Get ready for even more Microsoft in your Android. In an expansion of the partnership that saw Samsung pre-load Microsoft apps on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, the Korea-based manufacturer announced that it will offer Microsoft services on a select number of its tablets during the first half of 2015.
Separately, Microsoft announced a series of “strategic agreements,” that will see not only Dell’s Android lineup gain Microsoft productivity apps later this year, but also devices from regional OEMs TrekSor, JP Sa Couto, Datamatic, DEXP, Histreet, QMobile, Tecno, Casper, Pegatron, and others.
On Samsung devices, a new KNOX Business Pack will extend to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype. It’ll also include 100GB of OneDrive storage for two years, as well as access to Office 365 Business, Business Premium, and Enterprise.
The motivations behind today’s announcements are all too clear — Microsoft’s Head of Business Development Peggy Johnson told the Verge the deals were “emblematic of our efforts to bring the best of Microsoft’s productivity service to everyone, on every device.” However, the company’s willingness to partner with Samsung is surprising, given the companies’ historically testy relationship. Microsoft earned more than $1 billion in 2013 from Samsung in the form of Android-related patent royalties before settling the issue in court.
Microsoft’s newly-minted partnership with Samsung, Dell, and smaller Android device manufacturers marks its biggest offensive yet on Google’s mobile turf. The usage terms of Android prevent OEMs from removing Google apps like Docs, Sheets, and Drive entirely from devices, but Microsoft’s betting it can sway users away from Google’s alternatives with the mere presence of Office and its accoutrements. The results of that strategy will take time to materialize, but expect more Microsoft on your next tablet and smartphone in the meantime.
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