The startup that wants to 'take Android away from Google' just raised $80 million

Cyanogen, the startup that previously said it wanted to “take Android away from Google,” just raised $US80 million in a new round of funding, the company announced on Monday (via Forbes).

This brings Cyanogen’s total funding to $US110 million.

PremjiInvest led this new round of funding, which also includes Twitter, Rupert Murdoch, Qualcomm, Telef√≥nica, Index Ventures, Access Industries, and Cyanogen’s existing investors such as Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, and Tencent Holdings, which were also included in the round.

Previous reports suggested Cyanogen was in talks with companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo. There are also some unannounced strategic investors, according to Re/code.

It’s unclear exactly what Cyanogen’s plans are for the funding. But Kirt McMaster, the company’s co-founder and CEO, previously told Business Insider that the company isn’t interested in accepting money from strategic partners “unless there’s actually a deal in place that we’re working with some of these companies.”

Cyanogen makes an open firmware based on Android that allows users to add more features and customisation to their phones. Chinese startup OnePlus, which created the insanely popular One smartphone last year, ships its device with Cyanogen pre-loaded.

But now Cyanogen wants to go beyond creating a “forked” version of Android by creating a full-blown operating system that could compete with Android and iOS. McMaster envisions a platform that’s even more open than Android: While existing apps sit on top of Android and iOS, McMaster wants to create an operating system in which services are actually tied into the core operating system.

For example, when you’re using an iPhone, services like Siri, Apple Maps, and any other Apple-made service are automatically set to the default for any action you perform. The case is the same with Android: Google’s services get priority because their tied into the core operating system.

In McMaster’s mind, a mobile operating system shouldn’t have those restrictions. If you prefer Spotify over Google Play Music, that should be the default music player.

McMaster previously told The Wall Street Journal that he wanted to take Android away from Google. More recently, he told Forbes that his company is “putting a bullet through Google’s head.”

There are also rumours that Microsoft is working on a partnership to bring the company’s services such as Bing, Cortana, and OneDrive among others to devices running Cyanogen’s modified Android. This would make sense for Microsoft, which has been expanding its services to non-Windows devices in recent months, since it would give the company an even wider platform to deliver its services.

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