The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is preparing to make an investment in Cyanogen, valuing the company in the “high hundred millions.” It may sound crazy to think that the company behind Windows would want to pour money into a competing Android-based operating system, but it starts to make sense when you consider what Cyanogen really represents.
Cyanogen isn’t just another Android-based operating system. In a recent interview, the company’s CEO Kirt McMaster laid out plans to wrestle control of Android away from Google by offering a totally open version of the software.
“Today, Cyanogen has some dependence on Google,” he said. “Tomorrow, it will not. We will not be based on some derivative of Google in three to five years.”
The key here is in seeing the difference between Google, which provides services and apps like Search, Maps, Gmail and the Play Store from Android, which was originally designed to be an open operating system. If Microsoft supports Cyanogen it can help ensure a future where Google isn’t quite as powerful, even if Android continues to dominate the market.