A deal between the two companies puts Microsoft apps and services on devices that run Cyanogen's operating system, which it offers to mobile users as a way to replace Google's version of Android. According to its website, Cyanogen wants to make inroads into the mobile market and become a preloaded OS on devices.
Cyanogen's mobile OS is an open-computing platform based on Android, only it does not rely on Google apps or services. Android is an open-source platform, which allows developers such as Cyanogen to tinker with its source code.
The main market for Cyanogen to tap might be China, where Google Play hasn't been available since Google exited five years ago because of government censorship issues.
The world's mobile market remains dominated by two operating systems. Android and Apple's iOS accounted for 96.3 percent of the world's smartphone shipments in 2014, according to International Data Corp.