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Remember that Galaxy S8 'Microsoft Edition?' Samsung says it never existed …

Shortly after the "news" broke about Microsoft selling a GS8, I did some digging to get to the bottom of exactly what the phone was all about. I reached out to Microsoft at the time, and wrote up all the answers to my questions in FAQ type post.

To sum that story up, the phones, the GS8 and GS8+, weren't any different hardware- or software-wise; Microsoft was just selling them and then providing some sort of "training" to help users get the most of the Microsoft apps that were available. In other words, it was basically a PR stunt to draw people into Microsoft Stores to buy a hot new phone, and then raise awareness of the Microsoft app ecosystem. Makes sense … sort of.

The real news there, as I pointed out at the time, was that Microsoft was selling an Android phone for the first time, while Windows phones were nowhere to be seen in those stores.

Fast forward to today, more than half a year later, and I received a message from Samsung asking me to "correct" my stories on the phone. From that company:

Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note8 devices are available in the Microsoft online and retail stores with a unique Microsoft experience which ensures their customers, particularly small-to-midsize business owners and entrepreneurs, a best-in-class productivity experience. There is not a 'Microsoft Edition' brand of any Samsung Galaxy products.

So there you have it. That GS8 Microsoft Edition apparently was never a thing. It just took Samsung a while to let us know. I can't help but wonder how many other sites that covered this mysterious phone also got messages from Samsung today.

Al Sacco is content director of Future PLC's Mobile Technology Vertical, which includes AndroidCentral.com, iMore.com and WindowsCentral.com. He is a veteran reporter, writer, reviewer and editor who has professionally covered and evaluated IT and mobile technology, and countless associated gadgets and accessories, for more than a decade. You can keep up with Al on Twitter and Instagram.

92 Comments
  • I figured as much. If there was one, I feel like it would have been released by now.
  • Microsoft is like a captain-less ship.
  • Neither Microsoft nor Samsung never said there was a "Microsoft Edition" *BRAND* though. They said, quite simply that there was a GS8 Microsoft version being deployed preloaded with Microsoft Apps, and that Microsoft was giving people training in how to use those apps instore. This does warrant a denotation of 'Microsoft Edition/Version etc' because there is a difference between the GS8 outside MS stores and in MS stores, even if only in preloaded software. I'm willing to bet that Samsung still has to preload the apps themselves and provide Microsoft with a seperate Android image, as well as a seperate OTA update stream, else you would lose those Microsoft apps and be reverted to a 'non Microsoft Store experience' should you decide to factory reset. In essence, they did everything to create a specialized Microsoft Product without going back to the factory and retooling the actual hardware, but then MS obviously didn't pay them enough to buy the right to call thier version a seperate version. Thus the "Microsoft GS8" doesn't exist because if it did, Microsoft could promote it on Samsung brand steam.... but does exist in reality because there are GS8s in the wild with Microsoft-made custom ROMs and apps.
  • This is what happens when you turn your back on your own mobile platform. Your future depends upon the whims of OEMs.  Microsoft better get used to it...
  • To be clear, relying on OEMs for consumer HW has been MS's core business model for 30-40 years now.
  • That core business model is no longer their most profitable, productivity is hence the short term grab of competitor's user base. I understand that and I have nothing against that. The issue I have is Microsoft is kicking their own platform beyond curbside.
  • I'm not sure I understand your claim that productivity "the short term grab of competitor's user base"? I mean Microsoft is a software company for the most part and so people using their software is most if not a large part of their business. Secondly, I don't understand why productivity would be a "short term grab"? People using a company's services are very important to companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple. The difference is Microsoft is trying to be cross-platform right now.
  • @real0395. That is because in the long term it is not sustainable, there are so many aspects beyond software use. Many of these occur behind the scenes and not clearly evident. However there are clear markers in terms of analytics, mindshare, product visibility, contract licenses for hardware and so on. For any business, you have three stages - Short term, Long term and the transitional stage where you turn Short term growth into long term growth. Having a diverse portfolio is a long term goal and by doing so you can offset losses in the future or interim period. Now specifically for Microsoft, they are focusing on ios and android - understandably so but by doing so they are not giving anyone a compelling reason to switch to their own ecosystem. Which also means the will be a marked decrease of store click throughs, in turn less apps developed for Microsoft's platform. Therefore slower growth rate of the user base, meaning reduction in monetisation for developers when it comes to in-app purchases and ad revenue from unique views. Combined with less resourcese given to Microsoft's own UWA platform means Developers are less confident in the Microsoft and it's harder for any one to make a compelling argument to senior management for expenditure of resources on UWP. Since UWP targets pretty much everything but Microsoft is just letting that flounder. On the otherside, by entrenching users into ios and android means they have made them rooted in that ecosystem, combined with BYOD. Companies and business will have no choice but to offer ios and android devices, this also keeps moral high. How would you feel if you had to carry a work smartphone but it hardly had any apps you could use on your commute, it would feel like a chore to carry, charge every day and some cases you would have to pay for your own usage. This also enables Apple and Google a firmer foothold in the enterprise sector and as such offers a better prospect of direct infrastructure integration. This is why companies went for windows phones because it worked well with their infrastructure, but they cancelled these contracts and went with ios and android. High staff moral is paramount to productivity and if the device does not live to expectations of interoperability then they will go for something else that does. By getting a firmer foothold through the door, Google can leverage solutions like Knox and getting Samsung into the picture. Now you have a cascading effect, that combined with various other factors could end up in scenario where Microsoft ends up like IBM or Blackberry if they are not to careful. I am of course heavily simplifying everything - because if I went into complete detail it would end up as a million page book.
  • HOW so....they are making money hand over fist....
  • WOO HOO TRUTH DOWNVOTES...keep em coming fanbabies!
  • You should realize the downvotes are because of the complete irrelevance of your comment.
  • @ fraggindude...You are an Idiot.  READ TECHFREAKS COMMENTS....jesus fanboys!
  • Well these OEM's who built their brands on the use of Windows for 30 years, now their bashing. The table has turned.... Microsoft is a reseller of Samsung products... stupid Satya bring made to look like an @$$.
  • @OMG55, Microsoft has been a reseller of Samsung products since Microsoft started selling things pretty much. Do you think they don't sell any Samsung PCs?
  • You mean OEMs making HW running MS's OS and not like this...
  • Smart move again.  If your own phone system is a failure..and NOT SELLING.   Put something in your store that WILL SELL.  Again,  rule one of business.  MAXIMUM PROFIT!
  • If their phones were not selling it was Microsoft's own fault.  First of marketing department not marketing it and then of Nadella pulling the plug because it was not selling... Marketing department should be fired at Microsoft... even the pizzeria down the street from where I live has better marketing than Microsoft...
  • It was never meant to be a "Microsoft Edition". The phones sold from Microsoft were set to have Microsoft apps downloaded after being connected to WiFi the first time.
  • The demo units at MS SF store were connected to Wi-Fi but didn't have MS apps installed!
  • I used to work at a store in my area. When we first got the units you are right, after a while the launcher was updated.
  • I went to the same store a month and two months later and still no MS apps on the demos !
  • Okay, you win!
  • Netmann, how long ago was that? Also, yelling and using exclamation points doesn't make you right.
  • But in the very statement where they say it is not a Microsoft edition, they say that after describing a Microsoft edition of their phone in detail? Samsung are very confused.
  • They are just saying that it isn't sanctioned by them and the software and branding is unchanged in their eyes.
  • I think they're saying that they sanctioned Microsoft to sell the experience, but the phone is still the same phone as anywhere else. it's not a different "brand." They're the exact same box anywhere else. The experience surrounding it is "unique" though. So, I think Microsoft tried branding the phone as "Microsoft Edition" but in reality, they were only allowed to brand the experience and not the phone.
  • The Wall Street micro-managed Microsoft is the worst Microsoft.
  • Because of this false ad, I ended up paying full price for my S8, instead of taking advantage of the good offers Best Buy offered at the time--hundreds off, Samsung gift card, etc. Yeah...I expected Microsoft hardware on the S8. I went down to the Microsoft store and promptly left for Best Buy to get the phone.
  • So you refused the phone at the MS Store, went to Best Buy and bought the phone at full price? At least, that's what you're describing...
  • Yeah, I'm confused too.
  • How could you expect MS hardware on hardware made by samsung...you are stupid to think that.
  • You contradict yourself. You didn't lose anything. You went to the MS store, realized you misunderstood, and went to Best Buy and most likely got the deal.
  • I bought my "Microsoft Edition" S8+ from the Microsoft Store back in August when Samsung was running their $250 off sales.  Microsoft's price on the unlocked model was the same as I could find anywhere else, so I bought it there. Also, Microsoft Launcher (nee Arrow Launcher) is great!
  • I would love to get a S8 with W10. 😎
  • would suck just as much as the 950 xl.  
  • What was so bad about the 950XL? The worst complaint I've seen is it does feel premium, but now Pixel 2 is coated in plastic and no one cares.
  • NOTHING besides it's runing windows 10 mobile at this point.  mine still works fine but the complete lack of apps makes it a very expensive 3d scanner for my custom motorsports shop....
  • Steve, How do you use your 950XL as a 3D scanner?
  • I use the camera working with 3d builder.  Taking pictures of the thing I want to re create,  and then modify it in 3d builder to make what I need....
  • I love the fanbabies here...downvoting everything I type...truly special idiots they are!
  • Uh, the pixel 2 is glass and aluminium.
  • I think he is arguing that plastic and painted metal is the same thing.
  • It's a simple paint job over aluminum nothing like baked enamel...
  • 950 xl was a wonderful phone.  Still has a better camera than today's phones.  Only negative was the snapdragon chip and win 10m when it was first released. The phone now is super awesome,  just has a terrible app store. 
  • Yes,  a wonderful phone made terrible by windows 10 mobile 
  • WP 8.1 was better than W10M, but W10M is a better OS than Android and iOS.  I'm not app crazy so I can live with the limited apps in W10M.  I've got Facebook, Messenger and Twitter... that's all I use besides the built-in ones.
  • Here in is the reason w10m failed.  You are one of only 50 people who think the app gap is not a thing.   
  • A terrible app store and a still mediocre OS made by some morons
  • Waiting for Porshe Carrera MSFT Edition. It has aka Microsoft logo stamp beneeth rear bumper after you drive with your new car in front of MSFT Store. 🤣
  • Doesn't matter much. I've had my Note 8 for about three weeks. There is entry to like about it.. And, to be honest, there is a lot to like about Android. I downloaded everything that I use MS onto the phone. Cortana is cool, but without the "hey Cortona" feature, it's not as useful. However, the work around is a Cortana icon always on screen. Some may find it annoying, though. The other option is, you can pin the icon to the quick task bar. Edge is cool and I use it as my default browser. I haven't used the Office apps, except for One Note. I like that I can access my secured folder by using the built in fingerprint scanner. I do miss the Live tiles. I still think the tiles are better than the standard icons on Android and iOS. There are apps that allow for a Windows 10 like experience, but when you've used Windows 10 Mobile, you realize it's not the same. I'm getting use to the look and feel of Android and it's not bad, I just prefer the look and feel of Windows 10 Mobile. I do like the Microsoft Launcher, though. The good thing is, Android allows for all kinds of custom themes to satisfy your needs or wants...for the most part. I enjoy it and happy with it.
  • Not having "hey Cortana" on Android is a disaster for Microsoft. The AI platform is arguably more important to the future of computing than the OS itself. The Harman Kardon Invoke runs on Linux, but it doesn't matter because it connects to the Cortana device platform. The user only interacts with Cortana and her compatible devices, so the underlying OS is irrelevant to the user. A voice controlled platform that can't be activated by voice is severely crippled.
  • Nobody use smartphone AI's in the real world... Geeks and professionals to some degree perhaps, but no one on the street would be caught dead issuing verbal commands to their phone; sure way to be labelled as a nutcase... Siri, Google Now or Cortana? Not a factor for 99,99% of users.
  • At home and in my car is where I use voice commands regularly. Using it in public isn't a prerequisite for success. As they get better and you can really speak to them naturally, it may become more common and accepted to use them in public.
  • Using Cortana over Bluetooth was a huge deal for me on a daily basis. She is absolutely crippled on Android. I went to a Note 8 as well and the Air situation on Android is pathetic. I have 3 assistants on a thousand dollar phone running the dominant mobile OS in the world, and all 3 combined can't do half of what Cortana did on Windows Phone/Mobile. They can't announce calls, can't announce texts. Each 1 pops up for different things. After the last Bixby update, she no longer recognizes contacts. OK Google has to be on the screen for it to work. Cortana can't tell the difference between cell or regular contact numbers for the same contacts she had no issue with on WP. Hit the Bluetooth button and Bixby pops up half the time. Nothing works through the car without 1st using your phone to start the action. It's a huge step back and for an OS that is supposed to be do much better than WP, it's embarrassing.
  • Much of your issue is with Samsung and their decisions when designing the S8. They aren't issues with Android. If you want more of a curated, walled-garden, Apple might work better for you.
  • No issue for me, since getting an android phone I have realised that OK Google is infinitely more useful than Cortana.
  • Secure folders! Sounds good. Is it possible to secure the photo gallery etc? A feature I would really love on my WM.
  • Fake News....
    MS learning from CNN!
  • It was not a branded edition, just a Galaxy S8 pre-loaded with Microsoft services (so when you connected to the store they were just there, ready to go) along sides Google's services. I think the underlying confusion is that people thought it was a specific and branded edition.
  • This. Exactly this.
  • I think Samsung didn't want Microsoft name with their phone
  • There is no reason for Microsoft branding to be on a Samsung phone. The only thing the MS store did was install free apps anyone can install.
  • They probably felt like they couldn't use "signature edition" because of the Samsung bloat
  • I wish Samsung had a better relationship with Microsoft. Honestly Samsung seems more competent and competitive than Microsoft's current Windows team. Look at how Samsung is establishing Tizen OS on their smartwatches and building a sizeable Tizen app store. Eventually the smart watch could replace the smartphone for many people. I would have more respect for MS if they built an awesome Android phone and sold it with an LTE-enabled Windows Smartwatch or Windows headset that worked with iOS and Android. Samsung gets this more than MS. They could even enable Windows Continuum on Android phones and Windows wearables like Samsung is doing with Linux on Galaxy phones. There is so much more the Windows team could be doing to remain competitive.
  • Is that WC went overboard calling it a MS edition phone, just like they went propagate the surface unicorn stories.
  • They were just too excited to have a new phone in a MS store to talk about. =P
  • Only under Nutella...
  • Funny 😂
  • I might be too optimistic here. But, my first thought about this article is that maybe Samsung is making a Microsoft mobile device in the near future (since a possible mobile device is coming from Microsoft) and they just wanted to clear up any future confusions. Optimistic I know.
  • I think the best way to experience Android or ios is to go all the way..You can keep a hp elite by the side for MS services..Creating a sort of hybrid Phone is frustrating to say the least.
  • Hardly a surprise since it's an edition, and NOT a brand.
  • They don't want to be associated with Microsoft. It's clear. They are like, we want you to know for sure that we are totally not into Microsoft.
  • Got two S8s coming from the Black Friday discount. So not looking forward to switching away from this 950, but figured it's just time to throw in the towel. We invested heavily in seven WPs for us and the kids...now we're paying dearly to switch away. If MS comes up with a Surface Phone, we certainly WON'T be buying it until it proves itself as a true competitive device, and MS shows willingness to promote it for years to come (Band 2??) They've lost us as faithful customers. I got dropped by several cust srv reps trying to track down my S8s. Even their support level has dropped off the cliff.
  • This totally sounds like something that the Massively Screwed-up dys-Functional Team would do! Crazy is not out of the question with the MSFT! They also pulled the "MSFT Edition" from their stores right after it was announced thereby continuing further cementing their reputation as not getting the consumer. You can't make this stuff up!
  • It's still in stores...
  • It came back into stores.  You couldn't find it in a store or online for at least 2 months.
  • That's so Nutella and his dodgy plays. What a shady character.
  • No care. Switched from 950XL to Note 8 on BF with my Microsoft Complete claim and couldn't be happier. Note 8 is like a breath of air for the first time.
  • Still repping the 920s in your avatar/thumbnail. Your brain says yes but your heart still says no. It's like endulging in the richest chocolate treat. You know its going to the waist line but you could give two ***** less. Windows Phone is like that relationship. You love it so much, but it will hurt in the end if you dont "excerise" your rights to another platform. I am in agreeance with you that Microsoft just doesn't give a **** anymore and they have given up on mobile (from the traditional standpoint). The only hope they really have is if progressive web apps take off in UWP form to fill the app gap on newer hardware that supports Windows on ARM (aka the "surface phone"). For me, the phone UI still holds a special place for me and I just love the simplicity of it. Even if its current doomed state I prefer its UI over Android, so for now I continue to use it despite its eventual doomed fate. I have been on the Windows Mobile platform since 2009 and never once bothered switching full time to Android. I have bought my share of flagship Android phones as a test (Note 5, S7, etc) but I cannot come to terms to "love" Android. I've been living without snapchat since its existence. I could care  less about Pokemon Go. I've never gone on instagram. I don't periscope. I really dont need 99% of Androids ecosystem. Of my day I probably spend 13 hours of it on a traditional desktop PC and 2-3 hours on my phone.  The only issue for me is whether or not the core apps I rely on that are currently installed on WIndows Phone eventually stop working.   For example: Prism Bill Pay (i use this UWP app to pay all my bills) MyTube! (The best YouTube client PERIOD. NO CONTEST. I might have a heart attack  if this stopped working on WP. The developer is amazing and very dedicated to this platform) Facebook/Messenger - This is the only social media platform I use, so I would hope that it would continue to work, but losing FB/Messenger support would be a big blow as I use it everyday to talk to friends/family. SURE i can use the web version, but thats just lame, come on. TuneIn - I use TuneIn often to listen to my radio shows at night. I'm a fan of listening to George Noory (coast to coast AM) at night. Puts me to sleep.   In conclusion, I have stuck with WP because its the only platform I love and it would take hell or high water for me to switch to Android. I've tried it. I really dont like it. I'm really really really really (X infinity) hoping that my apps dont stop working, but my fear is that one day, it will.    
  • I have the "Microsoft edition s8 plus.. it came preinstalled with arrow launch (now microsoft launcher) and the ms apps, as well as some kind of knox security app to help deploy the launcher... so it was kind of a microsoft edition as the software was preloaded.
  • The Knox Secure Folder/Partition is a Samsung thing. They've had it for years.
  • I would not want to be associated to MS either, nobody want to be associated to a company that consumers consider the soon to be extinct dinosaur in most consumer products. I am personally even wondering when they are going to pull the plug on windows, I get the nasty feeling they are not even taking this seriously any longer. MS is really the deer looking in the headlights, completely frozen up and unable to do anything that gives me the confidence that I should invest in their products.
  • The great Satya Nadella is being run over first Amazon, now Samsung! I guess it serves him well after lying to the WP users who trusted in him! He signed so called partnerships with these companies now their publicly bashing or back stabbing Microsoft.
  • These two companies have a very strange relationship
  • How so?  samsung uses Windows on their Windows based PC products.  Microsoft sells Galaxy phones in the Microsoft store...seems pretty straight forward to me.
  • Lol, Oh Microsoft! 'it's ok, yes, we know we are stopping producing an OS for the future but we are partnering with the biggest manufacturer of our competitor OS.' Except they weren't! Hilarious really. When will Microsoft finally stop having a presence in their shrinking OS business and admit that they are a IT back bone and patent company.
  • if you told me 2 years ago that windows phone had a official you tube app, here maps, google maps, slimfit, slimming world app, ebay, ebuyer and amazon official and working well apps, then told me Samsung s8 phone was geing windows mobile os, id have been very interested. I don't need want or can even see why most people would want word or outlook or anyother microsoft app on their phone, Cortana would have been the exeption but it cant work outside of opening the app up in android. As8 with microsoft software sounds like a cheap ploy to me.
    When you don't support your user base or take options like linked inboxes or even a weekly calender view away from your mobile phone users only to returm those functions back 12 moths later then I would take an educated guess and sugest that's the large reasons microsoft mobile is irrelevant, surface tablets sales will suffer and adding restrictive edge that cant open tabs to you choice of home page will ultimately scare away any windows loyalists like me.
    Mircosoft didn't have to do a lot to keep me but they did a lot to get rid of me.
  • oh yeh groove the app they stoped supporting has never been able to read my sd card on a Samsung s7 edge, that's a 2 year old phon e, do you know why people didn't use groove, I know why I didn't, casue I couldn't. I use play now and it sucks, not even close to my enjoyment of groove, shame groove nmever read my sd cards 60gig of music. not all of use want to use onedrive on 4g
  • Bizarre.  Last week after loading Microsoft apps and launcher the Play store app disappeared and nothing I do can get me there for the endless updates.  Probably need to reset the damn phone.
  • A few months ago i was one of those suckers that drove 160 miles out of my to go the Microsoft store to get a microsoft edition s8 note after reading the article. They would not sell over the phone or internet, only in person. I was very disappointed. My Lumina 950 was on its last leg, camera was broken,my contac0ts all were disapparing for days. I came home with the note. Microsoft store employees were no help setting my phone up. I had to do it when i got home. I could have order it delivered to my house, instead of wasting a whole day of driving round trip of 320 miles. That article cost me a lot of time and $ for a fair phone.
  • Not withstanding my previous comments about Microsoft's being wrong about abandoning W10M (& other good stuff), and lying to its fans, I bought the Alcatel Idol 4S today at a Microsoft store. Wow....what a cool phone. Maybe W10M is out of oxygen (for now), but with the Wiley Fox, perhaps a change of mind would be in store for MS. The platform obviously isn't dead. If it was dead, my 735 wouldn't be working. And if enough folks raised enough interest, they should continue W10M, at least until the "ultimate device" is released (if ever). They sell thermostats, but can't sell a phone? The Idol is a steal right now...even if you use it as a very portable tablet, like I will have to do because of no gsm service.  The HP Elite 3 is an awesome phone too. What a shame to cancel their production.  
  • Of course it was NEVER a thing. Only delusional Microshit fanboys liked to think that those phones were "MS edition". PATHETIC for MS as usual!