01 June 2016
Washington DC
Reporter: Tammy Facey

Microsoft transfers patents to Xiaomi


Microsoft has agreed to transfer patents to electronics company Xiaomi in a deal that will see Office and Skype installed on its Android devices.

Under the agreement, Xiaomi’s Android products will employ Microsoft Office and Skype video-calling. The deal includes a cross-licence and the transfer of unnamed patents to the China-based company.

Further details were not disclosed.

In September, Xiaomi’s mobile devices, including the Mi 5, Mi Max and Redmi 3, will come pre-installed with Microsoft Office software, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, as well as Skype.

As a result of the collaboration, Xiaomi said in a statement, customers in China, India and around the world “will have new ways to work, collaborate and communicate.”

Xiang Wang, senior vice president at Xiaomi, said: “As demonstrated by this agreement with Microsoft, Xiaomi is looking to build sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders, with the ultimate goal of bringing the best user experience to our Mi fans.”

“People want their favourite apps and experiences to work seamlessly on the device of their choice, and that’s exactly what this partnership offers,” added Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft.

“Together with Xiaomi, we’re bringing the very best in mobile productivity to millions more customers in China and around the world.”

Microsoft is expanding its reach in Asia. Last week, the company signed a patent deal with Japan-based accessory manufacturer ELECOM.

The company has entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements since the launch of its programme in December 2003, which reportedly brings in more than $3 billion in licensing fees per year.

Tristan Sherliker, associate solicitor at law firm EIP, said Xiaomi’s business focus is almost entirely on markets in the likes of China and Malaysia, but its agreement with Microsoft could help it reach other markets.

“This new patent pot from Microsoft might just be what Xiaomi needs to break in to the wider global market: now that it owns patented tech, as well as using it in its smartphones, Xiaomi is in a much better position to compete with rivals such as Apple and Samsung.”

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