Microsoft cramming free stuff into Galaxy S6es? Not so fast – US telcos

Apps scrubbed from AT&T, Verizon mobes, because choice

Microsoft has been working with smartphone makers to get its mobile apps onto more customers' phones, but as long as carriers have a say in it, Redmond might not be able to obtain the broad reach it's hoping for.

Samsung announced in March that its new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge flagship phones would ship with Microsoft's OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype apps preinstalled. But it seems that won't be true of every version of the devices sold in the US.

Neowin was first to notice that Galaxy S6 handsets sold by US carrier AT&T are missing the OneDrive cloudy storage app. And versions of the phone sold by Verizon don't come with any of Microsoft's apps preloaded.

Verizon and AT&T are the two largest US mobile carriers, with an estimated combined market share of as much as 70 per cent. That means no matter what Microsoft and Samsung agreed to, carriers may end up scrubbing Microsoft's software from more than half of all of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge sold in the US.

AT&T has yet to respond to our request for comment, but Verizon said the decision to ship phones without Microsoft's apps was all about customer choice.

"I can confirm that the Microsoft apps are not preloaded," a Verizon spokesperson told El Reg via email, "but customers are free to download them from the Google Play Store at any point they would like. That way they can pick and choose which of those apps they want to install and use and can remove them when they want as well. We aren't blocking or disabling their usage."

Mind you, there could be other reasons, too. Verizon offers its own cloud sync and backup service that competes with OneDrive, for example, as does AT&T.

Customers who want to install Microsoft's mobile goodies on phones that don't come with them have a couple of options. In addition to preinstalling Redmond's apps on some of its handsets, Samsung is bundling the OneDrive, OneNote, and Office 365 apps with its Knox Workspace mobile data security software. The apps are also available as standalone downloads from the Google Play store.

It's not known whether Samsung plans to bundle Redmond's software on additional devices for the US market, or whether any other handset makers have inked similar deals. ®

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