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Currently head of apps and Chrome browser takes his place

Just months after Apple, Inc. (AAPL) shook up its ranks with the departure of former iOS senior vice president Scott Forstall, Google Inc. (GOOG) has announced its own executive shakeup in its mobile operating system ranks.  Google has announced that Android co-founder and former Android Inc. CEO Andy Rubin will be stepping down from his post as head of development for the mobile operating system.

I. Google's Smartphone Team Gets Fresh Blood

Mr. Rubin will remain at Google, but will begin an undefined "new chapter" at the company.  Google CEO Larry Page writes, "Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android—and with a really strong leadership team in place—Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!"

Taking those reins will be Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai, a leader on the Chrome browser and Android apps teams.  Mr. Pichai holds a M.S. degree from Stanford University and a MBA from Wharton School, where he earned numerous honors.

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai will lead the Android team. [Image Source: Reuters]

Mr. Pichai will continue to manage Chrome OS in addition to the Android ecosystem, which today consists of 750+ million devices and hundreds of thousands of apps.  There's a great deal of speculation that Google may merge Chrome OS with the Android platform, a move that could reenergize the struggling Google laptop operating system.

II. A Decade With Android

Andy Rubin had been leading the Android team for a decade.

He started his career in the 1980s as a roboticist with Carl Zeiss Meditec AG (ETR:AFX).  He first jumped into the consumer electronics industry with a 1989-1992 stint in Apple's manufacturing department.  From there he went on to work as engineer at MagicCap, a mid-1990s PDA operating system maker, which was run by later iPod co-creator Tony Fadell.  

After MagicCap was folded into the MSN TV project, Andy Rubin set out on his own in 1999 co-founding Danger Inc., an all-in-one hardware/software/services firm that created the "Sidekick", a top early proto-smartphone.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) would eventually acquire Danger in Feb. 2008 for $500M USD.

Andy Rubin
Andy Rubin (left) at the 2011 unveil of the Galaxy Nexus. [Image Source: Reuters]

But by then Mr. Rubin had already left.  In 2003 he left his position as Danger Inc. CEO to co-found a new mobile operating systems startup, Android Inc.  He served as CEO at Android until 2005, when Google acquired the company.

The Android unit would continue to quietly develop its product under Mr. Rubin's leadership until 2007, when the smartphone OS stormed onto the market.  Despite its high profile backing, Android would not catch on in a big way until 2009.  But slowly, it accelerated its sales pace, thanks to strong third party support.  By 2010 it was the market leader in unit sales.  Today it is by far the world's most used smartphone operating system.

While coverage of Mr. Rubin's departure will likely jump on the angle of its timing with respect to Mr. Forstall's departure, the departures appear merely coincidental; unlike Mr. Forstall, Mr. Rubin was widely regarded as well-liked and has not been forced out of the greater Google empire.

Source: Google

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RE: Larry Page's announcement decoded
By RufusM on 3/14/2013 12:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
Android is one thing, the Google Play store is another. Of course they're going to ban apps that block ads. It's Google and they make a ton of money off of ads.

Android is a hedge against being blocked out of the mobile OS space. Google saw mobile as being huge and they knew they needed a seat at the table.

Motorola is a hedge against being blocked out by Android manufacturers such as Samsung. Google saw Samsung and others could fork Android and cut Google out of the loop. They also saw the kind of money being made by Apple and wanted in on the action. They needed to have some avenue of control to maintain their seat at the table.

Google+ is a hedge against Facebook and other social avenues blocking them out. Google saw they needed to have their own social app they could control to give them more/better user signals.

Google's been killing off the apps and services they don't see long term value in and investing in those they do. In a few years I would be surprised if Google/Motorola does NOT have a top tier phone on virtually all carriers. They are in a position to subsidize the phone with ad revenue through their various services and make profit off the device itself. If Android OEMs drop off, where are they going to go? Windows is about their only choice other than some other forked version of Android, which has problems of its own because they wouldn't get Google's apps.

For better or worse, going forward, to compete in mobile vertical integration is needed between hardware/software/services. To me, great services are the hardest part to produce our of those three things.

I think Google is in a better position than anyone to make bank on all three. Microsoft also has a great opportunity since they have services and software, but they need the hardware. Apple has the hardware and software nailed but not services.

By Tony Swash on 3/14/2013 2:01:30 PM , Rating: 1
This a very good article on Rubin's departure from The Guardian,

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