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Cyanogen co-founder Steve Kondik in the company's Seattle office.
Cyanogen co-founder Steve Kondik in the company’s Seattle office.

Microsoft’s apps and services will be integrated with the Android-based Cyanogen operating system, under a new strategic partnership announced by the companies this morning.

Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of business development, joined the company from Qualcomm last year.
Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of business development, joined the company from Qualcomm last year.

Cyanogen, which has offices in Seattle and Palo Alto, says in a new release that it will “integrate and distribute Microsoft’s consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. In addition, “Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences.”

The agreement covers Bing services, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office.

Update: Cyanogen has clarified how the apps will be integrated: “Given the complexity of handset manufacturers, distribution methods, and carriers, there is more than one way MSFT apps can show up. Cyanogen is predicated on user choice with an open operating system that is bringing best in class products and services to consumers. MSFT apps will be surfaced contextually and will always be downloadable.”

Cyanogen Inc. was formed in 2013 to commercialize the CyanogenMod open-source project, which Steve Kondik started in 2009. The company has grown to more than 80 people across offices in Seattle and Palo Alto, Calif., and it has been aiming for a broader reach with new hardware partnerships.

At one point, Microsoft was reported to be considering an investment in Cyanogen, but the Redmond company ultimately wasn’t among the investors in Cyanogen’s $80 million Series C round.

The announcement today follows Microsoft’s deal to pre-install its apps — including Microsoft Office, Skype and OneDrive — on Samsung’s Android-based smartphones and tablets. The deals are part of a broader strategy under Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to expand the footprint of Microsoft’s apps and cloud services, moving beyond Windows to reach a broader audience on tablets and phones.

It’s also Microsoft’s latest industry partnership under global business development chief Peggy Johnson, who joined the company from chipmaker Qualcomm last year, marking Nadella’s first major outside hire.

“We aspire to have our tools within arm’s reach of everyone, to empower them in all aspects of their lives. This partnership represents another important step towards that ambition,” Johnson said in a statement.  “We’ll continue to deliver world-class experiences across productivity and communications on Windows, and we’re delighted that Cyanogen users will soon be able to take advantage of those same powerful services.”

Microsoft already makes billions on Android devices through patent licensing deals with a wide variety of Android device makers, based on the Redmond company’s assertion that Android violates its patented technology. We’re checking to see if the Cyanogen deal includes any patent provisions.

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