Microsoft reportedly investing big in giving Android users more control

A different type of Android

For years CyanogenMod has been a popular alternative among Android users, and now Microsoft is reportedly investing big in the startup.

Microsoft is investing $70 million (about £46m, AU$90m) in Cyanogen, which would leave it a minority shareholder, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft already makes plenty of money off of Android thanks to complex licensing fees, so this probably isn't a cash grab.

Rather, the idea is apparently to help wrest control of Android away from Google, as Cyanogen describes its mission.

Taking control

Microsoft desire to get in on this could stem from Google's insistence that phone makers include Google apps and search by default, which cuts into Microsoft's - and others' - ability to get their own apps featured on Android devices.

The underdog Android alternative Cyanogen, which claims it has thousands of volunteers working on it, sidesteps that issue and others, making it a popular choice among certain users and companies.

Yet it's still weird that Microsoft would flush a competitor with cash when its own mobile operating system - Windows for phones, no longer Windows Phone - is so up in the air.

But Cyanogen is reportedly now working on deals with hardware makers to have its version of Android installed on devices by default rather than Google's, and it's obvious how Microsoft might benefit from that.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.