CyanogenMod is not only attracting the attention of users looking to customize their Android devices these days. From its early days as a custom ROM for the HTC Dream, it has established itself as one of the most popular aftermarket Android firmwares today. Its growing success led to Cyanogen becoming a commercial company backed by venture funding to the tune of US$30 million in 2013. With some 12 million active installs, it appears that the company is now attracting the attention of companies interested either acquiring it or at least becoming a partner.
According to The Information, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Samsung Electronics and Yahoo are all carefully watching Cyanogen and carefully thinking about whether it makes sense to use the CyanogenMod custom firmware for their devices. Most interesting is the fact that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently sat down with the company as it considers raising a “Series C” round of funding.
Cyanogen has built up the open source Android mobile operating system with its own features and options. Among them are CPU overclocking, native theming support, an open VPN client, and a host of options and toggles to further customize the operating system. Without the Google services that are not open-source and come with a more restrictive license, it could allow a company to offer a full-featured and well-known version of Android without having to “be under the thumb of Google.”
While it’s easier to see why companies such as Amazon.com and Samsung are interested in CyanogenMod, it’s interesting to note that Microsoft also is. It just killed Nokia’s line of Android smartphones so it may not be looking to get back into Android so much as acquiring the talent that built up CyanogenMod as a credible alternative to Android itself.
It will be interesting to see if and how this story develops.