After joking about their operating system being ?powered by Microsoft? on April Fools? Day, Cyanogen has announced on Thursday that it has entered a strategic partnership with Microsoft to have its apps pre-loaded on Cyanogen OS.
For some time now, the tech rumor mills are abuzz with speculation about Cyanogen planning to partner with Microsoft to improve its modified version of the Android OS. In a press release, Cyanogen and Microsoft finally made their partnership official with a statement that a handful of Microsoft apps will be bundled onto Cyanogen devices.
For those unfamiliar, Cyanogen happens to be the company that?s responsible for one of the most widely used, customized Android builds (i.e. CyanogenMod) around and it has not kept reservations about criticizing Google for the way it?s handling Android.
The startup began as an aftermarket Android ROM maker. Recently, the group went pro, formed a company, and started taking funding from interested investors. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Microsoft was planning to invest in Cyanogen. However, it appears that the deal didn?t push through, apparently in favor of this new partnership.
“People around the world use Cyanogen’s operating system and popular Microsoft services to engage with what matters most to them on their mobile devices,” said Cyanogen’s CEO Kirk McMaster. “This exciting partnership with Microsoft will enable us to bring new kinds of integrated services to mobile users in markets around the world.”
Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft apps and services on devices running Cyanogen OS, that includes ?productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services.?
If the popular Android modder really wants to ship a Google-less Android, it needs to provide alternatives to Google’s wide range of services, and this Microsoft deal is the first significant step. Microsoft can provide alternatives for Google Search (Bing), Google Drive (OneDrive and Office), and Gmail (Outlook). The real missing pieces here, as Ars Technica puts it, are replacements to Google Maps, Google Play, and Google Play Services.
For its part, Cyanogen seems to be glad to have a partner that?s not Google. The company?s CEO even said that it?s ?attempting to take Android away from Google.? As such, Cyanogen already powers the elusive OnePlus One smartphone. In the past few months, CyanogenMod has also struck partnerships with device makers to get its software preloaded onto more models including India?s Micromax Yureka and Alcatel?s Hero 2+.
Photo Credit: ?Cyanogenmod.org