Device platform player Cyanogen confirmed its anticipated tie-up with Microsoft, which will see the computing giant’s services integrated with the Cyanogen Operating System.
Cyanogen is looking to build an Android-based platform that does not rely on the apps and services of Google. The company has powerful backers – in addition to its partnership with Microsoft, it recently announced a $80 million funding round supported by companies such as Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, Telefonica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom and Access Industries, with Tencent an existing partner.
It is evidence of the shift in the landscape resulting from the growth of mobile that it is Microsoft that is now seen as the less evil partner than Google when it comes to partnering with an established giant.
And for Cyanogen, the alliance seems to make sense: Microsoft is one of the few companies with a broad apps and services portfolio that can be used to plug the holes of a Google-less Android.
Of course, Microsoft also has some form here: its products and services were used to substitute Google’s in a fork of Android created by Nokia, prior to the sale of its devices and services unit to Microsoft – which led to the Android variant being axed.
The partnership includes work “across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities and cloud-based services”. Microsoft will also create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, “enabling a powerful new class of experience”.
Cited services include Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook and Office.
For a partnership that is designed to reduce the influence of Google and provide a fully-featured Android alternative, the timing of the announcement may actually work in the search giant’s favour.
Earlier this week, the EC announced it is probing Google’s Android activities, particularly with regard to the bundling of its apps and services with the platform.
While a Google-less Android platform would not meet the company’s criteria to access services such as its Play content store, it could still point to the fact that Cyanogen and Microsoft – a company that itself is not unfamiliar with the regulatory spotlight – are able to use the core operating system to create a differentiated platform free of Google’s influence.