Cyanogen exited the market over the holiday weekend, releasing a statement that nightly builds will be discontinued no later than New Year’s Eve 2016.
In its third successful round of venture funding, Cyanogen has raised US$80 million from investors like Qualcomm and Twitter Ventures, bringing their total funding to $110 million.
Microsoft recently invested a minority stake in a $70 million dollar financing round for CyanogenMod, an Android fork and Google competitor. Some investors value CyanogenMod in the high hundreds of millions, but the operating system currently only accounts for 1 percent of the over one billion Android installs.Much like Amazon’s Kindle OS, Cyanogen’s base code is Android. However, unlike the online retail giant, all current installs of Cyanogen feature the Google Playstore.
On January 23, Cyanogen’s CEO Kirt McMaster stated at an Android Meetup, "I'm the CEO of Cyanogen. We're attempting to take Android away from Google." That statement appears bold considering every iteration of CyanogenMod relies on Google’s Android OS updates.
Mainstream knowledge of CyanogenMod surfaced with the release of the HTC OnePlus One, which featured it as its OS. Reviews of the OnePlus One were generally favorable with a limited invite-only run, but sales figures have yet to be released.
Microsoft’s backing of Cyanogen raises a lot of questions. With Windows Phone sales stagnating, Microsoft’s next move in the mobile space remains a mystery. The Nokia X released in the second quarter last year featured an Android fork that was merely skinned to look like Windows, and Office has gone cross-platform - both of which did not instill confidence in developers that Microsoft will be supporting its proprietary OS in the future.