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Cyanogen Inc. co-founder Steve Kondik speaks out about company failings

Cyanogen Inc. co-founder Steve Kondik has posted a statement explaining his views on the company's recent problems and partner Kirt McMaster.

Published onDecember 1, 2016


Cyanogen Inc co-founder Steve Kondik has posted a statement regarding news this week that the company is closing its Seattle office and laying off staff. In the statement, published on the private CyanogenMod developer Google+ community, Kondik offers his thoughts on what happened at Cyanogen and what the future holds.

“We started the Inc with the intent to bring CM [CyanogenMod] to more people and ship on devices out of the box. I hired everyone I knew, including a lot of community folks, moved everyone to Seattle and we got to work. We got the project in order after years of technical debt, and started to have some successes with our first devices,” Kondik wrote.

“Unfortunately once we started to see success, my co-founder [Kirt McMaster] apparently became unhappy with running the business and not owning the vision. This is when the ‘bullet to the head’ and other misguided media nonsense started, and the bad business deals were signed. Being second in command, all I could do was try and stop it, do damage control, and hope every day that something new didn’t happen.”

cyanogen kirt mcmaster steve kondik

Cyanogen Inc’s Kirt McMaster (above right) has come under fire several times in recent years, notably for making provocative remarks like “we’re attempting to take Android away from Google,” and his interactions with OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei when the companies were ending their partnership.

As well as referencing McMaster’s role in Cyanogen Inc’s recent problems, Kondik also acknowledges his own contribution. “I fucked up and got fucked over. It’s the Silicon Valley way, isn’t it? First world problems in the extreme? It hurts, a lot. I lost a lot of friends, and I’m truely [sic] sorry to everyone I let down. I wish I had made different choices and trusted different people (especially one in particularly early on), but all I care about now is figuring out what to do next.”

CEO denies rumors that Cyanogen is shifting focus to apps
New Cyanogen logo

Whether Kondik will stay at Cyanogen Inc remains to be seen, however he stated: “It’s been a huge part of my life for 8 years now and I don’t want to let go of it,” before asking the Cyanogen community about what direction to go in from here.

“1. Should we keep going? Is it worth it? I’m sure I can crowdfund the project, especially if we did something like “Darkside” and really revitalized it. I’m not sure of the endgame yet, though.

2. The main IP is the brand and trademarks. I don’t know if I can get it back without a fight, and I’m tired of fighting. We will likely need to fork and rebrand, which might not be a bad thing. Would you support it?

3. If we reboot, what should we do differently?

4. The rest of the ROM community seems to be highly dependent on us, but simultaneously wants us dead. How on earth do you fix this?

5. WWJBQD?” [Likely “What would Jean-Baptiste Quéru do?“. Jean-Baptiste Quéru is the former technical lead at Google’s Android Open Source Project.]

What are your thoughts on the current situation at Cyanogen Inc? Let us know in the comments.

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