Harking back to the days of Android 'Cupcake' in 2009, CyanogenMod arose from humble beginnings to become one of the popular alternative operating systems for Android devices. Over the years, the customized firmware has been supported and enhanced by a growing community of developers with builds created for an amazing number of devices.
Cyanogen's future seemed bright after it managed to have its OS pre-installed on the OnePlus One. Unfortunately, sales were temporarily halted in India as a result of a legal challenge from Micromax, prompting OnePlus to develop OxygenOS as a workaround. Despite that setback, Cyanogen managed to raise $70 million in equity financing and forge a strategic partnership with Microsoft to integrate its products and services into the OS.
However, some of the shine has been taken off Cyanogen after it was revealed that its workforce of 136 employees has been slashed by approximately 20%. Cutbacks were most felt in the systems and QA teams located in both Palo Alto and Seattle while smaller offices in Lisbon and India have been 'gutted'.
This move coincides with a reported change of strategy being planned by newly recruited Chief Operating Officer Lior Tai, who came on board after having departed Facebook last month. While official details have not yet been released, there has been a claim that Cyanogen may pivot towards apps.
It remains to be confirmed whether an OS remains part of the Cyanogen's core strategy given its struggle in having it pre-installed as the official OS for all but a handful of devices. However, we can be fairly sure that Microsoft will be very interested in how the situation unfolds from here.
The fate of CyanogenMod also remains unclear given the deep staff cuts within Cyanogen's open source arm which could leave the developer community to shoulder the responsibility moving forward.