Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Android Chief Andy Rubin Moves to Other Google Projects While Sundar Pichai Takes Over

In a surprise announcement, Google just switched around its top leadership. Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, will no longer manage that team. Sundar Pichai, the company’s head of Chrome and Apps, is adding Android as well.

rubinpichai380But Rubin is not leaving Google, said CEO Larry Page in a blog post today. “Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!”

In email sent to Android partners, Rubin pointed to Android’s success as a victory for openness, and said, “As for me, I am an entrepreneur at heart and now is the right time for me to start a new chapter within Google.”

Page explained the shift as part of the maturation of Android, saying Rubin had taken the project from an independent startup to being acquired by Google to now being the operating system for more than 750 million activated devices globally.

But the transition brings back the perennial question of Google’s two operating systems, Android and Chrome OS, which are coming ever closer to one another as Google has started making touchscreen laptops.

SundarPichaiAt the launch event for the Chromebook Pixel last month, Pichai’s take on that dynamic was: “We’re comfortable at Google with two viewpoints, and we are doing both.”

In addition to being the visionary behind shaking up the international mobile device market, Rubin had built Android as his own fiefdom within Google, with sculptures of the names of its operating systems out front and a fancy Japanese cafeteria inside. It will be interesting to see how it is now absorbed into the company’s broader structure.

Pichai, meanwhile, is a nine-year veteran of Google. In 2011, he turned down an opportunity to lead product at Twitter, which seems to have only accelerated his power within Google and under Page as CEO.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google