Samsung announced the brand new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge this morning. The specs are great, the features look good, TouchWiz has been slimmed down, and the camera looks to be outstanding. One of the things that Samsung didn’t tell us at their Unpacked event was that they are bundling a handful of Microsoft apps on the devices as well. Microsoft and Samsung just agreed to end a pretty intense fight over patent royalties, and Samsung paid out $1 billion to Microsoft in 2013. But both of these new devices have three Microsoft apps pre-installed in their own folder on the device’s homescreen.
The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge both have OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype in a folder titled ‘Microsoft Apps’. The folder is pinned to the homescreen right next to the Google apps folder. The partnership extends farther than that, as Samsung is also offering 115GB of free OneDrive cloud storage to new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge owners. Samsung is doing this either because they got paid to by Microsoft, or it was part of the agreement that the two companies made in order to end their previous lawsuits. The Galaxy S6 was even rumored to come pre-loaded with Microsoft Office mobile, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, at least with the units that were on site for the hands-on portion of Samsung’s announcement in Barcelona.
Microsoft has been making a big push to gain new users, even making their apps and services free in some cases. Samsung has been trying to break away from Android and Google in one form or another for years. Does this partnership signal a bigger shift for Samsung? Probably not, but it’s still something of interest to keep an eye on. Microsoft certainly benefits here, though, and Google may not be happy with having Samsung push someone else’s apps in place of Google’s own. Of course, Samsung has been doing this with their own apps until recently, so who know what they’re ultimate goal is here. It’s interesting is all we’re saying.