Xiaomi has acquired Microsoft licensing for patents ahead of its entry into the US and other developed markets. These licenses will enable them to stay clear of copyright infringement lawsuits from competitors in such developed markets.
Xiaomi has looked to enter the US market for a while now and hasn’t done so on account of the possibility of a lawsuit. When Xiaomi entered the Indian market, they were faced with a similar conundrum where Ericsson filed a lawsuit against them.
Commenting on the same, Hugo Barra, Vice president of Xiaomi’s global division, tweeted:
Expanding the Xiaomi-Microsoft partnership: new deal for Office & Skype pre-install, IP cross-license and patent transfer agreement
— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) June 1, 2016
Xiaomi’s phones will be launched in the US market with Microsoft’s applications like Skype, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook pre-installed onto them. Xiaomi has further strengthened its partnership with Microsoft by licensing the use of Windows 10 on their Mi Pad devices, where the Mi Cloud service will be powered by Microsoft’s Azure.
According to Strategy Analytics, Xiaomi ranks 5th in the smartphone market worldwide with a total share of 4.4% for the first quarter of 2016. The company faces opposition from large competitors like Oppo and Vivo in the Asian markets. Large telecom providers in the US and other developed countries are expected to demonstrate similar rivalry, which Xiaomi has sought to circumvent with its partnership with Microsoft.
According to the agreement between the two giants, Xiaomi will purchase around 1,500 patents from Microsoft, apart from cross-licensing agreements for other intellectual property rights. The agreement will stand effective beginning September 2016 and will include Microsoft’s services on Android devices like the Mi 5, Mi 4S, Redmi Note 3 and Mi Max.
Microsoft began its intellectual property licensing program back in 2003. Since then, it has signed around 1,200 licensing agreements with Android smartphone vendors to protect them from infringement lawsuits.