back to article Cyanogen Inc 'axes 20%' staff

Cyanogen Inc, which develops an alternative flavour of Google's Android, has reportedly laid off a bunch of staff. The Seattle-based US startup takes code from the open-source CyanogenMod project, adds in some proprietary features, and tries to get phone makers to ship the package with their handsets. Basically, it seems, that …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sad but predictable

    Guess somebody forgot to tell them Google doesn't make the money off the OS. Even Microsoft is moving away from that model on the desktop no less.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sad but predictable

      Actually thinking about that makes me shake my damn head at yet another startup on the west coast. Its almost like three years on and with however many millions thrown at them the executives got together and said you know what lets go on a retreat and put together a business plan. At the end they were like I got nothing. Lets just fire people. Proving as an engineer or software dev you really need to be not just good at your job but have a feel for how good the suits are at theirs as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sad but predictable

        "Retreat" == "spending the last of the company's money on a nice holiday for managers"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sad but predictable

      Guess somebody forgot to tell them Google doesn't make the money off the OS.

      Well, not through direct sales of licenses, though we don't know what they charge Samsung et al for Play Services and any other binary blobs that aren't part of AOSP. There has to be a monetary exchange there otherwise there's no valid contract.

      It's the imposition of those binary blobs that are Google's means to making money indirectly. Though in the view of the European Union anti trust investigation it resembles an extortion racket, a point of view presumably resonant with Cyanogen's own.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: sad but predictable

      Presumably the suits had to negotiate deals with manufacturers to get their OS on phones, but they didn't seem very good at it.

    4. a_yank_lurker

      Re: sad but predictable

      This makes me wonder if they ever had a real business plan. Understandably, a new venture is likely to lose money the first few years of existence but there better be a well thought out, realistic plan to make a profit. Too Silicon Valley business plans see to be nothing more than buzzword bingo combined with idiotic sales projections of how many will buy a product most do not need nor never heard of.

  2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Somehow "executive retreats" almost never bode well (for the worker bees, that is), but this is an exeptional crappy way of handling layoffs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which is why I have respect for successful entrepreneurs (as long as they succeed more due to skill than a lack of ethics). There are fewer of them than good software developers (what the founders of this company more were) for sure.

  3. Mikel

    The music stopped when Microsoft bought them

    Yeah, technically it was just a partnership. Whatever. Kiss of death.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The music stopped when Microsoft bought them

      I don't think they even got the MS apps onto the phones. Certainly not the Wileyfox ones.

    2. dajames

      Re: The music stopped when Microsoft bought them

      Kiss of death.

      I think there's a lot of truth in that. Not (mostly) because it was Microsoft, but because Cyanogen was no longer seen as an independent supplier with altruistic motives. Its reputation became tarnished.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Well shit

    That's CyanogenMod mortally wounded.

    And as for my next phone, I can't quite bring myself to buy a Nexus. No SD to get people to put everything in the cloud and plain AOSP is just a little too crappy for my taste.

    Maybe Nokia will do something with Android.

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Well shit

      You could always wait for Blackberry to finish shuffling the deck chairs and get one of their "hardened" Android devices.

      Sure, no root access, and a bit of a walled garden, but I'd still trust them more than another random 'droid offering, or an iThing.

    2. Mikel

      Re: Well shit

      Samsung has a new kind of removable flash standard that isn't unnecessarily encumbered with Microsoft's patented -- and stupid -- ExFAT. So removable flash may finally be an option on the next Nexus.

      I predict that once it comes out the Secure Digital group will drop the dumb requirement. There is no need for 2 billion Android devices based on Linux to require support for Microsoft DOS's brain damaged 8.3 character filenames.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well shit

      >That's CyanogenMod mortally wounded.

      Under warranty probably. But the aftermarket rom there to support your phone long after the manufacturer quits even pretending too (hell most don't even pretend) no. Which is ok with me because Android in general is a get an older model cheap off ebay backup phone proposition anyway.

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Well shit

      > That's CyanogenMod mortally wounded.

      No. Cyanogen the company is very distinct from CyanogenMod the open source project, which is not seeing much impact. These were not CyanogenMod developers that were fired, these were people that take CyanogenMod code, add a sprinkle of proprietary piss, and depend on the suits to get deals to put their software on phones. Edit: so parasites depending on parasites, basically.

      The blokes developing CyanogenMod are still developing CyanogenMod.

      1. The humble print monkey

        Re: Well shit - teacup?

        So when my storm goes through thr boot process and says, after the recent update, cyanogen mod ready, I don't need to panic?

        I hope this is so - quite like it as a phone, apart from the ludicrously large screen.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Well shit - teacup?

          No, that's Cyanogen MOD which means there are special hooks in CyanogenOS which allow apps on their app store to be more integrated into the OS than the usual app. It's got nothing to do with CyanogenMod... really, they couldn't have thought up of a more confusing name for it.

          AC: Are you saying Cyanogen, Inc didn't contribute bugfixes back to CyanogenMod or that some CyanogenOS developers weren't hired because of their work on CyanogenMod?

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Slow death of mediocracy

    I don't know why Cyanogen doesn't sell direct to the public rather than promoting obscure cell phones hosting their commercial OS. Android is dynamic, buggy as hell and most cell makers have no interest in software. I know I would pay a small monthly fee to have a third party maintain a good OS, manage bug reports, and provide regular builds. Cyanogenmod is so close to being a great OS but free volunteers struggle to maintain undocumented chipset drivers. It tarnishes the Cyanogen name.

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: Slow death of mediocracy

      Because noone would pay a single cent for that buggy POS. And frankly noone in right mind would ever start charging money for it.

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Slow death of mediocracy

        > "Because noone would pay a single cent for that buggy POS. And frankly noone in right mind would ever start charging money for it."

        I'm sure people said the same thing about MS-DOS and Windows too.

    2. fuzzie

      Re: Slow death of mediocracy

      You mean like how several OEMs got together to create the Symbian Foundation to manage core OS and development and they did they outer layer customization? True, that had its own flaws, but frankly I quite liked that idea. You need a few roughly even-sized partners to make it work though. I think it's too late for Android though, Google's current licence already prohibits OEMs from dabbling with AOSP-based alternatives.

  6. Nuno

    One plus

    They had a contract with cyanogen, got f**ked by them for the Indian market, now they don't use it anymore. If I were an OEM, I would not trust cyanogen to be my partner. Guess I am not the only one...

  7. OliP

    cant help but see the parallels with silicon valleys' pied piper.

    Found and CTO of breakthrough fork of OS - now writing apps n stuff

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