Microsoft deal with Cyanogen includes Cortana integration, too

Cyanogen's CEO says the coming Cyanogen Android distribution will include MIcrosoft's Cortana built into the base OS platform.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Cortana may currently "only" be an app, rather than an integrated component of the operating system, on Android, but that may soon change -- at least on the coming Cyanogen Android distribution.

Microsoft and Android operating system vendor Cyanogen announced a partnership back in April which called for Cyanogen to distribute some of Microsoft's consumer apps and services with its Open OS platform. At the time, the list of services that Microsoft officials said they'd customize and provide to Cyanogen included Office, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote and "Bing services."

It seems those unspecified Bing services include Cortana, Microsoft's personal digital assistant that is powered by Bing.

Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster told Internal Business Times this week that Cortana was coming to the Cyanogen Open OS platform.

From the story:

"Cyanogen is working with Microsoft to deeply integrate Cortana into the next version of Cyanogen OS. This is key to catapulting Cyanogen into the mass market, (McMaster) asserts: Cortana is currently available as an app on Android, but in order for it to make a real difference, it needs to be able to be integrated at the OS level so that its full potential can be leveraged."

Cyanogen is working to build an Android distribution that isn't reliant on core Google services. The company believes this OS will be a head-to-head competitor with Google's Android, Apple's iOS ... and Windows 10 Mobile, as well.McMaster is also quoted as saying he believes the coming Cyanogen OS could be totally free of Google dependencies, but not for another two to three years.

I've asked Microsoft officials to verify whether Cortana is, indeed, going to be deeply integrated into the Cyanogen OS platform. No word back so far.

Update: Oh, well. It's basically no comment from Microsoft. Here's the company's statement from a spokesperson:

"As we announced in April, we're excited to integrate Microsoft's high-value services across the Cyanogen Operating System. We have no further details to share at this time."

Microsoft recently made a test build of Cortana for Android app available to testers, and has committed to offering a Cortana for iOS app before the end of this year. Microsoft officials have said those apps would be more limited in functionality than the Cortana experience on Windows and Windows Phone, since Microsoft isn't able to integrate Cortana directly with Android and iOS the same way it does with Windows.

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