Microsoft strikes a deal with Asus: We won't sue if you put Office on your Android devices

It's a classic quid-pro-quo move that helps Microsoft expand its Office ecosystem.

Microsoft apps on Android
Credit: Mark Hachman

Microsoft has apparently traded an agreement not to sue Asustek over its Android patents in exchange for an a deal that will put Office software on Android smartphones and tablets designed by Asus.

About a day after Microsoft and Google buried the hatchet with their own patent agreement, Asus and Microsoft also made peace. In a statement on Thursday, the two companies said they’d expanded a previous patent licensing agreement between the two companies that covers Asus-made Android phone and tablets and “Microsoft software, devices and services.”

Specifically, the agreement also provides for “closer integration” between the two companies, including “pre-installation by Asus of Microsoft Office productivity services on Asus Android smartphones and tablets” as well as collaboration to develop new products between the two companies.

“This agreement delivers significant value for both companies,” Nick Psyhogeos, president of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC, said in a statement. “Beyond ensuring continued improvements to our products, it opens the door to the kind of collaboration between Microsoft and ASUS made possible only through mutual respect and alignment on intellectual property.”

Microsoft has struck a similar patent-for-Office deal before. In February, Microsoft settled a patent dispute with Samsung. A few months later, Samsung agreed to bundle selected Microsoft apps onto its Galaxy phones and tablets. (OneNote and OneDrive, for example, come preloaded on the new unlocked Galaxy Note 5, as do phones from Sprint and T-Mobile; Verizon, however, has reportedly removed both apps.)

Why this matters: Whether Microsoft continues to “expand” its existing license agreements with its other licensees remains to be seen. If it does, however, it’s an easy way for Microsoft to “persuade” hardware makers to port its services to as many platforms as possible.

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