Partners: Microsoft Deal To Preload Apps On Lenovo Android Devices Is A Savvy Move

Solution providers applauded the alliance between Microsoft and Lenovo via a deal that will see Microsoft productivity apps pre-installed on some Android devices from Lenovo.

Microsoft called the deal -- which will preload apps including Office, OneDrive and Skype on the devices from Lenovo -- "a deepening of their strategic relationship."

The companies didn't name specific devices, although a news release said Lenovo is expecting to ship "millions" of Android devices in coming years.

[Related: A Closer Look At Lenovo's New Smartphones: Phab2 Pro And Moto Z]

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Solution providers told CRN that along with welcoming the strengthened alliance between Microsoft and Lenovo, they're also glad to see Microsoft getting more active in the Android universe.

"I think it bodes well for Microsoft to have acceptance of their cloud offerings and deeper ties with the Android ecosystem through Lenovo," said Robby Hill, CEO of HillSouth, a Microsoft partner based in Florence, S.C.

The deal "should be a win for partners, customers and the two companies all around," Hill said.

Ric Opal, vice president of Peters & Associates, a Microsoft partner based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., said Microsoft may be looking to "go take back the hearts and minds from the next set of buyers" by doing more to link its software with Android devices. "It makes complete sense, and it's a long time coming," Opal said.

He added, "I think that if we can extend Microsoft solutions broadly to the market, that's going to create some pretty significant partner opportunities."

Microsoft and Lenovo also disclosed that the two companies have entered a patent cross-licensing agreement, covering Lenovo and Motorola devices.

In the news release, Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM Division, said the Microsoft productivity apps will be preloaded onto "premium" devices from Lenovo.

Android devices that Lenovo has launched recently include the large-screen smartphones Phab2 Pro and the Moto Z.

Opal said he believes Microsoft is smart to deepen its collaboration with Lenovo, in particular.

"I do think that Lenovo has really built some tremendous products, and has a very good reputation in the market for quality," he said. "I think this is a pretty good horse to bet on."