Microsoft revealed it sold about 1,500 patents to Chinese mobile device maker Xiaomi for an undisclosed sum. The software maker claims this is the start of a long-term partnership, the deal also involves a patent cross-licensing agreement and a commitment by Xiaomi to preinstall certain apps, like Office and Skype, on its phones and tablets.
Analysts predict the move will help Xiaomi to expand its horizon beyond China as these efforts were hindered by weak patent protection:
Analysts said Xiaomi's ambitions to be a major player outside China were hampered by weak patent protection and a fear of a prolonged legal battle.
"This deal might just give them enough of a patent trove to move to Western markets," said Sameer Singh, a UK-based analyst. "Their position in China has been under constant attack from even lower-end Android vendors, so moving overseas is now a necessity."