Acer is joining the list of hardware makers which are installing Microsoft productivity apps and services on its Android smartphones and tablets.
Microsoft announced the addition of Acer to its growing list of worldwide and regional OEMs that are preloading Microsoft apps and services like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype. Acer will be providing the Microsoft preloaded apps "soon" according to a February 10 Microsoft blog announcing the deal.
As of last May, there were 31 OEMs agreeing to preload Microsoft apps and services on their Android tablets and phones. Some of the other bigger names on the list include Samsung, Dell and Pegatron. As of today, there are now 74 hardware partners in 25 countries on the list. (I've asked Microsoft for an updated roster of those Android device makers who are part of the group.)
Though Microsoft officials don't explicitly say that these preinstallation deals are tied to the company's ongoing patent campaign via which Microsoft has stepped up its collection of patent royalties from Android device makers, today's blog post does mention that "IP alignment is an important feature" of these agreements.
Last October, Microsoft's deal with ASUS combined Office app licensing with an Android patent deal.