Emails Reveal Cyanogen OnePlus Relationship Less Than Cozy

Business / Mobile / Tech

Development site XDA Developers has obtained documents from the ongoing court battle between Micromax and OnePlus’s fight over the use of the Cyanogen OS mobile operating system.  The court documents highlight a Cyanogen OnePlus relationship that may have been far more strained that previously known.

OnePlus contends that the exclusive rights agreement between Micromax and Cyanogen in India violates their earlier non-exclusive agreement with makers of the popular Android-based operating system, a claim that Micromax denies.  But throughout the court order, one thing becomes clear; the relationship between Cyanogen and OnePlus appears to have degraded quickly and in a way that took officials at OnePlus by surprise.  Emails included in the court order show a series of contentious exchanges between Carl Pei of OnePlus and Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen

From : Carl Pei Date : Nov 17, 2014 at 8.26 PM Subject : Re : Cyanogen end. To : Kirt McMaster

I’m guessing there’s some misunderstanding. Shall we talk about it during your visit in December?

The response from McMaster:

From : Kirt McMaster Date : Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 12.08 PM Subject : Re : Cyanogen end. To : Carl Pei

Carl. We will be terminating our relationship with one plus. I will get back to you with more details shortly.

And 18 minutes after that, just to make the point clear:

From : Kirt McMaster Date : Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 12.36 PM Subject : Re : Cyanogen end. To : Carl Pei

No misunderstanding. We have no reason to meet in sz (Shenzhen, China, location of OnePlus’ headquarters). We are terminating.

The exchange culminates with this final email from McMasters, sent to Carl Pei at OnePlus, copying Vikram Natrajan (Vice President of Global Partnerships and Distribution) and Frank Montes (General legal counsel) of Cyanogen:

From : Kirt McMaster Date : Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 2.59 PM Subject : Cyanogen termination To : Carl Pei Cc: Vikram Natrajan , Frank Montes

Carl….Any and all communication in regard to oneplus and cyanogen must go through vik and myself.

We will halt support for oneplus devices immediately…..I am also requesting that oneplus stop using the cyanogen brand in any marketing collateral or communication in India. [sic]

Frank also cc’d is our general council. If you have any specific questions send them to all of us.


Sent from my iPad

Cooler heads seem to have prevailed the following week, as McMasters seemed to be more willing to compromise with OnePlus and not completely sever ties:

From : Kirt McMaster Date : Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 6.18 PM Subject : Re : Let me know when we can have a call To : Carl Pei

Sure. 8pm?

I’d like to reach a compromise here. Ship stock android in India. No mention of Cyngn in India and I will keep supporting oneplus for rest of world. And we can continue dialogue for other devices etc. [sic]

The documents appear to paint a picture of OnePlus as acting in good faith and wronged by a company with whom they had an agreement with.  Cyanogen, in turn, comes off as far from professional both in the unilateral termination of their agreement with OnePlus and the casual method by which the termination occured.  Cyanogen’s conduct comes at a curious time for a company looking to establish its name and build a world-wide customer base.  The case, being heard in India, has yet to be resolved and the expectation is that the legal battle will follow Cyanogen home to California.

Please chime in with your thoughts on how you think this will affect Cyanogen’s reputation.  Comment below, or on Google+ Facebook or Twitter.

  Source: XDA Developers  Source: Android Police  Source: District Courts Of India Judgment/Causelist Information System


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