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2/11/2016
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Microsoft: 74 Device Partners Will Bring Office To Android

Microsoft is finding new routes to mobile success by partnering with 74 device makers to bring its apps and services, including Office, to Android tablets and smartphones.

5 Ways Microsoft Messed Up Mobile
5 Ways Microsoft Messed Up Mobile
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Microsoft is broadening its mobile footprint in a major way, the company announced earlier this week.

Redmond has announced mobile-focused partnerships with a total of 74 device makers in 25 countries. The manufacturers plan to bundle Microsoft's apps and services on its Android smartphones and tablets.

As part of the deal, these partners are offering, or will soon offer, Android devices with Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype pre-installed.

(Image: Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft's apps and services are already available on a number of Android devices, including the LG G Pad 2, Sony Xperia Z4, and Samsung Galaxy X6.

In May 2015, Microsoft announced partnerships with 31 device makers to bring Office and Skype to Android tablets. Partners included LG, Sony, Teclast, Haier, and Prestigio. The Feb. 10 announcement more than doubles the number of the company's partnerships.

Acer is one of the newest companies to join that growing pool. The device maker will begin pre-installing Office and Skype on select Android smartphones and tablets starting in the second half of 2016.

Windows Phone has proven a disaster, despite Microsoft's release of the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL in October 2015. Redmond sold about 4.5 million Lumia devices during the fourth quarter of 2015, marking a 57% drop from 10.5 million one year prior.

In comparison, Samsung shipped 85.6 million devices during Q4 2015. Apple reported a record-breaking quarter during the same time frame, in which it shipped 74.8 million iPhones.

Microsoft has recognized its strength is not in mobile hardware but in mobile apps, especially those built for productivity. With its smartphone marketshare tumbling by the quarter, it makes sense to expand its mobile strategy by offering those apps on competitor devices.

Over the past year, Microsoft has also pushed some of its most popular apps and services to iOS and Android smartphones. These include Outlook, which was recently revamped for both platforms, in addition to Cortana, Skype for Business, and the rest of the Office suite.

The strategy is intended to boost the number of people using Microsoft products, which could in turn increase the number of people paying for Office 365 and premium features. Office 365 has proven a key area of growth, expanding to 20.6 million subscribers during Microsoft's most recent fiscal quarter.

[Steve Ballmer: Why he doesn't support Satya Nadella's mobile strategy.]

"We've re-engineered many of our flagship products to be more modern, we've made Office and some of our most popular services readily available on more platforms and devices than ever before, and we've acquired companies that can help us realize our vision as we rethink traditional productivity," wrote Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM division, in a blog post on the news.

As Parker noted, Redmond has confirmed several acquisitions over the last few months to enhance its productivity apps. Among these are keyboard predictor SwiftKey, messaging app Talko, and technologies from management software company Event Zero.

With more than double the amount of device partners it had last year, will Microsoft's expanded presence on partner smartphones prove a successful move? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Rising stars wanted. Are you an IT professional under age 30 who's making a major contribution to the field? Do you know someone who fits that description? Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's Pearl Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

Kelly is an associate editor for InformationWeek. She most recently reported on financial tech for Insurance & Technology, before which she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. When she's not catching up on the latest in tech, Kelly enjoys ... View Full Bio

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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
3/4/2016 | 1:29:05 AM
Re: Office products for Android
"Microsoft was offering tools in packages with features that the others weren't offering, they didn't just rely on being less expensive.  I feel like most of the open source office suites I see take a "it's free what more do you want?" approach and that is totally the wrong tact.  They need to say "we do this better than anyone else" and then follow through."

SaneIT, that's the main difference between Ms and open source community. MS has a business attitude and they strive hard for it. But when comes to open source products, mentality is same as you mentioned.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/23/2016 | 8:21:45 AM
Re: Office products for Android
It's not easy to fight Microsoft but I remember when they were the underdog.  I remember installing NT 3.51 and a bunch of Netware guys telling me that it was just a fad and Microsoft servers would never make it.  I remember installing Word and Excel for the first time and hearing that it could never compete with WordPerfect or 1-2-3, where are Netware, Corel and Lotus now?  It isn't that a start up can't do it, they just can't do it while offering the same old thing.  Microsoft was offering tools in packages with features that the others weren't offering, they didn't just rely on being less expensive.  I feel like most of the open source office suites I see take a "it's free what more do you want?" approach and that is totally the wrong tact.  They need to say "we do this better than anyone else" and then follow through.
Gigi3
100%
0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
2/23/2016 | 1:35:25 AM
Re: Office products for Android
" You have to come up with a feature that they can't match.  I've seen lots of companies compete with Microsoft over the years, the ones that do well tend to hold on for a long time before Microsoft catches up to them.  If you're building an open source project and it simply matches the functionality of a Microsoft product you're in trouble.  If it does things users want and Microsoft hasn't delivered yet, then you have a much better chance."

SaneIT, I can understand your point and that's too valid for business.  Then only once can sustain for a long run, but again funding for sustainability and for refined products are big issues with open sources. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2016 | 8:12:08 AM
Re: Office products for Android
Maybe I'm a little callous in this regard but if you want to take on Microsoft you can't complain about the amount of money they have.  You have to come up with a feature that they can't match.  I've seen lots of companies compete with Microsoft over the years, the ones that do well tend to hold on for a long time before Microsoft catches up to them.  If you're building an open source project and it simply matches the functionality of a Microsoft product you're in trouble.  If it does things users want and Microsoft hasn't delivered yet, then you have a much better chance.   This is why Microsoft is playing catchup to an extent on mobile devices.  They have finally realized that someone else is doing this and they have to step up if they don't want to lose the market. 
Gigi3
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0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2016 | 5:12:12 AM
Re: Office products for Android
"Yes it does make things harder for open source office suites but I don't think it is Microsoft's responsibility to make it easier for other developers in this sense.  Most businesses are looking for flexibility right now and Microsoft is finally addressing some of those concerns."

SaneIT, Not like that; MS has money to spend for its business and to periforate the technology even by bundling it with other products. We have seen the same while introducing Hotmail & IE. But when it comes with open sources, the scenarios are different. Lack of funding and usage can crop the growth.
SaneIT
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50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/16/2016 | 8:22:08 AM
Re: Office products for Android
Yes it does make things harder for open source office suites but I don't think it is Microsoft's responsibility to make it easier for other developers in this sense.  Most businesses are looking for flexibility right now and Microsoft is finally addressing some of those concerns.  I've seen so much hype around some open source products that if they were in a position to replace the MS Office suite they would have by now.  It didn't take MS this long to replace WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 in the market.
Gigi3
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0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
2/16/2016 | 3:34:34 AM
Re: Office products for Android
" I have no ill will toward Open Office or products like it but enough of the corporate world uses MS Office that this is something MS should have done almost a decade ago. "

SaneIT, you are right about MS office usage. Majority of SME and MNC's are using MS products which including Office products. For MS, from business point of view perforating their products to more platforms can add more customers. But at the same time, it's always a threat for open source products.
SaneIT
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50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2016 | 8:17:40 AM
Re: Office products for Android
As someone who uses the MS apps on Android I'm going to say this is good to hear.  I have no ill will toward Open Office or products like it but enough of the corporate world uses MS Office that this is something MS should have done almost a decade ago.  Now if they could make SharePoint/Office 365 less stiff feeling on mobile devices they would really be getting somewhere.  A little more responsive design for what is becoming their flagship Office product would be really nice for anyone using a mobile device.  Their mobile view feels a bit like an afterthought given the usefulness of things like calendars and views that don't work in the mobile environment.
Gigi3
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0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2016 | 5:22:09 AM
Office products for Android
"Microsoft is broadening its mobile footprint in a major way, the company announced earlier this week. Redmond has announced mobile-focused partnerships with a total of 74 device makers in 25 countries. The manufacturers plan to bundle Microsoft's apps and services on its Android smartphones and tablets. As part of the deal, these partners are offering, or will soon offer, Android devices with Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype pre-installed."

Kelly, from user point of view it's good and can use office products both in windows and Android platform. But as person who would like to promote and use open source products and tools, it's nothing great because it can slowly kill the usage of open office and various other products. I think MS plan is to include the office products as a pre installed app and then to add the cost along with device cost.
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