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Cyanogen has its own plans for Android, starts tapping Google’s competitors

by Jacob Kleinman | February 9, 2015February 9, 2015 2:00 pm PST


Last month we learned that Microsoft was investing in Cyanogen in an effort to help wrestle control of Android away from Google. Now, it looks like another tech giant could be pitching in to give the upstart ROM-maker a boost.

Re/code reports that Cyanogen has been talking to both Amazon and Microsoft, along with a number of other companies, as it looks to raise money in a new round of funding. Sources close to matter add that while Microsoft’s $70 million investment is all-but finalized, Amazon may not be included this time around.

Cyanogen hasn’t been shy about its plans to challenge Google head-on, and Re/code notes that the company is seeking investments from other firms interested in loosening up restrictions around Android. Microsoft still maintains its own modified version of the operating system through Nokia X, while Amazon’s Fire devices are all powered by a forked version of Android as well. Previous reports suggested Samsung and Yahoo were interested in partnering with Cyanogen, though it’s unclear if those talks went anywhere.

The company’s goal, according to CEO Kirt McMaster, is to provide a totally open-source version of Android to compete directly with Google’s own offering. That would mean using an operating system without direct access to any Google Play Services, including Google Maps, Gmail or the Play Store’s vast app collection, though Cyanogen says it plans to introduce its own app store in the next 18 months. The rest of its apps and services could potentially come from partners like Microsoft and Amazon.

We’re still not sure Cyanogen actually poses a significant threat to Google’s dominance, but with support from tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon it might just stand a chance.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...