cyanogen_logo_heroCyanogen had rather humble beginnings where they started off as by offering users an Android ROM that was a worthy, if not better, alternative to what was offered by Android OEMs in the market. It was also a relatively stock experience that was not bogged down by fancy animations or user interfaces or unnecessary apps.

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The company has since come a very long way and it was revealed in a report by Forbes that they have managed to raise $80 million in funding in their latest round of investments. According to the report, these investors include some pretty big names such as Twitter, Qualcomm, Telefonica, and Rupert Murdoch which ultimately values the company at $1 billion, certainly a very long way from when they first began.

So what makes Cyanogen so valuable? According to Peter Levine, a partner with Andreessen Horowitz, it seems that Google’s dominance with the Android platform is worrysome. After all what if Google were to one day start charging to license Android? Or if they decided to stop making it open source? “App and chip vendors are very worried about Google controlling the entire experience.”

Cyanogen’s CEO Kirt McMaster adds, “In a perfect world the OS should know I use Spotify for music. I should be able to talk to the phone and say ‘Play that song’ and the f—ing song plays with Spotify. It doesn’t do that today.” This isn’t the first time that McMaster has expressed frustration with Android, although ironically enough their success did stem from Android to begin with.

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