Microsoft apps coming to Samsung phones, tablets

A month after settling a patent dispute, Microsoft and Samsung have outlined a deal to put Microsoft productivity software on some of the South Korean company’s devices.

Microsoft and Samsung have struck a deal to put a slate of Microsoft-built applications on the South Korean giant’s smartphones and tablets.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 phones will come with note-taking application OneNote, One Drive data storage, and chat utility Skype, Microsoft said Monday. Absent from that collection are Microsoft productivity mainstays Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

All six apps will be loaded onto some Samsung tablets beginning in the first half of this year, Microsoft said, without specifying which devices. As part of the agreement, businesses that buy Samsung devices directly from the company will be able to buy versions of Microsoft’s Web-based Office 365 suite.

The deal is Microsoft’s latest effort to gain ground in mobile software even as its own mobile operating system badly lags those built by Google and Apple. Microsoft has spent much of the last year broadening the availability of its software beyond Windows Phone, releasing the Office suite for Apple’s iPad and making limited versions of the softwarefree for users of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

Samsung, the world’s largest phone builder, primarily makes devices that run Android.

The agreement comes a month after Samsung and Microsoft reached a peace deal in a smartphone patent licensing court fight that was headed to trial in U.S. district court. Microsoft had sued Samsung, arguing the company had breached the terms of a deal to license some Microsoft-patented Android technology. The terms of that settlement were not released.

The companies earlier this month gave a hint at a tighter partnership at the Mobile World Congress industry conference in Barcelona, Spain. People who received review copies of the Galaxy S6 noticed the phone came loaded with a “Microsoft Apps” folder.