Microsoft is reportedly taking part in a $70 million investment round in CyanogenMod, an Android ROM creator that is one of the most popular alternative versions of Android.
CyanogenMod essentially takes the Android code and modifies it, adding different features and bringing it to other devices. What could a Microsoft-powered CyanogenMod mean for Google?
There are a number of reasons that Microsoft could be investing in CyanogenMod. Android is a very open operating system. However, Google does not offer the source code for services like Gmail and YouTube. Google has also been tightening its grip on Android in the past few years.
Investing in CyanogenMod could mean that Microsoft's apps would become a much more prominent part of the operating system in the future.
Microsoft clearly feels as though expanding support of CyanogenMod could help make it even better than the Google-developed version of Android. This is another route for Microsoft to take in the mobile space on top of its Windows 10 operating system.
According to CyanogenMod, 50 million people are currently using the CyanogenMod version of Android, which makes it a route that's definitely worth perusing for Microsoft.
What does all this mean for Google? Well, probably not too much. Windows Phone is barely a threat to Google's Android, and CyanogenMod is really just an offshoot of Android. The two companies teaming up will not mean much for Google, except for the fact that some users will likely be using Microsoft apps rather than Google ones. This isn't great for Google, but it will be a small percentage of people.
Cyanogen has, however, been using big words against Google in the past few weeks, saying that it wanted to take "Android back from Google." Considering the fact that Android accounts for over 80 percent of the mobile market share, the company has a long way to go before it will be able to do anything of the like.
In fact, Google has a lot to gain from CyanogenMod whether Microsoft is funding it or not. The Google Play Store will have to remain an important part of the operating system because without it users will not have easy access to apps. This means that Google could still be making money from CyanogenMod, especially since many users would want Google apps on their devices.
A "Microsoft-powered" CyanogenMod would mean almost nothing for Google. Microsoft could certainly fund a more successful operating system from CyanogenMod. However, this won't be much of a threat for the search giant.