Microsoft continues sneaking its way into Android

by: Edgar CervantesMarch 28, 2016

Microsoft and Google are technically enemies in this competitive market, but the tech industry has shown us time and again that it is not a place where grudges are often held. Competitors could be battling each other in court while also signing deals to manufacture parts for each other. Simultaneously kissing and slapping enemies has become a habit around here.

Nevertheless, Microsoft and Google have a love/hate relationship that has been leaning more towards the sweet side lately. Microsoft can diss the Android OS all they want, but they can’t deny their own platform and devices are not really taking off. Windows Phone continues to hold only 2.57% of the world’s mobile OS market share, which is, simply put, quite insignificant compared to the big guys.

microsoft logo mwc 2015 2See also: Has the mobile ship sailed for Microsoft?69

What to do to stay relevant? If you can’t beat your enemies you must join them, right? The company has been making its way into the Android platform in a few different ways. In this post we aim to take a look at some of the ways in which Microsoft continues to infiltrate the Android OS, and what this means for users.


All apps on board!

Microsoft has one big leg over the competition. The company’s software is in amazingly high demand, especially the Microsoft Office suite. One obvious way to benefit from Google’s mobile platform successfully is by making all their main apps available for Android… and that they are definitely doing.

Not only are popular apps like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint now on the Google Play Store, but they have gone all out to include pretty much all of their biggest apps, and then some more. These include Cortana, Sprightly, Kaizala and the Microsoft Translator, among others.

Microsoft Office icons

Android-specific apps

There is something more to like about Microsoft’s involvement, though. This company is not just looking to bring its already existing software to Android; they are contributing by creating Android-specific applications to enhance your experience. Some examples are Arrow Launcher, Hub Keybord, Microsoft Dialer and more.

This says a lot about Microsoft. They are not just testing the waters or trying to get a quick buck – they are with Android for the long run. So much that they have invested into making apps that won’t even exist on their own platform. And to make matters even better, these are not your usual cookie-cutter apps. They are unique and very different when compared to other 3rd-party apps.

Check out Microsoft's apps in the Google Play Store

Strengthening ties with Google

Even if Google is willing to work with those they don’t get along with very well, it is important to keep things as friendly as possible. Especially if you want to really be an important part of Android.

These tech giants strengthened their ties last October, after being in a dispute since 2010. They agreed to drop about 20 court cases in the USA and Germany, taking a huge step into their growing relationship. No financial terms were disclosed, but the future is looking much brighter now for both parties.

Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues. As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility. Separately, Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers.

Denys Prykhodov /

Partnering up

Though Microsoft at one point could rule the PC market alone, that is no longer the way things work. New models require partnerships, especially for those trying to make it in the software business. And boy, has Microsoft made some alliances.

Just last month the company announced they have partnered up with 74 companies in 25 countries. These strategic agreements will result in plenty of tablets from many manufacturers coming with Microsoft apps pre-installed. Next time you buy an Android smartphone or tablet, it could come with Office, OneDrive, Skype and other apps coming from Microsoft.

It’s important to note Microsoft has managed to get some big deals with companies like Samsung, LG, Acer and many others.

dennizn /

Will all of this work?

Microsoft sure has plenty to offer — not only in terms of talent and experience, but they happen to have an extensive patent portfolio. There has been no mention of what these deals entail, but some rumors suggest it’s not only a monetary reward partners are getting. It is believed part of the exchange could include intellectual property licensing offers.

Regardless, Microsoft’s attempts to make it in the software business (as opposed to hardware) seems to be their best bet for now. Not to mention the fact that I do like some of Microsoft’s apps and like to see them around.

But what do you guys think of all of this? Do you think these apps will be nothing but bloatware, or will you take advantage of them? Can Microsoft become an important part of the Android ecosystem? Sound off in the comments below.

  • ChrisPollard77

    If they build all the pieces the right way, they can drop Windows Phone altogether, and just release their own Android ROM. Could be the reason for their ties to Cyanogenmod.

    • Alyeldin Mohamed

      not going to happen, they said before they need Windows 10 Mobile and if no one makes W10M devices they will.

      • They could do both….

      • Per Lunqvist

        WP is a money grabbing black hole without end. WP is a dieing platform, there is a limit even for MS how many billions they can throw down the drain on a dieing platform.
        The only thing that can save WP is if MS drops a killer phone at 1/3 of the price of Samsung S7.
        It’s the only way to make people take the leap and try an unknown OS.

        • coldspring22 .

          Even wonderful phone at 1/3 price of S7 will not do the trick. There are already lots of wonderful/killer smart phones out there already for 1/3, 1/4 price of S7. It’s simply too late for Microsoft in smart phone space, and nothing they do will make any difference for reviving windows phone.

        • Neel Gupta

          Microsoft is earning billions out of suing Android handset makers(OEM) !
          …Which is how they can handle loss in the billions, year after year.

          Online usage of Microsoft Windows has dropped below 50% (Mobile & Desktop combined)

          • Hargie Curato

            WEW, pure speculation, no proof…

          • Neel Gupta

            The links I posted were censored. Anyway just Google the Headlines…

            Microsoft Is Making An Astonishing $2 Billion Per Year From Android Patent Royalties
            With $1.7 billion in Surface losses, is it time for Microsoft to pull the plug?
            Microsoft: $400m losses on the Xbox One
            Nokia write-down leads Microsoft to record $3.2B loss on $22.2B revenue

            GS.StatCounter will show Online usage of Microsoft Windows has dropped below 50% when added together.

        • Alyeldin Mohamed

          they need a mobile OS for UWP strategy.

    • Jukka Palko

      Luckily they are only tied with cyanogen os and not with cyanogenmod yet. If they ever get that deep in bed with cyanogen, then that custom rom will have no base for complaining about Google pre-installed software on most of Android devices.

  • Falenone

    That S on the notification bar tells me that it’s some sort of crappy chinese “security” app. I feel sorry for this phone.

    • Khan

      Yes omg you are so right

  • Gopi Krishna

    CEOs of both the companies are from south India.. some common ground there too may be :)

  • Jukka Palko

    What this basically means is that each and every 16-128GB (and possibly some 8GB which I hope there aren’t that many anymore) internal storage of a partner device will include 2-4GB of software that you can’t remove which are included in the base image and will eat up additional 2-4GB of updated app data storage when updates are released via play store. This is of course in addition to the oem/isp bloatware that they provide which eats up at best the similar amount of storage.

    Those Microsoft apps are huge when you install one or all of them on a device that does not have any pre-installed. Every update is also a complete installation package unless they somehow ditch some of the files from the app packages and make them loaded separately on first use to function as a core functions/libraries storage area that all Microsoft apps depend on.

    I guess that makes clear my standing on more pre-installed Android software. If this were done like on a computer where you can remove most the initial vendor apps fully that you don’t need I wouldn’t bother complaining about the idea but what is in the base image of the oem/isp Android image cannot be ever removed without rooting a device.

    On my wife’s Samsung device which came with this Microsoft bloatware stack of software, I hid the software from use, denied them updates and deleted all the data that they had already via application management. Of course the gui complained that some functionality may be lost but that was no functionality that anyone in our family will miss. I replaced them with Google Docs, Drive, etc. which we do use.

  • Neel Gupta

    Microsoft is suing billions out of Android handset makers(OEM) !
    & loosing Billions on their crackpot Surface tablets.

    • Gman

      The Surface Pro tablet line are selling well and very, very profitable. Surface was so successful that Apple intends to copy the Surface Pro in nearly every way in their next build.

      • Neel Gupta

        Surface tablets in general(Including ARM/RT version) is making a loss.

        MS Surface is not the first tablet with keyboard. Android tablets like Xoom had keyboard covers long before Surface was launched.

  • Young Den

    This was there best move to date in recent years. I think it’s late but what the heck I guess right. Google has Google docs so we will see. It would be nice to have them work together on a Chromebook

  • ichuck7

    Since windows phone isn’t taking off, I think Microsoft should release a phone that has the live tiles launcher but runs android, similar to what blackberry did. I like the love tiles myself. Especially if Microsoft could find a way for that phone to be very battery efficient.

  • Russel Mendoza

    I hope both companies start to love one another… And focus mainly on their consumers… Not feuds…