Well, now. Microsoft revealed today that it, too, will offer the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ for preorder from its retail stores. And its versions of these handsets will be customized with Microsoft app preloads.
“A Microsoft customization is applied to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Microsoft Edition when the devices are unboxed and connected to Wi-Fi,” a Microsoft representative told me this morning. “This customization ensures customers a best-in-class productivity experience with Microsoft applications such as Office, OneDrive, Cortana, Outlook and more.”
If you’re interested in such a thing, you can pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ from any Microsoft retail location in the US only. The devices will become available on April 21, as is the case elsewhere in the US.
Based on Microsoft’s brief description to me, I believe that the phones they are selling are no different from the handsets you’d purchase anywhere else. But that connecting to the Microsoft Store Wi-Fi first thing will trigger the app downloads. If you just brought it home, I bet you couldn’t get them automatically.
Update: Microsoft has provided the following statement.
Customers who acquire Samsung S8 devices at Microsoft Stores will be provided a customized Microsoft image, after purchase, that provides Microsoft’s best-in-class productivity experience applications such as Office, OneDrive, Cortana, Outlook and more. The image does not come pre-loaded on the device. Microsoft Store associates will set up each device in the store to ensure every customer is ready to work, play and connect on their device when they leave.
As you may know, Microsoft has app preload deals in place with various Android devices makers. The deal with Samsung dates back to March 2015, after the firms had settled a contract dispute. But this is a bigger preload than with previous devices.