According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the Windows-maker is joining a funding round for Cyanogen, an organization that develops customized versions, or a fork, of the Android OS.
Why would Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) want to fund a group that aims to make better versions of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s mobile OS which could consequently lead to more people adopting the said platform?
It seems that the Redmond, Washington-based giant is going for people choosing a less Google-influenced version of Android. If you can’t beat them with your own mobile platform (which Windows Phone was, and Windows 10 will be), make it so that they do not have a stranglehold on the platform they are championing (in this case, Android).
According to the usual “people familiar with the matter,” Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be an investor, though not the majority investor, in a $70 million funding round for Cyanogen. Cyanogen, the maker of the CyanogenMod fork of Android, will be valued in the “high hundreds of millions” once the round is done, these unnamed sources are said to reveal to The Wall Street Journal.
The $70 million figure is not yet even a final amount as other investors may join the round, these sources added. These investors, which the publication did not name, are apparently tired of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s control over Android.
Android, though labeled as “open source,” is still very much controlled by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL). One example of how the internet search and advertising giant controls Android, according to the report from The Wall Street Journal, is its insistence that device makers use Google apps and defaulting to Google Search.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and others – conceivably some device makers which rely heavily on Android – are tired of Android being too influenced by Google and are taking a chance that groups like Cyanogen, which is said to have raised $100 million to date, can create compelling forks of Android which will eventually gain traction.
Boykin Curry’s Eagle Capital Management owned about 32.86 million shares in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) by the end of the third quarter of 2014. Also by the end of that period, John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital owned 394,000 Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Class C stock.