clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cyanogen is chopping its staff after its alternative Android has failed to catch on with phone makers

A pivot is apparently in the offing.


Cyanogen, which has struggled in its quest to sell Android phone makers on an alternative to Google’s version of Android, is making significant staff cuts.

A source familiar with the company confirmed the cuts, which were first reported by Android Police.

Cyanogen has raised a ton of money to fund its quest, but has convinced relatively few phone makers to use its version of Android rather than the one that includes Google services such as YouTube, Gmail and the Google Play store. Its highest-profile products include a phone from India’s Micromax and the original OnePlus One.

The startup is said to be working on a new strategy being overseen by newly hired Chief Operating Officer Lior Tal, who joined the company last month from Facebook.

Cyanogen CEO Kirk McMaster declined to comment on the moves.

Several top executives have also departed in recent weeks, including longtime product head Dave Herman.

McMaster had pitched Cyanogen as a way for phone makers to get the benefits of Android without having to build it solely around the services of one company.

“We’re kind of like Switzerland,” McMaster said in a 2014 interview.

But even with some support from Microsoft, Cyanogen had a tough time getting enough rival services lined up to make that pitch compelling.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.