Microsoft and Lenovo have today announced a new patent cross-licensing deal that will result in a handful of Microsoft apps being pre-loaded onto Lenovo’s various Android smartphones. These apps would include the company’s most popular apps, possibly Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and Skype.

We’ve seen this kind of partnership before with OEMs such as Samsung, Xiaomi, and several others. The specific details of the deal are unclear. Deals like this usually mean that one company, in this case Microsoft, won’t be charging royalties to other companies looking to bundle its products.

“Our collaboration with Microsoft will create new opportunities for our customers to take advantage of some of Microsoft’s most popular apps,” said Christian Eigen, Leader of Corporate Alliances, Lenovo. “Installing Microsoft apps and services on our devices will bring additional value to consumers around the globe.”

Microsoft did mention that apps would be pre-installed on “Lenovo’s premium devices”, but it’s not clear if that means the apps will only be installed on higher-end flagship devices or if the PR speak is simply generically referring to Lenovo’s devices as “premium.”

It’s worth noting that the former situation would potentially affect Moto devices. Motorola’s smartphones have always been praised for a lack of bloatware, but now that the company’s under new management, this might be the first sign that Lenovo has no intention of staying true to the traditions of Moto in the past.

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Ben Schoon

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