Cyanogen has been referred to as the startup that is trying to steal Android from Google, but that mission might actually be closer to coming to fruition than people have seen thus far. The startup received another round of investments (Round C), totaling $80 million from the likes of Twitter, Qualcomm, and Rupert Murdoch. In all, the company has raised $110 million in funding.
The one thing that Cyanogen has been trying to do since the startups inception, compared to the competing Google – who owns Android – is to create a customization within the OS. Cyanogen aims to do this by allowing manufacturers like HTC or Samsung to have full rights to what is inside the operating system – something Google doesn’t do.
Google sets up Android so that individual companies are required to overlay additional components to make the experience unique, and creates a lot of controversy about the fact that while Android is open-source, it remains one of the most tightly regulated entities in the tech world.
Kirt McMaster, the CEO of Cyanogen said, “We’re excited to have the backing of an amazingly diverse group of strategic investors who are supporting us in building a truly open Android.”
The list of investors included in this round of funding included Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Inc., Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom and Rupert Murdoch. One thing that Cyanogen pointed out was that this list was not a complete list of participants, and that while these names were by far the largest contributors – the smaller partners were equally important – and that more would be announced in the coming days, weeks, and months.
The major problem that people have with Android controlled by Google is the label open-source, which then is pulled down by the fact that manufacturers are forced to use Google apps, like Gmail, Chrome, and YouTube regardless of their desire to do so. Even more troublesome is the fact that Google not only requires companies to use all of their apps – but also place those apps in such a way that users feel nearly forced to use them. It’s because of things like this, that a startup like Cyanogen is even appealing in the first place. If Google were more open about their “open-source” platform, then perhaps they wouldn’t be feeling this pressure and competition.