Steve Kondik has left a statement about the rather troubling news coming out of Cyanogen Inc. this week on the [private] official CyanogenMod developer Google+ community, and things aren't looking pretty. While Kondik doesn't say outright that he's leaving "the Inc," it's pretty strongly implied that he wants nothing to do with the company anymore. The problem is that while Kondik wants out and to move on with the CyanogenMod project, there could be significant legal hurdles in fully detangling the open source community project from the for-profit venture.

Kondik also essentially confirms what many had thought for years: the Inc. was badly mismanaged, the executive leadership frequently disagreed, and Kirt McMaster's moronic comments about putting bullets through heads were an unending source of headaches and embarrassment for all. Kondik doesn't mince words, and openly blames McMaster for the company's numerous false starts, media snafus, and confusing business model:

My co-founder [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. The worst of it happened internally and it became a generally shitty place to work because of all the conflict. I think the backlash from those initial missteps convinced him that what we had needed to be destroyed.

I think it's pretty clear where Kondik believes the problem with Cyanogen Inc. was centered, and while I am not privy to this larger history in the way Kondik is, I'm inclined to agree that McMaster has always seemed grossly incompetent in his role. Of course, Kondik is likely to avoid emphasizing any of the poor decisions he made (like bringing McMaster on in the first place) in a post that essentially seeks to damn the whole company for burning him, but hey: I can see where he's coming from. The feelings are clearly still raw, and Kondik does place some of the blame at his own feet:

With plenty of cash in the bank, the new guys tore the place down and will go and do whatever they are going to do. It's probably for the best and I wish them luck, but what I was trying to do, is over. Boo hoo, right? 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.

What's next, apparently, is the question of reenergizing and reorganizing the CyanogenMod community effort. The problem with that is that Cyanogen Inc. has control over some of the brand and trademarks around Cyanogen and CyanogenMod, and so the whole thing will likely have to be forked and rebranded, at least according to Kondik.

Kondik has suggested in the comments of the post that he may attempt to crowdfund a relaunch of the ROM and structure a new company around the effort as a 501.3c - a non-profit organization. Of course, this is just spit-balling among some community organizers, and does not represent an official plan going forward.

Here is the full post by Steve.

Now what?

I've been pretty quiet about the stuff that's been going on but I'm at least ready to tell the short version and hopefully get some input on what to do next because CM is very much affected.

We started the Inc with the intent to bring CM 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. We also had a lot of supporters and next steps to get where we needed to be. We were able to raise a lot more money thanks to the good work done by the community and the company, but money always changes things.

Unfortunately once we started to see success, my co-founder 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. The worst of it happened internally and it became a generally shitty place to work because of all the conflict. I think the backlash from those initial missteps convinced him that what we had needed to be destroyed. By the time I was able to stop it, I was outgunned and outnumbered by a team on the same mission. We essentially stopped shipping after awhile because there ended up being two sides, split between the original vision and this new amorphous blob that nobody could figure out let alone build. Eventually I tried to salvage it with a pivot that would have brought us closer to something that would have worked, but the new guys had other plans. With plenty of cash in the bank, the new guys tore the place down and will go and do whatever they are going to do. It's probably for the best and I wish them luck, but what I was trying to do, is over.

Boo hoo, right? 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 sorry to everyone I let down. I wish I had made different choices and trusted different people (especially one in particular early on), but all I care about now is figuring out what to do next.

A big part of "next" is CM. It costs a lot of money to keep the servers running at this scale, and I figure we have about two months to GTFO. There are also IP issues. And the haters are getting to be too much to handle. On the other hand, it's been a huge part of my life for 8 years now and I don't want to let go of it.

A few questions for the community first..

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?

Thanks for listening :(

JBQ chimed in regarding that WWJBQD.

And now it's official. A new blog post on Cyngn.com confirms that the company has "separated ties with Steve Kondik, allowing him to continue to forge his path as he sees fit." Read: he's out. Steve thanked his users and followers shortly thereafter on Twitter:

Followed by what might be one of the best Android-related tweets of all time:

Such is life.