Without too much fanfare and through a silent press release, Cyanogen and Microsoft have announced a partnership to integrate popular Microsoft services across the Cyanogen OS. Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft’s consumer apps and services, as follows – Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office. This is an interesting move which could have some unexpected outcomes.
Speaking of this partnership, Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen, weighed in:
People around the world use Cyanogen’s operating system and popular Microsoft services to engage with what matters most to them on their mobile device. This exciting partnership with Microsoft will enable us to bring new kinds of integrated services to mobile users in markets around the world.
Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Microsoft, also shared her views:
We aspire to have our tools within arm’s reach of everyone, to empower them in all aspects of their lives. This partnership represents another important step towards that ambition. We’ll continue to deliver world-class experiences across productivity and communications on Windows, and we’re delighted that Cyanogen users will soon be able to take advantage of those same powerful services.
All this sounds great, but what’s curious is that the press release and all tech websites speak about Cyanogen OS and not the CyanogenMod. The latter is open-source and Cyanogen doesn’t have any hold of it, but that’s not the case with its OS. Cyanogen’s upcoming funding round is said to be in the ballpark of $110 million, which means the investors supporting are obviously going to be interested in the company making more money.
One such first opportunity seems to be Microsoft’s services and apps being pre-loaded on Cyanoge OS-powered devices. While not confirmed, Cyanogen is likely receiving some revenue from Microsoft. As a matter of fact, Redmond was in advanced talks to invest in Cyanogen Inc., but for now they have chosen to infiltrate their apps and services.
This moves makes sense and follows Microsoft’s carefully planned strategy to bring its services to cross-platform users. But what if this isn’t all that Microsoft is planning? Maybe besides tweaking Windows 10 and getting ready for the revival of the Windows Phone, they are also secretly planning to build Android devices. Sure, they nixed Nokia X, but maybe there looking for something that won’t have them tied to Google.
And, quite interesting, recently, Cyanogen’s CEO said he wants ‘to take Android away from Google‘. At the beginning of this year, he said that he wants to build Cyanogen into a ‘full-fledged Android rival with its own app store and a more “open” structure that recalls the early days of Android‘. So, could Cyanogen be the partner Microsoft was looking for and viceversa? Sure, there are still many unanswered questions, but the possibility of the two companies working together remains.
Another big question is the Google Play Store – will Google allow it to run across so much ‘bloatware’ from Microsoft or they will restrict it? CyanogenMod was built on open source Google apps and the closed source Play Store can be optionally side loaded into CyanogenMod. Most likely users will still be able to download the open source version, and Microsoft’s apps will be present only on the commercial version.
At the moment, Cyanogen claims on its website that it has three smartphones running its OS – the OnePlus One, Micromax Yureka and the Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2+. But, as we know already, OnePlus is working on its own Oxygen OS, which means the next OnePlus Two most likely won’t come with Cyanogen OS. So, this leaves Cyanogen in a situation where it strongly needs a popular partner – so, could it be Microsoft, after all?