Microsoft is getting ready for a newer and unexpected battle with Google. This time, Microsoft plans to take on Android by investing in Cyanogen.
Cyanogen is a startup which makes and maintains its own version of Android. Cyanogen is currently being used in the OnePlus One, the flagship killer, a smartphone which has garnered rave reviews last year.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is investing $70 million in Cyanogen which is best known for its customized version of Android. Cyanogen has reportedly raised $100 million to date. This should be noted that Cyanogen recently refused an offer from Google and hopes to live its dream of being an open version of Android alive.
“Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions.”
What could be Microsoft’s intentions?
This is important and unusual because Microsoft is owner of its very own Windows Phone operating system and is gearing up for the upcoming launch of Windows 10 for mobile devices. This move of Microsoft can be attributed to its commitment to embrace open source and maybe some mischief.
Cyanogen claims to have a team of 9,000 volunteer software developers. Cyanogen’s Chief Executive Kirt McMaster told WSJ last week:
“We’re going to take Android away from Google.”
Apart from different versions of Android for the smartphone makers, Google also releases the Android core under an open-source license. This version is free for everybody and anyone can use and modify or fork this core without linking the Google services. The best examples are Amazon’s products which run on forked Android. These independent versions are already very popular in China where Google has struggled to leave its mark.
These types of Android versions, which are not under Google’s control, are a problem for Google because not every forked version promotes and uses Google’s services and hence, Google makes no money. Due to this Microsoft’s investment in Cyanogen, it will be harder for Google to bring all version of Android under its control.
Microsoft and Cyanogen, both have declined to comment. By investing in Cyanogen, Microsoft can get more users and claim a bigger share of the mobile market. Under the new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has shown such commitments to open source in the past.