At a time when Google's tight grip over Android is arousing interest from antitrust regulators, Microsoft is doing a pretty good job of getting its services onto its competitor's platform. In a joint statement with Asus on Thursday, Microsoft revealed it has expanded a patent-licensing deal with the Taiwanese firm, which will see Office productivity services preloaded on Asus' Android smartphones and tablets.
Another global Android vendor makes Microsoft Office a feature of its mobile devices
The cross-licensing agreement covers Asus' use of Microsoft intellectual property in Android devices, though Microsoft also gets the benefit of Asus' patent portfolio in delivering its own software, devices, and services. Samsung, the biggest Android manufacturer in the world, was among the first to start bundling Microsoft's apps on Android, beginning with the Galaxy S6 smartphone and a number of its Galaxy tablets earlier this year. Sony and LG then did the same, and Dell has also joined in on preloading Office apps on its Android devices.
Microsoft appears to have settled on a neat solution to expanding the distribution of its software on Android by making its use a part of patent licensing negotiations. By taking less in royalty payments, the Office maker is ensuring that the software and services it really makes its money on are spread as widely as possible. With Asus now on board, there are now over 30 Android vendors who are actively pre-installing Microsoft's Office suite on Google's platform. Having settled its long-running patent battle with Google yesterday, Microsoft is now on a path to even further collaboration and cross-platform distribution, which is very much in accordance with CEO Satya Nadella's "cloud and mobile first" approach.