Cortana is currently a lackluster excuse for a voice assistant in the form of a recently-released beta app, but that might change soon. According to a report from the IB Times, Cyanogen — thanks to a partnership that was announced earlier this year — is working with the Redmond company to deeply integrate its voice assistant into the next distribution of its Cyanogen OS…

One of the main problems with Cortana, as well as apps like Hound and other voice assistants, is that they can’t really take advantage of the same OS-level integration that’s found with Google’s own voice offerings. That’s where Cyanogen comes in. Since Kirt McMaster’s team distributes a very popular custom ROM of Android (one that has as of late been incorporated on some handsets by default), they can take software like Cortana and integrate it on an OS level. It’s yet another step in Microsoft’s invasion of Android.

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.

In what was dreadful news for long-time fans of Cyanogen’s work in the custom Android-based ROM space, the group announced five months ago that it was beginning a partnership with Microsoft, which included pre-installing many of the Redmond company’s consumer-facing apps on its mobile OS. At the time, this included “Binglike services,” Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Microsoft Office. It looks like Cortana is part of “Bing services,” and has been officially added to the list.

It seems that Microsoft is part of Cyaonogen’s long-term plans. In the end, the company wants to have “no dependencies on Google,” and McMaster reportedly asserts that this can happen in the next two-to-three years. “From an evolutionary standpoint, Android is a platform that enables us to springboard into something else,” he said. And with backers like Andreessen Horowitz, Qualcomm, Foxconn, and Microsoft, it seems more plausible than ever that what was once a fork of Android could become an Android competitor fueled by Google competitors.

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Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.