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Microsoft continues sneaking its way into Android

If you can't beat your enemies you must join them, right? In this post we aim to take a look at some of the ways in which Microsoft continues to infiltrate the Android OS.

Published onMarch 28, 2016

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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.

Has the mobile ship sailed for Microsoft?

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.

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.

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.

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