Microsoft will ‘invest in Cyanogen’ to help lessen Google’s Android dominance

SHAFAQNA –  MICROSOFT REPORTEDLY plans to throw $70m at Android ROM maker Cyanogen in a bid to help the firm take the software further away from Google.

Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster said last week that the company’s goal is to “take Android away from Google”, and it looks like Microsoft could be planning to help.

A report at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said that Microsoft plans to offer $70m for the so-called start-up, which would make it a minority investor in a round of funding that puts Cyanogen’s value in the high hundreds of millions.

It’s unclear exactly why Microsoft is giving money to what is essentially one of its competitors, but Bloomberg reports that the two companies are in negotiations to create a version of Cyanogen’s image that is more Microsoft-friendly.

An investment from Microsoft could also help Cyanogen loosen its ties with Google. It’s no secret that Cyanogen wants to replace the Google Play ecosystem with apps of its own, in the same way that Amazon uses the Android Open Source Project for its Kindle Fire products, adding its own app and content stores.

With Microsoft onboard, Cyanogen could switch out Google’s apps for alternatives offered by the Redmond firm, such as Bing Maps and Outlook Mail, lessening Google’s dominance.

Such a move by Microsoft sounds surprising, but it would kind of make sense. Under CEO Satya Nadella’s leadership, the company has become much more open to integrating rival operating systems, recently proving this with the cross-platform fitness tracker Microsoft Band.

The firm has also shown a deeper commitment to open source in recent months, including open sourcing the .NET development platform.

The WSJ reports that Cyanogen also recently inked a deal with Indian smartphone manufacturer Micromax to ship handsets pre-installed with the mobile operating system, a move which comes after the OnePlus One handset shipped running the custom software last year. µ

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