Xiaomi To Buy 1,500 Patents From Microsoft, Who In Turn Will Bring Its Software To Xiaomi Devices
This week, Xiaomi has inked a deal with Microsoft in which the Chinese mobile giant will purchase about 1,500 patents from the software company. Microsoft, on the other hand, will get the chance to have its software brands, such as Office and Skype, installed in Xiaomi’s smartphones and tablet devices.
In the last year or so, Xiaomi has been expending a lot of effort in penetrating mobile markets outside of its homeland China. But the China based mobile manufacturer can only do so much with only a limited number of mobile technology related patents to its name. This is why the company is now actively shopping for patents to add to its rapidly increasing portfolio.
There is certainly some indication that Xiaomi has been busy. Back in January early this year, there were reports that Broadcom had transferred 19 US patent assets to a company called Xiaomi HK Ltd. The transfer involved 15 issued patents and four applications related to wireless or telecommunications technology.
It bears noting that while Xiaomi is one of the biggest sellers of smartphones around the world, the Chinese phone maker actually does not have any existing business relationships with wireless carriers in the United States, especially the Big Four of Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Earlier this year, the company even cancelled a deal with a minor mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to push a trio of its smartphones devices online.
As for Microsoft, it is no secret that the software company has been wanting to replicate its success in software for personal computers into the world of mobile devices. This has proven to be easier said than done. But with the deal it has made with Xiaomi, it will see a number of software brands, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Skype preinstalled in a number of Xiaomi mobile devices, namely the Mi 5, the Mi Max, the Mi 4S, the Redmi Note 3, and the Redmi 3 smartphones. Note that specific software will vary depending on the type of device, the wireless carrier selling that device, and the location (which mobile market it is being sold).
Up until the final quarter of last year, Xiaomi was considered the number 5 biggest seller of smartphones across the globe, per market research firm IDC’s estimates. But during the first three months of 2016, the Chinese phone maker saw itself taken out of the top five, in light of the recent surge of other Chinese phone maker brands such as Oppo and Vivo.