Microsoft and Xiaomi Inc. announced an intellectual property deal last week that will put Microsoft Office and Skype on Xiaomi's Android-based tablets and mobile phones.
As part of the deal, Xiaomi's devices will be sold with Microsoft Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word and Skype applications preloaded, starting this September. Xiaomi's "Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3" products will come with those apps included, according to a joint announcement by the companies.
This deal is characterized as a "cross-license and patent transfer agreement" by the two companies, although it's a little different. Microsoft's has struck many such intellectual property deals with hardware makers using the open source Android operating system, fostered by Google. Typically, the hardware company pays Microsoft royalties for using certain software capabilities, with few exceptions. However, in this case, Xiaomi is reportedly buying 1,500 of Microsoft's patents related to video, wireless and other technologies.
Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang told Reuters that acquiring those patents is an important step forward to support the company's expansion internationally.
The Xiaomi deal will potentially extend Microsoft office apps to “tens of millions of customers and business customers in China, India and around the world,” per the companies’ joint announcement.
Low-cost device maker Xiaomi sells mobile devices in China and India, but it's also working on globally expanding its products in other countries.Xiaomi is looking to sell its smartphones in the U.S. market, although not this year.