Samsung is reportedly set to feature apps from Microsoft prominently on its anticipated Galaxy S6 flagship smartphone, as part of a refreshed software strategy from the South Korean handset number one.
According to website SamMobile, the device will come with apps including OneNote, One Drive, Office Mobile (with Office 365 subscription) and Skype.
It has previously been reported that Samsung is revamping its TouchWiz user interface as part of a drive to remove “bloatware”, which may mean that some of the company’s own apps are no-longer pre-installed.
Such a move would be interesting for a number of reasons, not least because Samsung and Microsoft only recently ended a legal dispute related to their mobile phone business.
While no terms of the settlement were revealed, it is certainly possible that there was a commercial element related to the support of Microsoft’s products on Samsung devices.
And from Microsoft’s viewpoint, such a deal would make a lot of sense. With its “mobile-first, cloud first” mantra, it has made much about supporting users of many of its core products and services cross-platform.
While Samsung has sales issues to deal with, it is still a significant force in the mobile phone market, and would therefore give Microsoft an interesting opportunity for increasing its reach.
For Samsung, the deal seems a little less clear-cut. Certainly it would give it the opportunity to reduce the influence of Google on its products and services, with the search-engine giant being a key beneficiary of the company’s Android handset sales.
But while Microsoft is one of the few companies to be able to offer a compelling smartphone proposition built on Android without Google’s services – as Nokia did with its X series devices – this mooted deal does not see Google displaced in terms of core services.
It would also do nothing to improve Samsung’s own services proposition – indeed, the company currently has little in its portfolio of note. And while Microsoft’s own devices business is hardly a threat to Samsung, nevertheless it is a competitor, an issue which led to the recent legal spat.
Of course, Samsung may have done a deal whereby in return for delivering users to Microsoft’s productivity apps, it sees its patent licensing bill cut. This would enable it to improve its margin with no real damage to its own non-existent services proposition, while simultaneously keeping Google honest.