Xiaomi recently inked a Microsoft deal that puts Microsoft Office and Skype on Xiaomi smartphones and tablets. Pre-installed apps are one thing, the larger part of the Microsoft deal are the patents involved in the contract. This particular Microsoft deal will transfer 1,500 patents to the Chinese smartphone maker as well as allow Xiaomi to share 1,000 other Microsoft patents. Xiaomi has been known in the overseas market for making some spectacular hardware but due to some patent issues, they haven’t been able to break into the U.S. market.
With this Microsoft deal and the patents in it, the company is likely targeting a move into the U.S. soon. Former Google VP Hugo Barra left Google to join Xiaomi in 2013 and it was speculated that his role was to prepare the company for a U.S. market bid. Three years later Barra, now VP at Xiaomi, looks to be launching the ships and preparing for landing on U.S. shores. Xiaomi is already facing patent issues in other countries and it will be interesting to see what awaits them once they hit the U.S.
But Xiaomi will face an uphill battle in the U.S. where the smartphone market is saturated. Coming in as an unknown manufacturer is a heavy handicap and it’s uncertain what Xiaomi’s business model will be in the U.S. Most smartphones are purchased through carriers in the U.S. which will dig into Xiaomi profits and many carriers won’t touch “offbrand” phones making it even more difficult for Xiaomi to get into carrier stores.
Xiaomi could continue its direct to consumer sales much like One Plus is doing but the marketing team will have to be creative to get the word out to Joe consumer. If Xiaomi is pushing into the U.S. market, we’re excited to see them make the run at it. What do you think of the Microsoft deal? Do you think Xiaomi has a chance in the U.S. market against players like Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.Source: Forbes