vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

Microsoft reportedly to invest in CyanogenMod Android team

by Mark Tyson on 30 January 2015, 11:50

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacoi2

Add to My Vault: x

We've recently seen some big moves on Android by Microsoft. It released its 'crown jewels' Office apps for Android tablets and launched a new Outlook app on Android and iOS earlier this week. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is investing cash, possibly millions, to back the CyanogenMod Android team.

Google supplies its Android OS to device makers for free as long as they feature the Google app suite and set Google Search as the default search provider. Often that's good for people, as many users prefer Google web services such as its Search, the Chrome browser, the popular YouTube video app and access to the Play Store app. However makers of rivals to those key services like Microsoft, Yahoo and Mozilla, to name a few, don't like how their apps/services are sidelined.

Cyanogen are makers of the CyanogenMod ROMs that offer an "enhanced open source firmware distribution" of Android for many popular smartphones. As well as the promise of enhancements and better performance Cyanogen Mod promises that it doesn't package any spyware or bloatware. It is developed as free and open source software based on the official releases of Android by Google.

Another benefit CyanogenMod users might find is that their device gets more timely and newer updates – many who have found that their smartphone has been practically abandoned by the original maker, as far as any updates are concerned, can get an updated more modern Android OS via Cyanogen. The WSJ reports that Cyanogen has 80 full time staff and "a volunteer army of 9,000 software developers working on its own version of Android". There are said to be 50 million users of Cyanogen Android.

Cyanogen wants to grow faster and to do so it intends to invest in deals with hardware partners. That helps people get this version of Android straight away, with no need for any worrying technical twiddling with their often expensive smartphones.

The firm is confident of success; "We're going to take Android away from Google," asserted Kirt McMaster, Cyanogen's chief executive last week. Microsoft must feel that the firm has some chance as it is reportedly a 'minority investor' in a recent $70 million financing round.

We might have already seen Google flinch following Microsoft's recent Outlook on Android launch. Google has been rationing 'invites' for its revamped mail client called 'Inbox' but yesterday offered unlimited invites for 24 hours (6 hours left). The offer coincided with Microsoft's Outlook on Android and iOS launch. Microsoft's bought-in app (was previously Accompli) has already been described as one of the best mobile email apps available.



HEXUS Forums :: 18 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Dual-boot Surfaces? An end to Windows Mobile?

Wondering what else Microsoft hope to get for their $70m….
shaithis
Wondering what else Microsoft hope to get for their $70m….

A bigger market share for Bing (maybe even Cortana) on Android and the resultant advertising revenue?
Brian224
A bigger market share for Bing (maybe even Cortana) on Android and the resultant advertising revenue?

I would be surprised if that amounted to much of a return given:

Hexus
Google supplies its Android OS to device makers for free as long as they feature the Google app suite and set Google Search as the default search provider

Given this fact, I wonder what the deal is with Amazon seeing as they go to lengths to block the Play Store.
shaithis
Dual-boot Surfaces? An end to Windows Mobile? Wondering what else Microsoft hope to get for their $70m….
Personally I think there's little chance of Microsoft allowing Android dual-boot on their hardware, and ZERO chance of them dropping Windows Phone in favour of Android.

I'm pretty sure that this is a partly-cynical move by Microsoft to support an Android competitor. However, I think that Cyanogen being able to do a successful OS sans Google is pretty remote - all the folks that I know running Cyanogen put on GApps as the first step. And a mobile OS with an alternative app store is not appealing - after all if someone as large as Amazon can't make it work successfully then some two-bit operation like Cyanogen isn't going to be able to either.
Biscuit
Given this fact, I wonder what the deal is with Amazon seeing as they go to lengths to block the Play Store.
My understanding was that Amazon just got a copy of the publically-available Android sources and used that as the basis of that “FireOS” of theirs. Still think it was a pretty moronic idea and they would have been a lot better to have got “proper” Android and tried to do a good reciprocal deal with Google.
shaithis
Wondering what else Microsoft hope to get for their $70m….

The investment round is $70M, Microsoft are just one investor and it looks like they aren't saying how big a slice they have taken.