Microsoft is now selling the Samsung Galaxy S8 in its Microsoft Store locations in the United States.
Dubbed the Microsoft Edition, and available on both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, this new exclusive flagship smartphone comes pre-loaded with a number of Microsoft applications.
Granted, Samsung has bundled a handful of key Microsoft applications (like Skype, OneDrive, OneNote and more) on its Galaxy handsets for some time now.
However the Microsoft Edition takes things a little further.
The special variations of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ include a number of exclusive features, like Cortana.
Quite why Samsung would want to include Microsoft’s own virtual assistant on the Galaxy S8 – a phone designed to showcase its own smart assistant efforts, dubbed Bixby – is a little baffling.
Out of the box, you won’t notice anything different about the Microsoft Edition smartphone.
But when the Microsoft Edition handset first connects to a Wi-Fi connection, a slew of custom software will be downloaded and installed onto the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+.
While the standard US retail version of the Galaxy S8 range includes Office apps, those bought from the Microsoft Store will install Cortana, Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, One Note, Bing, Groove, Skype, MSN News and more.
A spokesperson for Microsoft explained to technology blog Engadget, “Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ Microsoft Edition arranges those productivity applications on the home screen and provides additional accessibility to other Microsoft owned applications such as LinkedIn, Wunderlist and more.”
Microsoft is currently accepting pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft Edition and Samsung Galaxy S8+ Microsoft Edition in its retail stores in the US.
The smartphones will ship on April 21st.
Microsoft does not reveal exactly how many Windows 10 Mobile devices it ships each year.
However, during its latest earnings call, it noted that the revenue group entitled “More Personal Computing” had dropped some five per cent year over year due to “lower phone revenue”.
Windows Phone has seen a steady decline in users over the last year.
The operating system dropped from a 1.2 per cent market share at the end of 2015, to a new low of 0.3 per cent by the end of Microsoft’s third financial quarter in 2016.
Windows Phone will have to attract more users in order to entice developers to develop for the platform.
Meanwhile, the Redmond technology firm is increasingly moving focus to rival platforms.
It released an enormously-successful, touch-optimised version of Microsoft Office on iOS ahead of its own smartphone platform, and has also retooled the record-breaking keyboard from Windows Phone for the Apple App Store, too.
Whether Microsoft can begin to turn around its dwindling market share with the long-rumoured Surface Phone remains to be seen.