Cyanogen Inc. seems to be undergoing some aggressive restructuring. The company which started off as the open source initiative, CyanogenMod, a popular open source version of Android, incorporated in 2013. The initial announcement of the incorporation shook the open source community and led many developers to doubt the open source accessibility to the CyanogenMod code. While quite controversial, the formation of Cyanogen Inc. led to many successful partnership in the Android ecosystem including the original OnePlus One and the recently announced Micromax Yureka.
In light of its success, the CEO of Cyanogen, Kirk McMaster, made a bold statement in which he said that Cyanogen was “putting a bullet through Google’s head”. In that statement, McMaster alluded to the company making an operating system (OS) based on Android which would be free of Google’s influences. In essence he set his sights to make an alternative OS to Apple’s iOS and Android. This led to Microsoft investing USD$80 million (RM326.8 million) in fledgling company. That said, the company has seen limited success in convincing mobile manufacturers to partner with them.
It seems like there was a grim air around the company’s office in Seattle this past weekend. Initial reports surfaced from Android Police regarding mass layoffs happening at Cyanogen with no clear indication as to the reasons behind it. A massive 20% of the 136-strong workforce has reportedly been laid off. This comes as a surprise to the employees as well as there was no indication prior to this. The move comes after an extended executive retreat. The main teams affected by the layoffs were essentially the Community support, systems and quality assurance teams. In addition, it is reported that Cyanogen offices in Lisbon and Indian have essentially been gutted and the larger offices in Palo Alto and Seattle scaled down. With key executives leaving the company prior to this move, the future doesn’t seem too bright for Cyanogen. From reports, the layoffs were undertaken by Steve Kondik.
As bleak as it may be, a follow up report from Re/Code has indicated that the move comes in light of Cyanogen refocusing its development into its MODs initiative. The refocusing of their efforts and the limited resources the start up has likely led to the significant layoff. The new strategy being adopted by the start up is now being overseen by new hire, Lior Tal. Tal joined the company last month after leaving Facebook.
Details on the restructuring are sparse. Even Cyanogen CEO, Kirk McMaster, has declined to comment and has remained silent on social media regarding the issue.