Many of you are wrong, too. Indeed, Cyanogen Inc introduced Cyanogen OS, staying vague enough about what that means vis-à-vis CyanogenMod. However, things are pretty simple. Here is what it is.
Cyanogen Inc. is a US company behind the ROM CyanogenMod (CM) – known and recognized by the entire Android community. CyanogenMod is based on the AOSP code (Android Open Source Project) provided by Google and its partners in the Open Handset Alliance (a consortium of partners around Android). CyanogenMod is open source, you can download the intermediate versions of all versions, both of Nightlies version 12.1 CM (not yet finalized) and the stable version with CM 11.
These ROMs are supported by Cyanogen, but also by the community, thereby offering versions of CyanogenMod for dozens of devices from different manufacturers.
ROM and commercial distribution
After the creation of the company Cyanogen Inc in 2013, we saw happen Cyanogen OS, a commercial product based on CyanogenMod and introduced within the framework of commercial partnerships. Indeed, OEMs (device makers) may decide to propose Cyanogen OS on their devices. The best known is the partnership between One Plus and Cyanogen, although tensions arose between the two structures, the owners of the OnePlus One benefit of Cyanogen base OS (supported by Cyanogen Inc.). In India, Micromax brand also launched the first products with Cyanogen OS under the Yu brand, de facto rival OnePlus in the country.
The all r écente announcement of a partnership between Microsoft and Cyanogen, the difference between the two products has created confusion. Cyanogen OS is in effect based on CyanogenMod and pre-installed by the OEM, it is therefore a version of CM with optimizations relating to the device but also with features and dedicated applications. One can imagine, in fact, that Microsoft applications (Skype, onedrive, OneNote …) are pre-loaded, but also that Qualcomm optimizations are installed.