Xiaomi has announced a partnership with Microsoft, which includes a patent transfer and cross-license agreement. Microsoft has sold nearly 1,500 patents to Xiaomi for a variety of technologies such as video, cloud, multimedia and wireless communications. As a part of this partnership agreement, starting September 2016, Xiaomi smartphones such the Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi 3 and the Redmi Note 3 will come pre-installed with Skype, Outlook and Microsoft Office apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Also Read - Amazon Prime Day sale deals revealed: Discount on OnePlus Nord CE, Mi 11X, Samsung Galaxy M42Also Read - Xbox Series X restock in India possible by early August, no news on Series S
“We are 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,” Xiaomi said. Also Read - Xiaomi might have a new Snapdragon 888 phone up its sleeve, to be Mi 11T
How will this agreement help Xiaomi?
Being just a five-year-old company, Xiaomi doesn’t have a patent war chest to take on established players. Xiaomi has been facing a patent infringement lawsuit with Ericsson in India, due to which it is banned from importing and selling Redmi-series smartphones that run on MediaTek processor. Ericsson had claimed that Xiaomi was not willing to negotiate a deal to compensate for its Standard Essential Patents (SEP) related to its 2G and 3G technology patents.
Because of its IP deficit, Xiaomi was also one of the last Chinese smartphone manufacturers to add fingerprint scanners to its range of smartphones late last year. Due to IP weakness, Xiaomi has also been cautious from entering developed markets as it increases the risk of lawsuits. Late last year, Qualcomm and Xiaomi had announced a similar patent licensing agreement to cover Qualcomm s 3G, 4G patents that include 3-mode (LTE-TDD, TD-SCDMA and GSM).
“You have to be prepared of course to the fact that people are going to come after you and try to sue you with their own patents, with their own IP and so on and so forth. We have so far filed over 6000 patents around the world. In this year alone 40 percent of the patents that we filed we filed outside China, so we’re also prepared for that,” Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra told CNBC in an interview last year.
Xiaomi had earlier collaborated with Microsoft last year to create a Windows 10 Mobile ROM for the Mi 4. The company also usesMicrosoft s Azure to power its Mi Cloud service.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has also signed up with some Android smartphone vendors for its intellectual property licensing program which protects them from infringement lawsuits. It has signed a deal with Samsung under which, the recent flagship smartphones the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge come pre-installed with Microsoft Office apps, Skype, OneNote and OneDrive.
That s not all; Microsoft also had signed a strategic partnership with Cyanogen, under which the company would pre-install Microsoft services such as Bing Search, Skype, OneDrive, Outlook and Office apps instead of Google services. Cyanogen has also been working to deeply integrate Microsoft s virtual personal assistant Cortana in CyanogenOS instead of Google Now.