Apart from revealing it had bought an artificial intelligence startup, Microsoft this week also announced a strategic deal with Lenovo to broaden the reach of its services, and strengthen its commitment for licensing intellectual property (IP). With this deal, the Redmond-based company will now be able to preload many of its apps into Lenovo’s Android devices. This collaboration between Microsoft and Lenovo also includes a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.
The company announced that integration of apps like Office 365, OneDrive, and Skype will be done on select Android smartphones, specifically the premium ones. “Microsoft is thrilled that our productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices. The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers around the world to be more productive, more connected and achieve even more,” Nick Parker, corporate vice president OEM Division, Microsoft said in a statement.
Microsoft also stressed that the patent agreement was outlined to reinforce its commitment to licensing intellectual property (IP) in order to maintain a healthy tech ecosystem. For this purpose, Microsoft had launched the IP licensing program in 2003, and has since then entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements. In 2010, Microsoft accused Google of infringing many of its patents in software in order to make its Android operating system. After five years of court battle, the two tech giants decided to bury all patent infringement litigation against each other and settle 18 cases in the United States and Germany.
Since then, the company has struck licensing deals with ZTE, Xiaomi, Samsung and many other Android manufacturers. What this means is that OEMs are paying a chunk of their money to Microsoft to use Google’s operating system, and looks like Lenovo has also just joined the bandwagon.