Patents are a valuable commodity in the tech industry, which is why the fact that Microsoft is selling off 1 500 patents to Xiaomi is surprising to say the least.

The patent deal also includes a cross-license agreement which will see Xiaomi smartphones such as the Mi 5, the Mi Max and the Redmi Note 3, shipping with pre-installed Microsoft apps such as the Office Suite and Skype, from September 2016.

“Xiaomi is looking to build sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders, with the ultimate goal of bringing the best user experience to our Mi fans,” Senior Vice President of Xiaomi, Xiang  Wang said in a statement.

While that may be the case, Xiaomi is currently suffering in China. According to Reuters, Shipments of Mi smartphones in China fell 9% in the last quarter due to strong competition from manufacturers offering cheaper smartphones.

The trouble is that the manufacturer doesn’t have strong patent protection outside of China. This makes it extremely difficult for the firm to expand it’s operations beyond the bamboo curtain but this deal, along with 3 700 other patents Xiaomi filed last year could see the company expanding internationally sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Microsoft sees the agreement as a way to further extend its reach into every aspect of their user’s lives, so that things are more convenient for them.

“People want their favorite apps and experiences to work seamlessly on the device of their choice, and that’s exactly what this partnership offers,” Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Microsoft said in a statement.

Whether this will be enough to catapult the firm into the rest of the world remains to be seen but we have a feeling that Xiaomi just became a manufacturer to watch out for in the rest of the world.

[Source – Microsoft]