Andy Rubin, inventor of the Android operating system for smartphones stepped down from heading the Google division in a surprise move March 13.
Google CEO Larry Page wrote on the company’s blog “Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google.”
Rubin had founded Android as a start-up in 2003 and pitched the idea to Google in 2004. Google acquired the company in 2005 with Rubin at the helm of the division. Rubin will stay at Google, but it is unclear what position the senior vice president will hold in the future.
Under Rubin’s tutelage, Android became the most widely used operating system for smartphones in the world. According to an analysis by IDC, different manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola and HTC shipped 497.1 million devices with the Android open-source operating system in 2012, representing a market share of 68.8 percent. This is ahead of Apple’s iOS which shipped 135.9 million units and 18.8 percent.
Google makes money from pre-installed apps which it owns, such as Google search in the Chrome browser and the YouTube streaming video service. While the apps are free for customers to use, mobile traffic increases ad revenue for Google.
As for the reasons why Rubin stepped down from his post, Google did not provide an answer, so speculation abounds.
Reggie Middleton of BoomBustBlog.com, who follows Google closely, thinks that Rubin’s “entrepreneurship spirit is choked by the big company atmosphere.”
The Wall Street Journal also cites people who worked with Rubin who said he ran the Android division like a start-up and that his competitiveness created some problems with other divisions.
Sundar Pichai, responsible for Google Chrome and Apps will take over from Rubin. The Journal says that collaboration between the Android and the Chrome division was “difficult,” maybe because Chrome replaced a browser that Android had developed previously.
It seems that Google wants seamless cooperation and streamline its computer and mobile capabilities under one roof. “While Andy’s a really hard act to follow, I know Sundar will do a tremendous job doubling down on Android as we work to push the ecosystem forward,” writes Google CEO Larry Page.
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