Microsoft has taken some big steps in embracing mobile in recent months. After spending too much time ignoring other operating systems, the computing giant finally started making its Microsoft-branded services available on iOS and Android. Now, thanks to some new partnerships, the company’s suite of mobile apps will come preinstalled on some Android tablets.
If you buy a mobile device from Sony or LG in the near future, don’t be surprised to see a load of Microsoft apps staring back at you. As part of the new package, users will find Microsoft’s Office suite — Word, Excel, PowerPoint — preinstalled along with popular call and video chat app Skype, note taking app OneNote, and cloud storage solution OneDrive.
The preinstallation agreement includes 18 other partners, mostly smaller manufacturers located around the globe. This isn’t a new plan of business for Microsoft, which now has come to similar terms with 31 companies in total. The agreements bring the familiar Microsoft ecosystem — which is still a near-unanimous choice for school and work environments — to mobile, where Microsoft’s growth has lagged due to the low sales of its own mobile products and its previous decision to wall off its products from the mobile world outside. Getting the apps installed up front on Android devices helps to get the programs in hands of users right out of the gates.
Sony’s Xperia Z4 tablet will include the collection of Microsoft apps within the next 90 days. LG plans to integrate the services into its next tablet, though no release date has been provided.
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