BREAKING: Samsung Mobile Buys Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik For An Undisclosed Amount


In other acquisition news, it appears Android developer extraordinaire, Steve Kondik AKA Cyanogen, was picked up by Samsung Mobile for an undisclosed amount according the recent change in his  “work” status today on Facebook. Seems Steve found himself a software engineering job for the Korean based company thanks to his exceptional work on CyanogenMod, a custom ROM supporting a broad range of devices built entirely from Android open source. CyanogenMod brings users a slightly enhanced “Google experience” to their phones, untouched by a lot of the UI fluff and changes found in many OEM devices like HTC’s Sense UI and Samsung’s TouchWiz.

Still unsure what this means for CyanogenMod (Steve assures us CM will remain a side project) or if we’re getting closers to a release of a Samsung branded “Cyanogen Phone,” seeing how Samsung recently provided the CyanogenMod team with a handful of Galaxy S II’s to tinker around with. Either way we, at Phandroid, wish Steve the best of luck in his new job venture! Thanks, for everything you’ve done and continue to do for the community!

***UPDATE: As a courtesy, I’ll ask that you don’t go flooding his Facebook with friend requests. It is his personal account for his close friends and family. Feel free to find him on add him to a circle on Google+ or follow him on Twitter instead. Thanks for your understanding.

[Via GadgetUniversity]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Wow. Maybe they are just going to use him to get updates out faster. x)

      1. This is may be terrible news… Not that I’m not happy for him, but this may lure him away from working on cyanogenmod. A lot a devs rely on his work to push roms, I just hope he continues to do what he’s been doing…

        1. The only downside I see is that CM will become intellectual property of Samsung,…potentially this could be very bad news. Typical Corporate Red Tape may prevent him from functioning as DEV in his Side Project CM, But I hope it doesn’t. Technically what you do in your employ with any technology Based Company is property of said company, However I am not sure if your side activities are affected out side of the Office….so to speak

          1. Any work you do while under the employ of a company that relates to the business of that company is owned by that company. From the moment he took the job, any CM work he does belongs to Samsung, regardless of whether it’s at the office or at home.

            He can make birdhouses to his heart’s content, because Samsung isn’t in the business of birdhouses, but he can’t do anything phone software related unless permitted (in writing) by his corporate overlords.

          2. It depends upon your contract. I’ve worked under contracts before like the one you’ve mentioned, but that isn’t always the case. Some are simple non-disclosure contracts, others are non-comp (meaning you promise not to do anything that would put you in direct competition with the entity currently employing you for a predetermined amount of time). There are different types of contracts depending on the project you’re working on and depending upon the government/corporation employing you, whether or not you are working on proprietary or classified projects, etc. Myself, and more than a few people I know have existing patents and/or copyrights that absolutely in no way, shape, or form become the property of an employer (unless they are planning on paying for them). If you start working for a government/corporation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they automatically own everything you’ve done to date regarding the project or intellectual property you’re working on; it all comes down to the wording of your contract.
            That said, I don’t know Steve Kondik, how his contract was written, or even how CyanogenMod is structured. I doubt that if they actually did acquire Team Douche in the process (it isn’t one person), that they’d put an end to it. It wouldn’t make much sense to hand a dev team some new phones, then hire one of them and end their project, (going from good PR to the other end of the spectrum) especially something like Cyanogen which is hardly in competition with Samsung (or any manufacturer, for that matter). Yes, there are thousands of extenuating circumstances and variables that could come into play here, and quite honestly, I don’t care enough to start listing them or reading about them either.
            Time will tell, as always. Good luck, Steve!

          3. “any CM work he does belongs to Samsung”

            Not really. CM is based on Android, and Samsung does not own Android.

        2. Cm is an overrated pile of crap. You couldn’t pay me to put that garbage on my phone.


  3. They are doing this because they now can stop with the updates like they already do. They will figure he will just make side work and keep the phones updated since in the us samsung blows with updates.

    1. Im with you..its actually why I stopped buying Sammy phones. Im ok with CM doing the updates…his stuff was excellent and lightweight. If it gets me the latest builds quicker with his overlay, thats great with me.

  4. Crap, so now we have Samsung with Cyanogen (if not the UI the genius behind it); Motorola with Google ownership; and HTC with its generally awesome (in my opinion) phones.

    It’s like Android heaven. Although my next phone decision will be pure hell because of this.

  5. Question is: After doing Samsung’s bidding all day, will he actually be up to doing his side project after that? He might think he will but burnout sucks.

    1. My guess is he won’t be able to. Doing “side jobs” (that can benefit competitor’s products) related to your paid job is generally frowned upon. You can pretty much kiss CM ROMS goodbye.

      1. He may have founded Cyanogenmod but there is a whole team of voluntary developers behind it now. Even if he does have to drop it, cyanogenmod will continue to live on through them.

        1. i really hope so i love CM7 and as long as its kept as well as steve has we’re in good hands

      2. Android is open source, I seriously doubt that Samsung can keep him from developing his own projects for Android on his own time.

  6. Also why is his name blacked out when it’s in the title xD

    Side note: Am I the only one with a sudden urge to add Android to my interests and then friend request Steve?

    1. Don’t. He wont add you and his Facebook is for his personal friends ONLY. Should probably update the post…… =/

      1. I assumed as much, although I did add Android to my interests…

        But yes I would agree with the second part ;]

  7. Together they can kill Apple! :D

  8. 2012 will be one hell of excitement.

    1. Stick to your native language forums you sound silly.

      1. I dunno…a “hell of excitement” sound kinda intriguing to me.

  9. Happy for him and wish him well. Cyanogenmod has been keeping my T-mobile HD2 running along well past its prime(though honestly what program really NEEDS a dual core processor anyhow?).

  10. Maybe Samsung finally realized its time to stop ripping off the iPhone’s UI and actually make a killer Android UI. I’d say this is a good place to start. I hope he scored a pretty influential role and can really get TouchWiz sorted out or abolished completely. CM7 is way better than TouchWiz.

    1. I love cm so this can only be good in my opinion, but in response to the touchwiz and sense comment… Don’t forget that cm has no launcher customization. It comes aosp or with launcher pro, so I’m not sure they’d lean on him for skinning

    2. Sadly, CM7 on a SGS2 is a step backward, IMHO. TW 4.0 does not suck (neither did 3.0, for that matter, but 4.0 looks better and adds even more functionality).

      CM7 for most other devices (particularly HTC devices) is great though.

  11. This is a pretty amazing move. I don’t think they are quite done acquiring people just yet. I would not be surprised if they also inquire on MIUI or Meizu.

  12. i haven’t ever ran CM7, however i have seen his work and know he is amazing when it comes getting the most out of these smartphones. I’m willing to bet he is making a pretty penny. lol. I just wish i had more experience in rooting and flashing custom roms. i want to get CM7 on my g2x.

  13. Brilliant move Samsung. And this goes out to the two boneheads on Motorola’s bootloader blog who called me an idiot, a moron, and stupid when I suggested that phone manufacturers should should hire or contract these developers to either build their ROMs or provide “certified” ROMs so that us Android geeks can still enjoy some Android goodness with a variety of OS’s. They said developers would never work for carriers or manufacturers. I hope you two jerks are reading this cause….how do you like me now punks?

  14. Can anyone else see that this is an elaborate plan by samsung to kill the modding community. I see it now they work poor Steve 24 hours a day and put an Iphone in front of him and tell him to copy that so that he’s too tired and frustrated to work on CM. Who will be the next modder that Samsung swallows?

    1. Paranoid much? :)

      It’s a PR win for Samsung, earning more love with the enthusiast community (love HTC has been losing and now trying to regain), and giving Samsung access to some real expertise, and with that perhaps a better insight into what something like TouchWiz 5.0 should mean. Along with maybe a clue that the name should be retired, no matter how good TW 4.0 was.

      It’ll give Kondik some serious experience, and access to bits of Android that he may not have been able to get before. And most importantly, especially in this wonderful economic climate, it’ll give the man a well-paying job.

      Chances are, he’ll be working in Texas or California, not very likely they’ll move him to Seoul.

  15. This is epic news, my next handset might just be a Samsung device if he’s working for them. Hopefully he can still work on Cynaogen mod. I know I and many wouldn’t want it to die.

  16. Good for him. He has done this great service for free to those of us that use his mods. I have a feeling that CM work will not change and that it will be customized for Samsung first. This will allow Samsung to develop the hardware and CM to develop the software.

  17. I always thought Google was stupid for not hiring him and maybe his team as well. I mean they churn out customizations seemingly faster than Google can make Android releases. I know Google wants to leave some things up to the OEMs but there are some things that should just be standard in Android like the theming.

  18. only worry is that Samsung will make Cyanogen can the CM projects indirectly due to conflict of interest.

    it will only be natural for Samsung to want all the goodies to be limited to Samsung Android phones only.

    luckily we still have the other team members……….i hope.

  19. I can only see this as a detraction from cyanogenmod with little to no gain in touch wiz crap…I love cm7 and would hate to see slowed updates…

  20. Why are so many people worried about this? It’s not like Cyanogenmod was his day job before. Why would it be any different now?

  21. Why would anyone want to move from beautiful Pennsylvania to South Korea? :)

  22. I had CM on my phone for a couple weeks and it was by far the worst ROM I have ever run. Hopefully Samsung doesn’t put this guy in charge of OS updates…

  23. excited to see what he’s going to do with Samsung! Our fans are thrilled! (@advancedtechkr)

  24. Wait a minute, wait a minute… Are you baseing this fact off of a simple Facebook status change? Did you confirm this with the man himself? Where did this term “buying” come in? This is the worst evidence of blogging hype I have seen in a while. It may or may not be “officially” true, however it is hard to believe that you would even make up a long huge story about a damn Facebook post until you have confirmed the facts.

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