A company known as Cyanogen, Inc. has been in the news numerous times over the past year, and almost every time their name is brought up, it's amid reports of an impending doom. The writing is on the wall for the makers of Cyanogen OS, as it appears that there is little that can be done to prevent the company from going belly-up in the near future.
CEO Kirt McMaster just got the axe last week, but the dysfunction dates back much farther than that. Shortly after the company's creation, the one lucrative partnership they've had went up in smoke, as OnePlus decided they didn't want Cyanogen making the firmware for their smartphones anymore.
Since then, it's been nothing but turmoil. Famed Android developer Koushik Dutta tendered his resignation with Cyanogen, the company laid off most of its staff, then decided to focus on strictly making apps. But that didn't last long, as McMaster's replacement Lior Tal has announced a new strategy centered around something called "Mods," whatever that is.
Let me run that last one past you again: Cyanogen is making Mods now.
On first glance, that appears to be a throwback to the company's past days of making the custom ROM CyanogenMod—but the thing is, Cyanogen, Inc. and CyanogenMod are two wholly separate entities. The names are similar because of a shared history.
A group of CyanogenMod devs got backed by venture capitalists back in 2013, then struck out on their own in creating Cyanogen, Inc. With their background in creating firmware for Android devices, this was the initial business strategy for Cyanogen, Inc.—but the two Cyanogens' paths diverged quickly from there.
CyanogenMod continues to thrive as a community-driven, open-source project that aims to put the latest and greatest Android versions on hundreds of supported devices. To this day, it's still one of the best custom ROMs available for Android, and groundbreaking tweaks such as the CM Theme Engine and their Nav Bar Visualizer continue to be open-source and free of corporate agendas.
Cyanogen, Inc., on the other hand, is in the midst of its second or third pivot, grasping at straws to make themselves profitable. In the entire time they've existed, Cyanogen, Inc. has only been notable for its failures, not the apps or "Mods" they've made.
But we, as Android users, shouldn't care in the least—after all, Cyanogen, Inc. is just another failing tech startup with no real impact on the Android development scene, while CyanogenMod's open-sourced software is doing just fine.
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