Microsoft has unveiled bold plans to integrate its most popular services across the Android-based Cyanogen Operating System, a move many believe will take the future of Android out of Google’s hands.
In partnering with a leading mobile operating system company such as Cyanogen, a company currently evolving the Android platform to create a more open, level playing field for third-party developed apps and services, industry analysts believe Redmond has hit long-term rival Google where it hurts, right in the Androids.
Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft’s consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services.
As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a new class of experiences.
“People around the world use Cyanogen’s operating system and popular Microsoft services to engage with what matters most to them on their mobile devices,” says Kirt McMaster, CEO, Cyanogen.
“This exciting partnership with Microsoft will enable us to bring new kinds of integrated services to mobile users in markets around the world.”
Built on Android with a rapidly growing global user base and an expanding community of developers, Cyanogen Operating System will now include a number of Microsoft services such as Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office.
“We aspire to have our tools within arm’s reach of everyone, to empower them in all aspects of their lives," adds Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Microsoft.
"This partnership represents another important step towards that ambition."
“We’ll continue to deliver world-class experiences across productivity and communications on Windows, and we’re delighted that Cyanogen users will soon be able to take advantage of those same powerful services.”
Cyanogen’s opening up of the Android market, and Microsoft’s willingness to position itself as an anti-Google offering, looks set to significantly reshape the mobile operating industry, coming at a time when Redmond is strengthening its grip on non-Windows users.
Take Samsung for example. The South Korean tech giant has been widely regarded as a “frenemy” of Google in years gone by, but now counts Satya Nadella as a clear ally following a recent deal to bring Microsoft mobile productivity services to more consumers and business customers.
So much so that Samsung is planning to pre-install Microsoft services and apps on its portfolio of Android devices while also delivering secured mobile productivity for businesses through a new Microsoft Office 365 and Samsung KNOX Business Pack.
Of course, Microsoft’s noticeable move into Android, coupled with its billion-dollar licensing agreements around the operating system, does not ignore the company’s own mobile platform in Windows Phone.
In 2014, Windows Phone had the smallest year-over-year increase among the leading operating systems growing just 4.2%, well below the overall market, according to IDC findings.
During Q4 of 2014, Android set the smartphone operating system pace with a market share of 76.6 percent, followed by iOS at 19.7 percent and Windows Phone at 2.8 percent.
The apparent failure to gain traction may explain why Microsoft is all to keen to launch its software on more popular rivals, and why the market is sharp realising that Android is not just for Google anymore.