Google’s Android being an open-source platform is often exploited by savvy programmers to launch their highly customized modification packages. These “Mods” are not just restricted to colourful themes and icon packages but transcend far beyond, and allow users unrestricted access to the Android environment like deleting system software, altering the device’s resource usage algorithms et all. All this by employing a nifty little tool known as “Superuser”. But all this comes at a price; installing Superuser counts as “Rooting” your device. Rendering the warranty void.
Google allows OEM device manufacturers to use Android on their systems free of cost and have access to Google Play, but with the catch being, Google being used as the default search engine and certain Google applications coming preloaded.
However, in recent years Cyanogen Mod, one of the most popular modifications among the Android fan-base has become the frontline organization leading the crusade against Google. Cyanogen unlike other developers is not an anonymous group of techies operating from a basement, but a full fledged company with big ambitions. Android currently enjoys 83.6% market share in the smartphone/ tablet space with most statisticians anticipating a further rise in the coming years. A recent interview excerpt with Cyanogen Inc’s CEO Kirt McMaster, states “We’re going to take Android away from Google.” A dream they have already started to realize through Micromax’s Yureka and OnePlus One smartphones that ship with Cyanogen Mod as the stock platform.
Cyanogen gives OEMs the freedom to use their own services as first tier instead those of Google’s. Thus relinquishing the control from Mountain View (Google’s headquarters in California) over your device and digital life.
Coming to the crux of the article, sources in The Wall Street Journal state that Microsoft plans to invest $70 million dollars in Cyanogen Inc. with the aim of subduing Mountain View and using Google’s own platform to beat it at its own game. Microsoft which currently has a paltry 3% market share with its Windows powered devices, has allegedly been in talks with other rivals in the space to rally against Google. By working with Cyanogen, Microsoft aims to develop a platform which will allow it to market its own services to end users by roping in Google’s existing partners and earn from its losses. For example : The new Cyanogen powered devices could use Bing as the primary search engine.
Although both CM and Microsoft have neither confirmed nor denied the reports. This story has been touted as one of the biggest developments that can shake up the portable devices market, with the 2 big players fighting it out. For consumers though, expect the un-expected.