Years of backlash and criticism hasn’t done much to encourage OEMs to stop polluting our devices with pre-installed software that nobody wants, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. Whether consumers like it or not, pre-installing software is an excellent way to increase your userbase, which is why Microsoft has been so keen on securing partnerships with Android OEMs as it continues its aggressive expansion into the platform. Microsoft already has 74 Android OEMs pre-installing its software on their mobile devices, with Acer being its newest partner, but people have already started criticizing the company for becoming a major source of bloatware for Android devices.
Microsoft slow encroachment on Android continues. The company recently announced that Acer is the latest in a long list of device makers that will bundle Office apps and other Microsoft services with its Android handsets. Acer joins other companies including Asus, Dell, LG, Samsung, and Sony who have all agreed to distribute their devices loaded with Microsoft apps. Similar to the prior arrangements, Acer’s deal with Microsoft is part of a patent licensing agreement. Beginning in the second half of 2016, select Android-powered smartphones and tablets from Acer will come with Microsoft apps pre-installed. The selection will include the core Office apps—Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word—as well as OneDrive and Skype. As the saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em, assimilate ‘em…or something like that. Microsoft needs a strong presence in mobile, especially with Lumia sales sinking and Windows 10 mobile off to a slow start. Getting its apps installed by default on Android devices via patent deals is one way to put its products in front of millions of users—especially since Google’s Docs family of apps aren’t preloaded on Android devices. There’s a chance, however, that Microsoft’s aggressiveness will backfire.