Microsoft invested in Cyanogen
Microsoft invested in Cyanogen, the startup that tries to weaken the influence of Google on Android by developing a version of the operating system are not part of the search giant. Microsoft will be a minority investor with a stake worth about 70 million dollars. Microsoft and Cyanogen declined to comment on the subject.
This investment by Microsoft may seem strange at first glance, because the goal of the company should be developing its own Windows Phone operating system, which currently only has about 3% of the market. Such a step, however, although unusual, has its own logic.
Android was conceived as an open-source operating system with open source which can be used for free by equipment manufacturers. Recent years, however, Google has obliged manufacturers to equip their devices branded Google apps and use Google Search as search engine by default. Failure to comply with the requirement means that the device loses access to millions of apps in the Play Store and other services from Google.
This restriction makes the situation more complex for application developers that compete with those from Google. For Microsoft, this means a smaller part of Bing throughout the chain (as a direct competitor to Google Search).
Cyanogen offers an alternate version of Android, but without the limitations. Startup consists of 80 people, claiming that behind them stands an army of volunteers (9000 programmers), developing their version of Android.
«We will take Android from Google», said Kirti McMaster, Executive Director Cyanogen in a short interview last week. The next day he said that the company has raised $100 million Earlier they had funding of only $ 30 million.
McMaster said more than 50 million people use their version of the operating system, many of whom have installed it in place of the original version of the software.
To spread its own version of Android Cyanogen is working on agreements with equipment manufacturers that install CyanogenMod to devices in their factories. The most recent example is the contract with the Indian manufacturer Micromax.
Thus, another mobile ecosystem, if Cyanogen can call it that, could help Microsoft more effectively distribute their services and applications on the mobile arena.
Alternative versions of Android are nothing new. For example, many smartphones made in China. There are services from Google or otherwise prohibited, and Android smartphones for Chinese users equipped with alternative search engines, app stores, etc. Amazon has also created its own version of Android without Google services. In practice, the share of variations free from the presence of Google accounts for about 37% of all Android devices on the market (according to Strategy Analytics).