The “Apple of China” is looking to consolidate its relationship with not only Google, but rival tech colossus Microsoft as well. After selling the Mi Pad 2 in both Android and Windows 10 flavors, and allowing Mi 4 phone users to participate in W10M’s Technical Preview, Xiaomi just reached a mutually beneficial arrangement that will pre-install some of Redmond’s mobile apps on devices like the Mi 5, Mi Max, Mi 4s, Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3.

These are wildly popular in China and a couple of them are making headway in India, the two being the world’s largest smartphone markets. It’s no wonder therefore Microsoft is excited about the expansion of this global partnership, especially considering the reluctance of mobile consumers in the aforementioned countries to adopt foreign technologies.

Before you start wondering how much Xiaomi might be paid here to grant out-the-box Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype installation on its Android products, it’s worth stressing the deal also reportedly extends to 1,500 Microsoft patents that will be licensed to the currently stagnating handheld OEM.

In its efforts to return to the growth of the past few years, Xiaomi has no choice but to diversify its device portfolio and tackle the Western hemisphere, America included. Only first it needs to make sure it’s got its legal bases covered, anticipating and preventing drawn-out, costly copyright infringement lawsuits.

Enter these mystery 1,500 patents, connected to “wireless communications” and “other technologies, including video.” Deemed the first step in building a “very strong patent portfolio” by a senior Xiaomi VP of strategic cooperation, they’re an extremely small part of Microsoft’s extensive intellectual property wealth, nonetheless strengthening a “much broader partnership than some of the other we’ve had”, according to Redmond Corporate VP Jonathan Tinter.

Sources: Microsoft, The Wall Street Journal

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