/// Andy Rubin Stepping Down as Android Head Was Sudden But Inevitable

March 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital

Andy Rubin is a brilliant visionary and a fierce executer, and he may have more acts up his sleeve. But, at a time when mobile is increasingly big business at Google, the father of Android is no longer at its helm. Google CEO Larry Page has substituted a grounded and effective operator, Sundar Pichai, for the independent Rubin. It was certainly a sudden move. Rubin had been confirmed to speak at our D11 conference in May; you don’t do that when you’re easing your way out. In the time between giving wide-ranging comments on Google’s plans two weeks ago and dropping out of a speaking slot at SXSW this past weekend, something changed. But that doesn’t mean Rubin wasn’t ready to move on; as Android grew, he had been frustrated with the large-scale operational work, and wanted to return to return to passion projects in robotics and home automation, said sources close to Rubin. In their explanations of the move, both Rubin and Page referred Rubin’s desire to “start a new chapter at Google,” with Rubin saying he is “an entrepreneur at heart.” Though there’s much speculation that he might join Google’s “moonshot” group Google X, our sources said that was not necessarily the case. Android — which began life as an independent company Rubin co-founded in 2003 — is now a massive and growing force in mobile. Sure, some might grumble about the many forks and flavors, but the software powers more than 750 million devices from scores of different hardware makers. Android accounted for 70 percent of global smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to IDC . That’s compared to Google’s other operating system — Chrome OS, which along with Google Apps and the Chrome browser is one of Pichai’s main projects. Chrome OS and Chromebooks have yet to catch on with mass consumers, with limited success in the education vertical so far. Putting Pichai in charge of the far more successful Android seems a way for Page to ease redundancy and friction, a move that many consider long overdue.

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Andy Rubin Stepping Down as Android Head Was Sudden But Inevitable

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