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Business

China's Xiaomi buys Microsoft tech patents

Microsoft has confirmed it has sold hundreds of tech patents to Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, just weeks after selling its phone business, bought from Nokia in 2014. The deal is viewed as beneficial for both sides.

Upstart Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi bought almost 1,500 tech patents from Microsoft as part of a partnership meant to help the Asian firm expand outside its home market.

AFP news agency reported the patents covered wireless communications, video, cloud and multimedia technologies.

As part of the deal, Xiaomi would preinstall Microsoft Office and Skype on its Android smartphones and tablets, Microsoft said in a statement.

Strategic deal

The US technology giant had earlier announced the sale of its own phone business to HMD Global of Finland and the latter's Taiwanese partner, FIH Mobile of Foxconn.

Analysts said the sale of patents to the Chinese smartphone producer was a well-weighed decision.

"Microsoft is using its intellectual property leverage to lure and lock in vulnerable players such as Xiaomi," Counterpart Research Director Neil Shaw told Bloomberg. "So, it's possibly a win-win for both parties as Xiaomi gets IP-protected and Microsoft grows its roster of partners."

Founded in 2010, the Beijing-based company was the world's fifth-largest smartphone vendor at the end of last year. But despite its efforts in India and Brazil, Xiaomi still depends heavily on the domestic market, which accounts for 90 percent of its overall sales.

hg/nz (AFP, Reuters)

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