The makers of the custom version of Android that runs on smartphones including the OnePlus One and Micromax Yu have said their plans for the future include software that’s free from reliance on Google.
Now it looks like the folks at Cyanogen Inc may have a new partner in making that happen: The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft will invest in the company as part of a $70 million financing round.
Update: In March Bloomberg reported that Cyanogen is raising over $100 million, but Microsoft will not be one of the investors.
The deal hasn’t been officially announced yet, but according to the WSJ’s sources, the plan would be fore Microsoft to buy a minority stake in the company which would then be valued in the “high hundreds of millions” of dollars. It’s possible that other investors could also buy a stake in the company.
Microsoft has its own mobile operating system, but the investment makes sense when you consider that both Cyanogen and Microsoft hope to reduce Google’s dominance of the smartphone OS space.
Cyanogen OS is based on the source code Google releases for Android, and phones that ship with Cyanogen OS currently come with Google certification which allows them to run the Google Play Store and other Google apps and services including Maps, YouTube, and Gmail.
The developers at Cyanogen plan to launch a rival app store in the next year or two, and offer Android-based software that’s more open to customization — not only by users, but also by wireless carriers and device makers.
It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between Cyanogen OS and CyanogenMod. The latter is an open source, community-developed operating system, while Cyanogen OS is a commercial version of the operating system maintained by a company founded by some of the lead developers of CyanogenMod.
It’s the company that Microsoft is investing in, not the community-based project.
via Ars Technica