Microsoft And Samsung Get Cozier, Boosting Their Relevancy With Mobile Workers

The expanded partnership brings a strong connection between the Galaxy Note10 and Windows 10, providing 'true competition' to Apple's iPhone-Mac linkage, a solution provider told CRN.


Samsung CEO DJ Koh and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Samsung's quest to make its Galaxy smartphones a compelling alternative to Apple's iPhone for mobile workers is getting a boost from a tighter partnership with business software king Microsoft.

While the two companies have partnered for years, the appearance of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked device launch Wednesday signaled an expanded new phase.

[Related: The 10 Biggest Features On Samsung's Galaxy Note10]

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The event was focused around the announcement of Samsung's Galaxy Note10 smartphone, which features a number of new linkages to Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system and Office software suite. Samsung also announced a new Windows 10 notebook, the Galaxy Book S.

The event "marks the next stage of this partnership" between Microsoft and Samsung, Nadella said on stage in New York.

"At any moment we want within your arm's reach the greatest of experiences, wherever you are. And the combination of Microsoft's intelligent experiences and Samsung's powerful, innovative new devices—like the Galaxy Note10 and Galaxy Book S—makes this possible," Nadella said. "This is just a start, and there is much more to do and much more to come. And we are very, very excited about this partnership."

Among the key features mentioned by Nadella is the ability for Galaxy Note10 users to access text messages and take calls from Windows 10 PCs, which will be available later in the year through the Your Phone app. The app is being bundled with the Note10, and Samsung is also pre-installing Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on the Note10.

Meanwhile, the Note10 integrates the "Link to Windows" feature--which enables a phone's messaging and notifications to appear on a Windows 10 PC--directly into the Quick Panel for users to more easily connect their Note10 to their PC.

Additionally, the smartphone will leverage both Windows 10 and Windows 7 to make life easier for DeX users. DeX is a feature that lets users pull up an Android desktop on a compatible screen by plugging in a Galaxy device.

With the Note10, users can access their DeX desktop on a Windows 10 or 7 PC just by plugging into the computer using a USB-C to USB-C cable. That way, users will have the option to access a keyboard or mouse in situations where they need one--potentially allowing them to do without the need for a laptop, Samsung said. The feature is also compatible with Apple's Macs.

At Troy Mobility, an enterprise mobility solution provider based in Peabody, Mass., Chief Customer Officer Paul Troisi told CRN that the closer relationship between Samsung and Microsoft makes a lot of sense. While Samsung is seeking to lure in more users to its devices, including mobile workers that rely on Microsoft software, Microsoft is also looking to seize more of a connection to the mobility space after the end of Windows Phone era, Troisi said.

"It doesn't surprise me that Microsoft is really taking a look at, how do we dovetail back into the mobile industry?" he said.

In the device realm, this is "Microsoft finding a way to continue to be relevant outside of a Windows 10 OS," Troisi said.

To some degree, tying Samsung devices more closely to Windows 10 is also a play against Apple's integrated ecosystem of iOS devices and Macs, he added.

"If the two of them are coming together to build integrations similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone, iPad and Mac, that's true competition in terms of that functionality," Troisi said.

The 6.3-inch Galaxy Note10 and 6.8-inch Galaxy Note10+ will be available on Aug. 23. Pre-orders are open, and the Note10 starts at $949.99 with the Note10+ starting at $1,099.99.