by having its apps and services being exposed to the huge Chinese market, potentially gaining millions of extra customers.