We’re going to take Android away from Google
That is the big highlight quote from this article in the Wall Street Journal about Cyanogen. CEO Kirt McMaster said just that. Knowing only that, the logical response is, ‘Good luck with that!’ But is there actually reason to think this is a real possibility? Could Cyanogen actually compete with Google as more than a niche/hobbyist offering?
In a word, yes. It is still a bit of a longshot. Google is, after all, still Google. They have all the resources, and plenty of incentive, to keep the status quo. But that Wallstreet Journal article also contains another interesting bit of news. In a recent round of funding, one of the investors in Cyanogen is Microsoft. That certainly alters the perspective, doesn’t it?
What Cyanogen really needs in order to compete is to be the shipping OS on more phones. The average user is just not going to go through the hassle of replacing their Google version of Android with Cyanogen. Being able to point you your pal Microsoft can only help when those deals are being negotiated. They already have a few such deals. If this latest round of funding means the skids are greased a bit as they work out more and bigger deals, then what we are saying is, they’ve got a shot.
OS/2, This Is Your Life
Do you remember IBM’s OS/2? Chances are that if you have been in the computer game for a while, it at least rings a few bells. And if you have been in the computer game for a long while, you may have even used it back in the day. But how well do you know the history of OS/2 and its place in the war between IBM and Microsoft for PC dominance? It is a fascinating story, chronicled amazingly well in this post at Ars Technica.
Jeremy Reimer walks through the whole saga, from the first deal between the companies, to the crushing end when IBM finally threw in the towel and sold their PC business to Lenovo. Along the way there are all kinds of interesting bits. Like the fact that OS/2 2.0 came on 21 floppies. Remember that? Or how the OS/2 Warp name ran afoul of Paramount and Star Trek. You may also be surprised to learn that OS/2 is actuallly still in use today, under a different name. And one of my favorites, this horrible ad. It was the early 90s. Why would the aging cast of M.A.S.H. seem like a good marketing idea?
The whole thing is a fantastic look at a part of our computing history that really shaped the world as we know it today. I’m also fascinated by the fact that it really could have gone the other way. OS/2 wasn’t without its merits. This paragraph sums it up well.
It makes one wonder what might have been.