Microsoft is reportedly investing a sizable sum of cash into Cyanogen, the Android tinkerers seeking to wrest the OS from Google’s control.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Redmond is coughing up $70m to assist the company which offers Android users the chance to replace the OS with the CyanogenMod alternative, which currently sits on the OnePlus One smartphone.
The open source firmware allows users to unlock unsupported apps and features like tethering, FLAC audio codec support, an OpenVPN client, CPU overclocking and much more.
CyanogenMod is aimed at advanced users who enjoy fully unlocking and tinkering with their devices, with the idea of making Android a truly open source platform.
So where does Microsoft come in to all this? The company is currently touting the merits of its forthcoming Windows 10 operating system for smartphones, why is it paying attention to a company intent on modifying Android?
Well, cynics may say Microsoft’s injection of cash is an effort to undermine Google’s efforts to keep Android largely under its control.
Perhaps Microsoft has spotted an opportunity to take market share and smartphone dominance away from Google without selling phones running Windows 10?
“We’re attempting to take Android away from Google,” Cyanogen CEO McMasters said recently.
“We’re making a version of Android that is more open so we can integrate with more partners so their services can be tier one services, so startups working on [artificial intelligence] or other problems don’t get stuck having you have to launch a stupid little application that inevitably gets acquired by Google or Apple. These companies can thrive on non-Google Android.”
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If Microsoft really is throwing its mighty financial clout behind Cyanogen then it's a crafty tactic from the folks in Redmond.