Lenovo has just revealed this week that it has inked a deal with software giant Microsoft, paving the way for future mobile devices from the Chinese tech giant to come preinstalled with Microsoft’s three productivity apps, namely Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other programs), OneDrive (cloud based storage), and Skype (video chat messaging and voice calls).
For the longest time, Microsoft has been traditionally hesitant in making its software apps available to other platforms and devices, preferring to have them installed only mobile devices that run on Windows and the Mac. However, the past few years have seen the software giant loosen up a bit, especially under the leadership of Satya Nadella, the current chief executive officer of Microsoft. Indeed, the company has since started making its software products available to handsets powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system and Apple’s iOS.
Microsoft has made no secret about its intention to expose its core software products to as many mobile devices and consumers as possible, regardless of platform, brand, make, or model. Another reason is that by never really getting its Lumia handsets to gain a solid following among the world’s mobile users, it might be a good idea after all to just have its most popular software offerings readily accessible to owners of Android and iOS devices.
The collaboration with Lenovo and Microsoft also involves a patent cross licensing agreement that covers devices manufactured by Lenovo and the Motorola brand. What this means is that Lenovo will be able to load Microsoft software on its smartphone devices without worrying about paying a licensing fee. Almost a couple of years ago, Motorola’s smartphone business was acquired by Lenovo, but despite the Chinese tech giant’s best efforts in the last several months, Motorola devices still can not truly stand toe to toe with the Samsungs and Apples of the world. Still, Lenovo has its own branded smartphones and they are faring quite well in the company’s homeland China, and in certain parts of the world.
As reported by IDC, Lenovo managed to become the fourth biggest seller of smartphone devices towards the end of 2014, capturing 5.1 percent of the global smartphone market to beat another Chinese mobile giant, Xiaomi. It is true that the worldwide market for smartphones has gone through a slump since then, but the deal inked by Lenovo and Microsoft should benefit both, and not only when it comes to smartphones. In 2014, Lenovo was the third largest seller of tablet devices, registering a 3.1 percent increase in the volume of tablet shipments. Microsoft can do no wrong in taking advantage of that reach, especially now that tablet owners are increasingly looking to use their slates for productivity instead of playing mobile games or watching video content. And when it comes to productivity, Microsoft’s Office, OneDrive, and Skype would be particularly useful.
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