Microsoft invests in Cyanogen

Microsoft invests in Cyanogen
Bad-boy Android shop Cyanogen is reportedly getting an investment infusion from Microsoft to the tune of $70 million. In exchange, Microsoft would rank only as a minority investor in Cyanogen which apparently has a valuation in the “high hundreds of millions” of dollars.

While Android is an open source operating system, Google has been exercising more control over how manufacturers can leverage the platform and still be allowed to have access to Google’s services, like search, YouTube, and the Play Store.

It is that which has prompted Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster to offer up a bigger than life vision of a future Android platform that exists without Google, and apparently the company of 80 people has rallied as many as 9,000 software developers to participate in the creation of “Android-sans-Google.”

While it may seem like a conflict for Microsoft to write a big check when it has its own mobile platform to worry about, many analysts see Cyanogen as having a better chance at making itself a more relevant third ecosystem than Windows Phone. Also, Microsoft has successfully built its services to work across most platforms, so this give Redmond an “in” for enabling features like Bing in another mobile space.

McMaster says that more than 50 million people are using a build of Cyanogen version of Android. Including developing markets, analysts estimate that as much as 37% of Android shipments involve some type of “independent version” of the operating system. Cyanogen also expects to announce more deals with manufacturers like Micromax in India.

source: The Wall Street Journal

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