Building upon CEO Satya Nadella's mobile-first, cloud-first strategy, Microsoft announced that it has struck deals to pre-install its software in devices made by various Android manufacturers.

One of the most prominent partnerships Microsoft has recently made is with Samsung, which recently announced at the Mobile World Congress that the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge will come pre-installed with OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype out of the box. Now, Microsoft says it will be bringing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype in "select" Samsung tablets. Buyers of the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge will also receive 100 GB of free storage on OneDrive.

Business customers will also receive access to three versions of Microsoft's Office 365, Business, Business Premium, and Enterprise, along with Samsung's own Knox security software suite.

Later this year, Microsoft will also have its apps pre-installed in certain devices made by Dell, and several other local Android original device manufacturers (OEMs) in various countries, including Canada, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, and some countries in Africa.

"For OEMs, these deals will increase the value of and enrich people's experiences on Android devices," says Peggy Johnson, Microsoft's executive vice president of business development. "Original device manufacturers are important because they extend Microsoft services to the ecosystem. More specifically, they help to reach a greater number of other device manufacturers, resulting in even more choice for customers around the world."

According to a report by Forbes, Microsoft is in advanced talks to bring its services to CyanogenMod. The report says, if the partnership pushes through, CyanogenMod could come pre-installed with several Microsoft services, including Bing, Cortana, Outlook, Skype, and OneDrive.

It's unclear if Microsoft will make money out of giving away its services for free. For now, however, Microsoft's goal is to have its suite of core productivity products reach a more expansive set of users, hoping that later on it can ensnare more people to switch to the subscription-based Office 365. Microsoft's bread and butter had always been the sales of its software, but growth is slowing as more and more people are switching to free alternatives to Microsoft Office, such as Google's Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which come pre-installed in Android devices.

"These deals demonstrate how we are working with hardware partners in new ways to deliver rich experiences through their scale," says Johnson. "We've proven that we're not afraid to look outside ourselves to reinvent ourselves."

Just earlier this year, Microsoft settled a potentially costly patent suit it filed against Samsung after the Korean electronics manufacturer stopped making Android loyalty payments to Redmond, accusing it of breach of contract when Microsoft decided to purchase Nokia.

Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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