Microsoft’s coup

Microsoft Helps Startup Cyanogen Beat Android

Microsoft has turned its attention to a startup called Cyanogen, a company that just might have a big impact on the smartphone industry. In fact, it has paid $70 million worth of attention to the young company that makes CyanogenMod, an ROM that is used in Android devices.

A Windows Replacement?

Some might wonder why Microsoft is getting involved with the competition since it has its own Windows phone. With only around 3% of the market, the company has yet to make any significant gains on Android. Of course, that could change if another company like Cyanogen garners attention from users. Some experts suspect that this new player may help reduce Google’s hold on the industry.

Google requires manufacturers that use the Android system in their gadgets to install certain applications, such as Google Maps. Google is also the default search engine on those devices. With another option for the operating system, Microsoft may see its products and search engine in mainstream use on the devices.

Another angle is Windows 10 with a unified platform across all devices. Cyanogen may help narrow the gap in terms of feature sets and apps availability in the Microsoft App ecosystem.

What is CyanogenMod?

Simply put, CyanogenMod is an open-source firmware that is used on tablets and smartphones that include the Android OS. Some of the features that you will get with this firmware include OpenVPN client, USB tethering, support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, soft buttons, management of app permissions and much more. Perhaps the best feature about this system is that it doesn’t contain any spyware to slow down your device.

You can currently install it to your device if you want to override what you already have. However, Cyanogen is working with manufacturers of smartphones to install the product on devices before shipping.

Do people use independent ROM or firmware solutions? According to the chief executive of the company, more than 50 million people with Android devices are already using CyanogenMod. Other companies also have their own products installed on the devices instead of Google’s software.

What Does This Mean for Microsoft? 

It depends on what deals the company can make with the startup. If Cyanogen gets more manufacturers to install its ROM on phones and tablets, Microsoft could benefit as well. It is possible that Bing would be the default search engine and that Cortana might even be featured. Cortana is a digital assistant that competes with Apple’s Siri.

While Microsoft might not see its share of the market increase with Windows Phone, it could win in other ways. For one thing, if more companies chose CyanogenMod over the traditional Android software, it would lessen Google’s hold on the entire market. It would make Microsoft more competitive, but it would also help other independent companies have a chance to compete.

Many see this investment by Microsoft as another big move that comes after the acquisition of the Lumia phones from Nokia. It proves that the company has not given up on the idea of making an impact in the smartphone industry. As quickly as things change today in technology, it is a good time for everyone to sit back and watch for the next new thing. It just might be Cyanogen.