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.

cyanogen logo_02

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



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16 replies on “Report: Microsoft will invest in Cyanogen”

  1. “that’s more open to customization — not only by users, but also by wireless carriers and device makers” This is the kiss of death. Just what every user wants, an OS that is controlled by the carriers. I cannot even imagine how horrible it would be and how much crapware they would force down users throats. Microsoft should reconsider.

  2. wow talk about an obvious move against google. Come on google, start supporting chromeos for more of these cheapo quad core atom mini computers!

    1. Google needs to get Chrome OS and Android merged ASAP, and get it working on everything from your phone to your desktop and TV.

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys came up with free
    end user software that would convert Android devices (both
    ARM and Intel based) into Windows RT and
    Windows 8.x/10 devices respectively. And
    Chromebooks into Windows netbooks as well.

    After all, the respective hardware specs are identical,
    it’s just the device manufacturer’s choice as
    to which OS to load.

    1. That’s not going to happen, and it’s not what the money is for anyway. MS is pushing to get Windows on as many new devices as possible. They’re not going to start messing with stuff that likely voids the warranty of existing devices.

      1. MS is good about one thing. When they make up their mind to do something they go for it. And this strategy is exactly that. Get a foothold wherever possible and aggressively try to chase everyone else away.

        Google can easily fight back if they want to, and they really really should…the best way is push back in the emerging low end making it impossible to monetize the OS itself.

        1. Google doesn’t monetize the OS… They make more money off iOS than they do Android!

          It’s about device and market control… Google uses proprietary apps and services to keep control over the Android market and force OEMs to follow what they want…

          Weakening this control means OEMs would be more free to do what they wanted with their products and give MS a better chance in the market…

          For example, right now OEMs can’t make dual boot devices that run both Android and Windows because of the conflict of interest between Google and MS… but a version of Android not under Google’s control would eliminate that conflict and dual booting devices would benefit MS…

          Never mind getting OEMs to opt for MS services instead of Googles, as that’s where the real money resides… they’ll make far more money from devices defaulting to using Bing search than just running one of their OS versions…

          Ever since MS started developing cloud services and moving into the mobile market they’ve shifted away from their traditional business model and more towards the same model Google uses…

          Offering Windows for free on mobile devices and discounted on larger devices is just one sign of this changing business model…

          So it’s about the services and alternate revenue sources now…

  4. They are such sellouts, exclusivity deals (Micromax in India) and now getting payed to drop Google services (that’s what is happening).

  5. I believe the appropriate term to use here is “divide and conquer.”

    Canny move by Microsoft at a time when they are heavily touting the unification of their Windows platform across mobile and desktop. I guess Cyanogen couldn’t refuse such a handsome gift — not that I blame them, in their position.

  6. I dislike the abandonment of Google services (hopefully the indie devs will keep fresh GApps packages ready to install), but I am not entirely disappointed, because I’m invested in more than one ecosystem. I have a Hotmail account, and I could probably live with Bing Maps (plus they might have Nokia’s HERE Maps as well). I do think that it will be interesting to have Cortana integrated deeply with the Android OS.
    Unfortunately, this is just MS hedging their bets in the event that Windows 10 fails.

    1. This is nothing to do with MS hedging it’s bets. It’s all-in with their Windows-everywhere strategy. Cyanogen doesn’t buy them anything if that fails.

      1. It gives them a way to make money off their services. It just seems like a precautionary move because it gives a Google-disillusioned Cyanogen a verified portal for their services

  7. this could work the other way too maybe ms could use any code that cyanogen develops to run android apps natively on windows tablets

    1. Yes, at the very least it could be they are finding a way around the no conflict marketing rule that prevents any OEMs from offering a dual boot device that would run both Android and Windows…

      Since a separate branch of Android without any ties to Google would eliminate that conflict of interests…

      Mind, Google’s apps and services are proprietary and is how they maintain control over the Android market… which is why there are many companies looking for ways to get around them…

      Amazon is the first to successfully create their own ecosystem, while Samsung continues to work on Tizen, and others work on Ubuntu Touch, etc.

      While we’ll see how this new effort goes…

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