Microsoft to back Cyanogen’s plan to weaken Google’s control of Android
Microsoft hasn’t found the amount of success it wanted to see in mobile. Windows Phone is still just 3% of the mobile market, and even with its moves in acquiring Nokia’s mobile division, the company is still struggling to re-invent itself internally. You could assume that Microsoft’s interests in Android are low, given how the company killed the Nokia X project, but it seems these plans have changed.
Microsoft is apparently going to invest a minority share of $70 million in Cyanogen, leaving what was once a simple ROM alternative, into a company that’s now worth hundreds of millions. No reason for the investment has been confirmed, but given Cyanogen’s interest in raising cash in order to weaken Google’s control over Android, that could be more than enough of a reason. Google currently forces OEMs to allow its Google Play services to be predominant on Android smartphones, in exchange for access to services like YouTube among others. Cyanogen has been working on building its own forked-version of Android, and giving users the freedom to choose.
We still don’t know how far we are from seeing progress in this deal, but if it goes through, prepare to see CyanogenMod offering Bing as a default search engine.