While fragmentation is one of the biggest issues plaguing the Android ecosystem, it has also been one of the most beneficial aspects of the operating system, since it has allowed a number of OEMs to have their own builds of Android onto numerous smartphones, resulting in Google’s mobile OS becoming the largest market share holder in terms of usage. While OEM builds are the more popular ones out there, there are branches like CyanogenMod as well that have, over the years, built up a devoted fan base and massive developer community that continues to contribute to Cyanogen’s growth and development. And now, things might be headed in an even better direction for CM, as the team behind Cyanogen Inc. has met with Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella.
The report comes courtesy of TheInformation, which is one of the most reliable news sources out there. However, even they haven’t stated any reason or purpose behind the meeting, nor have they shed any light on the outcome. They do, however, believe that Microsoft is taking a rather keen interest in CyanogenMod, and that the Redmond company might be looking at expanding its footprint into Google’s territory by way of Cyanogen.
The meeting is particularly interesting because Cyanogen Inc. is a startup that saw the light of day just last year, despite the custom Android build having existed since days immemorial. Recently, OnePlus One is the first device that started shipping with CyanogenMod as the default Android version, and that, too, at a very attractive price point, garnering user interest in the branch even further. Then, the company, being a startup, accepted close to $30 million last year from a number of venture capitalists, in light of which it would make sense that they’d be interesting in entering a deal with the Windows Phone tech giant as well.
As to what can Microsoft’s potential interest in CyanogenMod be? The answer is pretty simple. Microsoft aims at getting its services out there to the maximum, and while some of its apps are available over at the Google Play Store, wouldn’t it be better if they started shipping pre-installed software in the world’s most used platform? Of course, yes. And CyanogenMod has been anticipated as the future of Android, considering as how OEMs are really slow at pushing out Android version updates, and how Nexus devices are not really flagship material. With CM, you get a premium device at an affordable price with the latest OS versions almost invariably guaranteed. I’d say if I were Microsoft, I’d definitely see this as a potential area of mutual interest and excellent partnership possibilities.