Microsoft’s next mobile move may be apps pre-installed on Galaxy S6

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Credit: Kevin C. Tofel/Gigaom

That Galaxy S6 phone Samsung is expected to introduce on March 1 could have one big trick up its sleeve: Microsoft apps pre-installed. That’s the word from SamMobile’s sources, which previously reported that Samsung’s own TouchWiz apps were likely to be unbundled from the new Galaxy S6.

Had this been reported a year ago, I would have shook my head and said, “no way.” What a difference a year makes.

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Over the last 12 months, [company]Microsoft[/company] has made a very concerted and public effort to get its apps and services in front of as many mobile users as it can. Search the iTunes App Store or [company]Google[/company] Play Store for the word Microsoft and you’ll see it: Dozens of new apps available including Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook (which is a rebranded version of Acompli) various utilities such as Android lock screens, and more.

Sure, getting these apps in the iOS and Android app stores helps with exposure but having them pre-installed on new devices, particularly a flagship phone, is worth even more to Microsoft. The company doesn’t have to get users to take the action of searching an app store and installing the software when it’s already there on the device. People are more likely to try Microsoft’s apps as a result, which can then result into more active users for the company.

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Samsung would have little to lose here because it doesn’t have competing apps of its own; at least not in the breadth and depth of what Microsoft has to offer. And if potential Galaxy S6 users get a better experience through Microsoft’s apps, Samsung should be happy; the pre-installs could be marketed as a selling point. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft pays Samsung for such a deal.

Of course, Google won’t likely be happy at all if this does happen. The company’s entire reason for Android to exist is for mobile device users to engage with Google services, thereby providing Google with rich, detailed data for its main source of revenue: Advertising. That means the more time people spend in Microsoft’s mobile apps, the less they’re spending in Gmail, Drive, Docs and the like.

Instead, Microsoft gets that user engagement along with the brand recognition and the reinforcement that it too is part of the communication when it comes to mobile computing. That could be very handy when Windows 10 for phones debuts, because the switching barriers for an iPhone or Android owner get reduced a little if the same apps are available — or even better: more optimized — on Windows 10, which looks promising based on my first take.

9 Comments

Dee

“I also wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft pays Samsung for such a deal.” More like, Microsoft would probably give Samsung a discount on the Android royalties that Samsung has to pay Microsoft for each Android device it sells

PRETHOUGHT

While die hard Android fans are typically anti-Microsoft. That’s not who Microsoft is selling to. There are people who could care less whether they use Apple or Android and will take whatever device the carrier will subsidize the most without caring the brand. And those phones are usually iPhones and Samsungs. They are playing the long view. iPhone uptake is already huge. As people purchase Samsungs offering they will be predisposed to the Microsoft eco system and because they have no bias and are ambivalent based on whats the cheapest on the carrier they might find they like Microsoft Office apps. It’s a well played move by Microsoft. We won’t see how successful this strategy is until the Galaxy S7 comes out and the S6 is heavily subsidized unit. So far Microsoft is doing well in digging it’s way out a very large ditch Balmer had put them in. Kudos to them for trying to stay relevant.

mike widrick

This continues Microsoft’s grand tradition of jumping on bandwagons when the parade is over – the Samsung Galaxy this year.

LauRoman

Sadly, i bet the Samsung stuff won’t be removed and we will have the Google apps, the Samsung ones and the Microsoft. The S4/Note3/S5 had Samsung’s weird magazine style thing-a-ma jig and Flipboard, and none of those was removable.

Badger1

My only answer is who cares? Why would I want Microsoft ANYTHING on my android phone when there are much better office compatible apps already? I already use DocsToGo which works great. If I wanted a Windows phone, I would have bought a Windows phone. Android is not a Microsoft product and that suits me just fine.

TArmstrong

“there are much better office compatible apps ” Really? Now that Real Office is on Android for free, bet a lot of people will like it. Users on iOS have liked their new apps. And Android is not a not a DataViz product either. It is not even a Google Product either as it is at its heart open source. Google Maps and gMail work well on MS Desktops so why not Office working well on Android?

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