As reported by ArsTechnica, Microsoft to invest in Cyanogen, which hopes to take Android from Google.
Another 70 million in the bin? If you ask me, it will take a lot more to take Android away from Google…
Why? Because one of the main strengths of Android are the apps available through the Play store (which is not open source and is controlled by Google).
The only way Microsoft (Cyanogenmod) could take Android from Google would be to replace the playstore with something else.
Customers then expect to find their regular apps in the store… and guess what?
Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Docs, Youtube, Play Music, Hangouts, … are all closed source and belong to Google.
A few different possibilities emerge:
1) Google supports this initiative and develops applications for its competitors playstore (unlikely).
2) Google Apps are cracked and copied, which could be followed by a copyright infringement (unlikely).
3) Unhappy users because their phone doesn’t provide expected apps.
4) Microsoft provides similar tools/platforms, and uses Cyanogen to push them on the users.
The last option is the most likely one, but even imagining Microsoft would provide these quality tools and platforms the question remains:
Do users really want to search with bing? get an outlook.com email to authenticate to the services? use bingmaps to find their way around? convert their documents from Google Drive to OneDrive? move their Hangout contacts to Skype? …
There is a heavy risk of “3) Unhappy users because their phone doesn’t provide expected apps.”
To be successful, Cyanogen should understand that trying to take away Android from Google will take much more than making a new playstore, it is about changing users’ habits and behaviors, breaking a lock-in!
Looking forward to see the outcome!