Wipro Chairman to invest in CyanogenMod makers Cyanogen after talks with Microsoft fail

Aziz Premji’s PremjiInvest to be part of new $110 million funding to the Android OS alternative CyanogenMod makers after talks with Microsoft fail

There was news that Microsoft was keen to invest in Cyanogen, the makers of alternate Android operating system or Mod to keep a check on Google’s growing aspirations in the smartphone and tablet operating system.

The smartphone operating system market is dominated by Google’s open source Android OS while Apple’s closed operating system iOS takes the third place. Microsoft which has its own Windows Phone operating system is a distant third and Microsoft has been trying hard to make a dent in the smartphone OS market but has met with repeated failures. Its only chance of catching up with Android is its planned Windows 10 operating system which it says will be a cross platform single OS for all devices like PC’s, smartphones and tablet.

Last month Bloomberg had reported that Microsoft would be investing in the highly popular alternate Android OS called CyanogenMod through its makers. Cyanogen develops an Android-based interface called Mods for smartphones and tablets that lets users customize their devices and content as per their personal choice.

According to sources, Microsoft had held talks with the Palo Alto, California-based start-up with the ultimate goal of having Microsofts own Apps on the CyanogenMod but the people at Cyanogen seems to have refused to this Microsoft condition.

CyanogenMod is currently used by millions of Android users as default OS version on Android devices. It is also used a default operating system by manufacturers such as OnePlus and other companies. While Microsoft and Cyanogen failed to strike an investment deal, talks between the two illustrate how Microsoft is trying to get its applications and services on rival operating systems, a key goal laid out by Microsoft CEO,  Satya Nadella.

According to latest news, Cyanogen Inc. is now close to an agreement on a new $110 million round of financing, as it seeks to get its version of Android software into more smartphones. PremjiInvest, the investment vehicle of Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, will be among the investors in the new funding, said the people, who asked not to be identified.

Cyanogen has already secured funding from venture capital firms like Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz and Redpoint Ventures. Even Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News is indirectly investing in Cyanogen because of its holding in Andreessen Horowitz.

The latest round of funding could value Cyanogen at upwards of $500 million and in not so distant future, Cyanogen may seek to list at NYSE to get better returns for its investors and stakeholders.

Microsoft may have balked at investing in Cyanogen but sources indicate that the tech giant is more than interested to get its software aboard CyanogenMod so that it has a viable alternative to Google’s Android OS.

Both the parties, Peter Wootton, a spokesman for Microsoft, and Vivian Lee, a spokeswoman for Cyanogen, declined to comment on the latest news.

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