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Microsoft makes its boldest move yet to steal Android from Google

Published Apr 16th, 2015 2:07PM EDT
Cyanogen and Microsoft Android Apps

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After many rumors claimed that Microsoft would either buy or invest in Cyanogen, the two companies on Thursday confirmed that they’ve formed a strategic partnership. Cyanogen happens to be the company that’s responsible for one of the most popular custom Android builds around and it hasn’t been shy about criticizing Google more than once for the way it’s handling Android.

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As for Microsoft, the company is already trying to take over the home screens of Android devices with some of its mobile apps, and it has even created a software solution that lets users install Windows 10 on devices that were built solely to run Android.

Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft apps and services on devices running Cyanogen OS, including “productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services.” Some of these services include Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook and Microsoft Office, and they will clearly compete against some of Google’s core offerings on mobile devices running Android.

Microsoft will in turn “create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences,” according to the press release.

Thus, it appears that Cyanogen and Microsoft’s independent dreams of stealing Android from Google are aligned, at least for the time being, although it’s not clear yet when Cyanogen OS will ship with built-in Microsoft apps.

The full press release follows below.

Cyanogen Announces Strategic Partnership With Microsoft

Cyanogen Open OS Platform to Offer Microsoft Services Later This Year

PALO ALTO, CA–(Marketwired – April 16, 2015) – Cyanogen Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced a partnership to integrate popular Microsoft services across the Cyanogen Operating System. With offices in Palo Alto and Seattle, Cyanogen is a leading mobile operating system company that is evolving the Android platform to create a more open, level playing field for third-party developed apps and services.

Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft’s consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences.

“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 Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen Inc. “This exciting partnership with Microsoft will enable us to bring new kinds of integrated services to mobile users in markets around the world.”

“We aspire to have our tools within arm’s reach of everyone, to empower them in all aspects of their lives. This partnership represents another important step towards that ambition,” said Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Microsoft Corp. “We’ll continue to deliver world-class experiences across productivity and communications on Windows, and we’re delighted that Cyanogen users will soon be able to take advantage of those same powerful services.”

The distribution arrangement includes a number of Microsoft services: Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office.

About Cyanogen Inc.
Cyanogen is reimagining mobile computing, giving power to the people to customize their mobile device and content experiences. The CYANOGEN® operating system is built on Android and known for its revolutionary personalization features, intuitive interface, speed, improved battery life, and enhanced security. With a rapidly growing global user base and a vibrant community of developers, we’re intelligently connecting smartphone and tablet consumers to people, apps, and things they love. For more information, visit Cyanogen’s website, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.