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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 Tony Swash on 3/14/2013 12:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
You pointed to market share charts when Apple was doing great, and then shied away from them as they are slipping. Suddenly the marketshare metric you championed means nothing.

I am a bit perplexed as to what you mean. Given that outside of the tablet and music player market Apple has never had a large or majority market share I am not sure what I was supposed to have championed.

I hope we are talking about the same thing.

Just to clarify: market share as it is usually bandied about is the share of units sold.

Market share used to be a reasonable good proxy indicator of relative platform strength in the PC days when the higher the market share of units sold generally the stronger a given platform was. However in the mobile device markets higher market share (share of units sold) no longer automatically translates into stronger platform performance. That, I think, is a fairly uncontroversial point to make as it is immediately clear from even a cursory examination of the abundant data on different metrics for platform performance that iOS is out performing Android as a platform, and out performing it by a big margin, even though iOS trails behind Android in terms of units sold.

I would have thought that the fact that there is a disconnect between market share of units sold and platform performance is indisputable and I found it surprising that such a statement is even slightly controversial. Nobody can look at the evidence and data measuring platform performance of mobile devices and fail to see that it does not track market share of units sold.

RE: Larry Page's announcement decoded
By theapparition on 3/14/2013 2:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not debating the merit of the things you post, I'm debating what you post. I thought that was abundantly clear.

You post chart dujour to suit whatever argument dujour you favor this month. And you back that standpoint ferociously without ever acknowledging you were wrong in many cases. If I was a loser, I'd spend the time to look up some of the ridiculous claims you've made at DT. Your speculation that Google is in trouble carries about as much merit as those who claim Apple is in trouble.

By retrospooty on 3/14/2013 5:19:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yup... His famous "Android is a spectacular failure" sticks in my mind. He said that within the last month. LOL. Google and Android are firing on all pistons and gaining momentum every month that goes by.

The truth is he (for some unknown reason) cares so much about Apple that he really feels Google is a threat so he lashes out like a child. The more Tony posts , the more worried he is... and he posts an awful lot lately ;)

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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