Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) isn't the only company that stands to gain from the Galaxy S6.
Obviously, search giant Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) would benefit from strong demand, given Samsung's use of its Android operating system, but Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) could also gain from Samsung's latest flagship.
OneDrive, OneNote, and Office
Samsung has agreed to preload several of Microsoft's Android apps on its upcoming Galaxy S6, according to the Samsung-focused blog SamMobile. The deal remains unconfirmed, but SamMobile has a fairly reliable track record, and such an agreement would not be out of the ordinary for Samsung.
Its Galaxy handsets have often come preloaded with a variety of apps. The Galaxy S5, for example, ships with Dropbox, Evernote, and the Amazon app store, in addition to several others. While the inclusion of so many third party apps has often been cited as a reason to avoid Samsung's smartphones, the Korean tech giant has used it as a marketing tool, arguing that its user's get hundreds of dollars worth of freebies from its deals with third party developers (for example, buyers of the Galaxy S5 get two free years of 50GB Dropbox storage -- a $100 value).
But Microsoft's apps have never been preloaded on Samsung's phones. That could be about to change.
SamMobile reports that the Galaxy S6 will ship with OneNote, OneDrive, and Microsoft's Office productivity suite. All of these apps are freely available to download right now from the Google Play app store, but preloading them could help drive greater usage.
Competing with Google
Notably, all of these apps compete directly with offerings from Google -- OneNote with Google Keep, OneDrive with Google Drive, Office with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. That could put pressure on Google, as it gives away the Android operating system in an attempt to drive further use of its apps and services.
That's nothing new for Samsung -- Dropbox has been one of Google Drive's fiercest competitors, Amazon's app store competes directly with Google Play, and Evernote is a strong alternative to Google Keep. But Microsoft's apps may represent a unique threat, as they offer a compelling, cohesive alternative online ecosystem.
Evernote and Dropbox, for example, do not directly integrate in the same way as Google Drive and Google Docs -- but OneNote and OneDrive do. Documents created in Microsoft Word are easily saved to OneDrive, making the use of one app drive adoption of the other.
A new way to win in mobile
Microsoft's attempts at breaking into mobile computing have largely been a failure. Windows Phone has struggled to gain widespread adoption, and its global market share hovers in the low single digits. Although Microsoft isn't giving up on Windows Phone, it could ultimately gain more from encouraging the use of its apps on other platforms. Given that the Galaxy S6 is likely to be one of the most popular handsets of 2015, a deal with Samsung could help quite a bit in this regard.
To be fair, it's not going to fundamentally change Microsoft's business, but shareholders should keep an eye on Samsung's next flagship. If it does feature Microsoft apps, Microsoft investors should hope for a strong reception.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned but has many Microsoft apps loaded on his Galaxy Note 3. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.