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Cyanogen will get a brand new CEO, abandons plans to promote a full cellular working system


Cyanogen, a startup behind its personal, various model of the Android working system, now has a brand new CEO. Within the wake of stories that the corporate exaggerated its success when it comes to lively customers, layoffs, and difficulties scaling, Cyanogen’s co-founder and CEO Kirt McMaster can be transitioning into an “Govt Chairman” function, whereas Lior Tal, beforehand COO, will now assume the CEO place.

As well as, Steve Kondik, Cyanogen’s co-founder and CTO, can be taking over a brand new function as Chief Science Officer, the corporate introduced. He’ll report Stephen Lawler, the corporate’s SVP of Engineering.

The startup emerged from the roots of a well-liked open supply undertaking, CyanogenMod, which allowed smartphone house owners to put in a modified model of the Android OS on their units.

The benefit of the Cyanogen OS included a lot of tweaks geared toward providing higher efficiency, battery life, and personalization options, in addition to a extra extensible platform for builders. For instance, the just lately launched MOD Platform allowed builders to extra deeply combine their apps into the OS. In the meantime, as a result of Cyanogen constructed on high of the open model of Android, it enable for stuff you wouldn’t discover on a typical Android cellphone, like including assist for Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, for instance.

However issues haven’t been going that properly for Cyanogen. In accordance with a report from The Info in August, the corporate had been exaggerating its person numbers. It continues to assert there are “tens of tens of millions” of OS customers, the quantity didn’t precisely mirror the variety of lively customers, the report stated. In accordance on inner information shared with The Info, the corporate solely had two to a few million weekly lively customers – on each CyanogenMod and its industrial counterpart, Cyanogen OS.

Cyanogen additionally let go 20 p.c of its workers earlier this summer season, and, in accordance with the letter despatched from McMaster to staff, admits that, regardless of transport tens of millions of units with its OS, was “not scaling quick sufficient nor in an environment friendly method.”

As we speak’s weblog put up from new CEO Tal additionally considerably acknowledged the corporate’s struggles, and introduced plans to shift in its enterprise mannequin with the launch of a brand new Cyanogen Modular OS program.

“…lately, Android and the cellular ecosystem modified,” wrote Tal. “Android has grow to be extraordinarily fragmented inflicting severe safety vulnerabilities and few or no incentives to machine producers to ship software program upgrades and/or safety patches,” he stated. “Elevated demand for lower-priced smartphones, coupled with the specs arms race, has left producers centered on scale and effectivity whereas compromising funding in software program and companies. Innovation can not occur in a vacuum, which is what we now have at this time,” Tal added.

The corporate can be shifting away from its former mannequin which concerned it transport the full-stack of the working system, the corporate says. Its new program will as a substitute permits producers to introduce their very own, customizable smartphones that use totally different components of the Cyanogen OS through dynamic modules and MODs, whereas nonetheless utilizing the ROM of their selection. Which means they might nonetheless run inventory Android on their units, then decide and select the items of Cyanogen’s expertise they wish to additionally add.

Getting out of the enterprise of making an attempt to promote its personal OS is an enormous change for the corporate, and one which Cyanogen hopes will enable it to realize scale whereas nonetheless attaining the imaginative and prescient of a “extra open Android” that’s not dominated by Google. It’s unclear how profitable that technique in the long term, however it’s clear that it was time for the corporate to make a change.

Under is the complete e mail despatched to staff:

As a few of chances are you’ll remember I’ve moved to a brand new function… Govt Chairman.

Lior is now the CEO.

Some historical past… final Oct/Nov it grew to become clear to me the “full stack” mannequin was not working… though we shipped tens of millions of units with Cyanogen OS we weren’t scaling quick sufficient nor in an environment friendly method. We should always all be pleased with these achievements and the units shipped… however in startup world even good work might not be adequate to win. I noticed presently we wanted not solely a product technique that was extra modular but additionally somebody that noticed progress as a 100M+ problem not a 10M+ problem. I began to search for somebody that may very well be a power multiplier for this progress to hitch. Lior and I first met in December of final yr… and over the months that adopted I managed to courtroom him into becoming a member of the corporate.

Lior joined… labored facet by facet with myself and the remainder of the management workforce by way of what was a really painful RIF and a pivot to a modular strategy… Cyanogen Now… which we imagine can allow the dimensions required for achievement. Myself and the board have been impressed by Lior’s calm, perseverance and answer oriented drive throughout this transition. We felt it was time for a change. After four yrs on the helm… for higher or worse… the corporate survives…. with an extremely sturdy stability sheet and a product technique that may carry us scale. I’m personally very excited handy over the reigns to somebody I’ve grown to respect as each a pal and colleague.

Be part of me in congratulating Lior as the brand new CEO of Cyanogen Inc… it’s properly deserved!

So… what the hell is an Govt Chairman? I’ll nonetheless be very lively with the corporate… engaged on product technique, recruiting and dealing with strategic companions as we evolve and develop our enterprise… nevertheless my function can be 80% exterior going through VS inner.

I hope you might be all as longing for the following chapter as am I. I wish to thank everybody within the firm on your persistence and perseverance… the previous few months have been laborious on all of us… our greatest work is forward of us.

Now carry on all of the “bullet by way of the top” jokes from the Android blogs. ; )


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