Google reportedly tried to buy Cyanogen

CyanogenMod logoA report from The Information (subscription required) claims that Google tried to buy Cyanogen, Inc, the maker of the custom Android ROM CyanogenMod. According to the report, Cyanogen's chief executive told shareholders that Sundar Pichai, the head of Chrome and Android at Google, met with the company and "expressed interest in acquiring the firm." The report says Cyanogen Inc. declined the offer, saying that it was still growing.

It's unclear what Google would want to do with Cyanogen. The company basically does the same software work any other OEM does: it takes AOSP, customizes it, and ports it to devices. It doesn't have a ton of features that replicate Google services, so without a Google Play license, it's just as poor as any other AOSP-derived Android distribution. Buying Cyanogen would give Google an in-house Android distribution and a team of engineers, both of which it already has in abundance. We suppose the plan could be to buy it and shut it down, but we're not sure what that would accomplish, either.

Google reportedly tried to buy Cyanogen

The primary feature of CyanogenMod is that it's close to stock Android and ported to tons of devices. There's no special sauce there that Google would need, and CyanogenMod is "barely generating any revenue," according to the report.

Even if CyanogenMod was somehow viewed as a way out of Google's ecosystem (again, though, there's no app store or much else that replaces Google Play), the problem for any big OEM isn't the existence of an alternative, it's the jump you have to make to use it. The Google Play licensing deal that OEMs sign prohibits them from using any non-Google Play version of Android. So if a company wants to start using an Android fork, it has to immediately stop putting Google Play on all its products. A jump like that is incredibly risky, and it's much easier for a big company like Samsung to make the safe play and stick with Google.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, Google, OSes

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