Cyanogen, Inc. Lays Off 20% of Staff; May Pivot to Apps

"Cyanogen: We'll put a bullet through Google's head."

The infamous quote from Cyanogen, Inc. CEO Kirk McMaster, taken from an interview with Forbes in 2015. And the image accompanying an XDA tweet, bringing news that the days of Cyanogen OS may, in fact, be numbered.

Android Police reported Friday afternoon that a significant portion of the company’s workforce have been cut loose:

Accounts indicate that employees were called into meetings, sometimes in groups, and told they were being let go. In Seattle, Steve Kondik himself is allegedly conducting the layoffs. At this time, we’ve been told roughly 30 out of the 136 people Cyanogen Inc. employs – around 20% of the workforce – have been let go. It’s unclear if that number may change more in the coming hours and days. According to one source, the systems and QA teams in Palo Alto and Seattle have been heavily cut, with Cyanogen’s smaller offices in Lisbon and India reportedly being essentially gutted. Community support members were allegedly removed, too.

There are rumours that the company will abandon their Android OS entirely, focusing on apps instead. The employees laid off were mostly those working in the open source arm of the company. It won’t mean the end of CyanogenMod, necessarily, because the ROM is open source. But it’s definitely bad news for the commercial version of that product, Cyanogen OS.

It’s been a pretty bumpy ride for Cyanogen as a company. Almost immediately after incorporating in the 2013 one of the lead developers quit over software licensing issues. Then there was the very public breakup with OnePlus; it seems to me that Cyanogen was never the same after that, no matter how much VC money they managed to get.

It’s a shame, because Cyanogen OS on the OnePlus One was fantastic. I had thought at one point that Cyanogen had smartly positioned itself as the go-to provider of English software for the rising tide of Chinese Android phones; problem is, except for OnePlus those phones—the Elephones, Ulephones, Doogees and more—have yet to arrive on western shores.

Sources: Android Police (1) (2) (3), @XDA Developers on Twitter

Leave a Reply