Cyanogen gets investment to compete with Google

Cyanogen, the company behind Cyanogenmod and the commercial variant CyanogenOS, has received an investment of 80 million dollars – 73 million euros. With that money, Cyanogen has to compete with Google.

Companies putting money into Cyanogen include Twitter, chipmaker Qualcomm, Spanish telecom provider Telefónica and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The investment is led by investment company Premji Invest. That company says it is confident that Cyanogen can become the third mobile operating system in market share, after Android and iOS.

Based on Android source code, CyanogenOS already runs on smartphones from Alcatel, Oneplus and Micromax. The company made it big with its free alternative Android version, Cyanogenmod, which is available for most Android phones. The investment of 80 million dollars means that the value of the entire company is estimated at no less than one billion dollars, converted 914 million euros.

A CEO of Andreessen Horowitz, an investment company that previously invested money in Cyanogen, tells Forbes that app makers and chip makers are afraid of Google’s dominance. While Android’s source code is public, apps like Play Music and Google’s own Play Store are more deeply rooted in Android than third-party alternatives. That is a thorn in the side of some smartphone makers and competing apps.

Microsoft, which has a very small share of the smartphone market with Windows Phone, would also have been interested in putting money into Cyanogen. In the end, the software giant decided to forgo this, it appeared earlier. However, Microsoft would like to conclude a deal with Cynanogen to provide Microsoft services, such as Bing, OneDrive, Skype, Outlook and speech assistant Cortana. One smartphone maker is even planning to sell a phone with CyanogenOS and those services, according to Forbes, although the companies have not yet confirmed that.

In an interview with the business magazine, Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster says he hopes Cyanogen can attract developers who feel themselves cornered by Google and Apple. To that end, he says he wants to open up his operating system much more to third-party developers than those companies do. For example, a user should be able to set Spotify as the default music app.