Microsoft ‘Investing’ In Android Startup That Wants To Take On Google


Cyanogen reportedly in line for $70m to help wrestle Android from Google’s grip

Microsoft is reportedly pumping cash into a startup that is trying to end Google’s dominant grip on the Android mobile operating system.

The Wall Street Journal has said that Redmond will become a minority investor of Cyanogen, a company which is building a competing version of Android outside of Google’s remit.

Cyanogen’s CEO Kirk McMaster has previously said he wants to “take Android away from Google”, and today, the Wall Street Journal said that Microsoft will be investing around $70 million in a round of equity financing, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The WSJ wrote: “The person said 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. The identity of the other potential investors couldn’t be learned.”

Cyanogen’s own operating system, called CyanogenMod, claims to have more than 50 million users, most ofmicrosoft them having replaced their device’s stock Android operating system with Cyanogen’s offering.

But Cyanogen has been making inroads with hardware manufacturers to enable its software to come pre-installed on devices. Last year the firm struck a deal with Micromax, an Indian smartphone maker.

Android is an open-source operating system that manufacturers can load onto their devices for free. However, in exchange for use of Google’s highly populated app store along with platforms such as YouTube and Google Search, makers must feature Google apps and make Google Search the default for users. This strategy by Google has ensured its ecosystem is widely distributed in the Android market.

Microsoft currently claims a 3 percent share in the global smartphone operating system market with Windows Phone. According to analytics site NetMarketShare, Android has almost half the global mobile operating system market share with a 45.9 percent stake.

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