Cyanogen announced a new, formal partnership with Microsoft on Thursday, only months after the Windows maker provided a sizable investment in the Android competitor. The agreement will mean that future versions of Cyanogen will come with Microsoft’s suite of apps pre-loaded.
The partnership will see Microsoft create “native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences.” As for what apps will be available on new Cyanogen installs, the announcement lists the usual suspects: Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office.
That first one, Bing services, is important, since Cyanogen’s aim is to steal Android away from Google. More specifically, Cyanogen is an operating system that’s based on Android’s open platform, so it runs the majority of Android apps—but doesn’t rely on Google’s services, a pre-requisite Google demands if OEMs want to load Android on their handsets.
So if a Cyanogen user wants to use Google Calendar, Maps, or Music, for instance, they have to manually download and install Google Play Services—which comes pre-loaded on Android right out of the box. Cyanogen’s team up with Microsoft means that there’s now an alternative batch of apps and services available for Cyanogen’s users who don’t feel like being locked into Google’s ecosystem.
Still, this partnership doesn’t mean that Google will even feel much of a difference—at least not for a while. But it is interesting that Microsoft is utilizing every tool at its disposal to try and undercut Google whenever it can. It did much the same with Samsung on the new Galaxy S6, too. The rift between Google and Samsung is pretty famous by now, so it might not even be so long until Samsung goes with Cyanogen as the OS of choice. Mabye?
Whether or not this new partnership will ever really bear fruit for Microsoft remains to be seen. However, Cyanogen’s credibility will likely shoot through the roof.