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With Cyanogen dead, Google’s control over Android is tighter than ever

It wasn’t too long ago when Cyanogen announced its plan to destroy Android. Back in 2015, Kirt McMaster, then the CEO of the company behind the fledgling fork CyanogenMod, declared in no uncertain terms that Google was the enemy. McMaster told Forbes that Cyanogen’s intention was to put “a bullet through Google’s head.”

But as McMaster would soon find out, it’s not so easy to kill a megacorp. After a series of missteps and layoffs, Cyanogen announced last week that it was closing up shop, bringing an abrupt end to a battle that was never really in doubt.

In a late-afternoon blog post on the Friday before Christmas—a news dump clearly designed to make as little noise as possible—Cyanogen announced it was shutting down “all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds … no later than 12/31/16.” In the two-sentence statement, the company also placated tinkerers by assuring the project and its source code “will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally.”

Cyanogen might never have seriously threatened to take control of Android, but the upstart’s shutdown still represents a major victory for Google. As Google showed with the launch of the Pixel, the company is taking steps to ensure no one ever gets close to stealing Android’s soul ever again.


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