In an interesting update, Microsoft is reportedly investing in Cyanogen, a startup that develops CyanogenMod, a custom aftermarket version of Android known for its customizability, security, enhanced performance and additional features.
The development was reported by The Wall Street Journal which cited people familiar with the matter as the source of the information.
According to the report, Cyanogen is raising $70 million via the latest funding round in which Microsoft will be a minority investor. A person aware of the funding told WSJ that "the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest in Cyanogen because they're also eager to diminish Google's control over Android." Names of the other investors are not known yet and both companies did not comment on the rumour when the publication reached out to them.
If the report turns out to be true, Microsoft's move would come as a surprise as the Redmond giant strives to make its own mobile operating system, Windows Phone, more relevant in an Android and iOS controversy. Cyanogen has stated that it intended to take Android away from Google's control on more than one occasion. So this move could be a small step towards weakening Google's mobile armour.
Cyanogen CEO, Kirt McMaster had recently said that the company was attempting to take Android away from Google and make it more open, just like it was meant to be. He even announced that the startup wants to build its own app store to take on Google Play.
"Today, Cyanogen has some dependence on Google. Tomorrow, it will not. We will not be based on some derivative of Google in three to five years," he added.
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Cyanogen has even inked partnerships with device makers like Micromax, Oppo and OnePlus to power their smartphones to take on Google. However, the company also had its share of controversies, the latest being the legal battle between Micromax and OnePlus over the exclusive use of Cyanogen's software.
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