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Microsoft's Office, OneDrive, Skype to climb into Lenovo phones

Lenovo expects to ship millions of mobile devices over the next several years, many of which will now come preloaded with Microsoft productivity software.

Lenovo will bundle three of Microsoft's key apps onto its Android smartphones.

CNET

Microsoft Office, OneDrive and Skype are wending their way to Lenovo's Android smartphones.

Microsoft and Lenovo announced on Monday a deal in which Lenovo will preload Microsoft's three productivity applications onto certain Lenovo devices powered by Android. Microsoft Office typically includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other programs. OneDrive is Microsoft's cloud-based storage service through which people can save and sync files online. And Skype offers voice calls and video chats.

In the past, Microsoft kept a tight grip on its software applications, limiting them to its own Windows devices and the Mac. But in recent years under the direction of CEO Satya Nadella, the company has begun offering its software for Apple's iOS and Google's Android devices. Microsoft's goal has been to expose its core software to owners of the world's most dominant mobile devices. The failure of Microsoft's own Lumia phones to catch on is another reason why the software giant has turned to other mobile platforms to push its software.

The deal between Microsoft and Lenovo includes a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices. That means Lenovo can install Microsoft's software on its smartphones without having to cough up a licensing fee. Lenovo acquired the Motorola smartphone business from Google in October 2014. But in a market dominated by Apple and Android, Motorola phones haven't sold as well as the company had hoped. Regardless, millions of Lenovo's Android-based devices are expected to ship over the next several years, the company said.

Neither Microsoft nor Lenovo immediately responded to CNET's request for comment.