Google develops Android and releases the core version of the software under an open source license. However, those that want to use any of Google’s services — YouTube, Gmail, Chrome or the Google Play store — have to agree to use all of them, in addition to prominent placement of those apps on the home screen. However, Cyanogen’s vision is a more open version of Android that could come bundled with services from other companies.
Compared to Google’s flavor of Android, the core of Cyanogen’s offering — CyanogenMod — is free and open source. This open source version of Android has made inroads in China, while Amazon has also used the open source version to power its Kindle Fire line of tablets. Although no deal has been finalized, Amazon is less likely to play a part in it and Microsoft is seen as a likely investor. The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft would invest in a roughly $70 million financing round for Cyanogen.
Cyanogen declined to comment on its fundraising efforts, as did representatives of Microsoft and Amazon. CyanogenMod could put together a flavor of Android that bundled together services from, say, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, in much the same way the Google version of Android bundles YouTube, Chrome, Gmail and the Google Play store, among other services.