Microsoft sells 1500 patents to Xiaomi and kicks off partnership


— 4:50 PM on June 1, 2016

No need to check your clocks folks, it's actually early June, not April. Microsoft and Xiaomi have inked a "broad technology collaboration partnership," which according to Reuters started with the sale of 1500 patents to the Chinese company. As part of the partnership deal, Xiaomi will install Microsoft Office and Skype across a large chunk of its Android-powered phones and tablets.

It's worth noting that the 1500 patents mentioned above were sold, not merely licensed. The companies did not disclose the deal's financial details, but the partnership also includes a patent cross-licensing agreement. This isn't the first time the two companies have a degree of collaboration. Xiaomi released the Windows-powered Mi Pad, and its Mi Cloud service is powered by Microsoft Azure.

Reuters' analysts speculate that the patent deal should help Xiaomi move into Western markets. The Chinese company historically stuck mainly to the Asian market, reportedly due to concerns about potential litigation. Xiaomi senior vice-president Wang Xiang said the acquisition of the Microsoft patents, plus the 3700 the company filed last year, make for "an important step forwards to support [the company's] expansion internationally."

Starting in September, many Xiaomi devices will ship with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype. The companies expect this move will let "tens of millions" of users take advantage of Microsoft's software, mainly in the Chinese and Indian markets .

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