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Cyanogen and OnePlus bury the hatchet

cyanogenAfter five months of legal proceedings later, Cyanogen and OnePlus have resolved their dispute through mutual consent. Cyanogen says OnePlus One users in India would continue to receive Over The Air (OTA) updates from Cyanogen, along with users around the world.

This follows a restriction placed on OnePlus, which was stopped from shipping or selling its smartphones in India following an interim injunction by the Delhi High Court in December last year. Micromax had complained that its exclusive rights had been infringed by OnePlus launching OnePlus One in the country which was running a custom version of Cyanogenmod. Micromax has an exclusive license for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar regions from the same company, while OnePlus has a global non-exclusive license for Cyanogen. The OS maker has repeatedly changed its stance during the course of this dispute.

Earlier this week, Cyanogen raised an undisclosed amount of strategic investment from electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The platform said it would use the funding to add employees to its team and accelerate software development of the open OS platform. Note that, less than two months ago, Azim Premji’s PremjiInvest led a Series C funding round of $80 million in Cyanogen. Among the other investors who participated in this round were Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, Telefonica Ventures, Rupert Murdoch and Andreessen Horowitz along with existing investors.


The Cyanogen-OnePlus-Micromax timeline

A timeline of the events leading to the dispute are as follows:

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January 2014: OnePlus announces its partnership with Cyanogen as part of which Cyanogen developed a custom version of its Android deployment Cyanogenmod called Cyanogenmod 11S for the OnePlus One. OnePlus was granted a two-year limited non-exclusive license to use Cyanogen’s trademarks and software across the entire world until January 31, 2016 (except for Mainland China). The agreement was limited to online distribution.

Mid 2014: Micromax signs a three year agreement to integrate and distribute Cyanogen’s core operating systems as well as its ambient services (like remote wiping, privacy guard, and phone locating among others), and applications (Apollo music player, Clock widget and Sound recorder among others). This agreement came into effect from September 26, 2014, and gave Micromax exclusive licenses for the aforementioned regions.

August 2014: Micromax finds out about OnePlus’s plans to enter the Indian market with Cyanogen’s operating system and requests Cyanogen via email to take preventive measures. In response, Cyanogen confirms that exclusive rights will be transferred to Micromax post the agreement’s effective date (September 26th).

November 2014: Cyanogen tells OnePlus it wants to terminate the partnership. The same month OnePlus stops using Cyanogen branding. By the end of the month, Micromax received an email from OnePlus stating that it was aware of the company’s agreement with Cyanogen and wanted to discuss some sort of arrangement wherein OnePlus could use Cyanogen’s products in the Indian market. Note that Micromax claims that OnePlus has been aware of its exclusive deal with Cyanogen all along. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei however claims that they came to know about the agreement on November 26, 2014.

27th November 2014: After several requests, Cyanogen apparently agreed to provide OTA support to OnePlus users in India only for December 2014. However, later that same day, it said it wouldn’t support any devices shipped in India with future updates, other than those from Micromax. Following this, OnePlus told its Indian users that they would not be able to roll out Cyanogen-based software updates for its phones.

December 2014: Just a day prior to OnePlus’ India launch, it filed a lawsuit for injunction against Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain and others, in anticipation of Micromax or Cyanogen filing a lawsuit against OnePlus. On the 4th, Cyanogen said it would support OTA updates for all global devices, including those in India, only to clarify that ‘global devices’ did not include India, three days later.

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