Andy Rubin, Android's founder, leaves project

Andy Rubin, Android's founder, leaves project

Summary: In a shocking move, Andy Rubin, Android's founder, leaves Android behind but will stay on at Google. Sundar Pichai takes Android now as well as Chrome and Apps.

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In a surprising move, Google CEO Larry Page said that Andy Rubin, founder of Android and Google's Android chief, has decided it was "time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google.Sundar Pichai will lead Android as well as Chrome. 

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In a surprise move, Google's Andy Rubin is stepping down as head of Android. (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Google, which acquired Android in 2005, made it the heart of its mobile operating system movement. By May 2010, under Rubin's direction, Android phones had become the best selling phone operating system in the U.S. Today, according to Gartner, Android dominates the mobile market with almost 70% of global devices.

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In 2004. however, when Page said he and Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, first heard about Android, Rubin's idea that "aligning standards around an open-source operating system would drive innovation across the mobile industry" seemed like a nutty idea. "But," Page continued, "his insight immediately struck a chord because at the time it was extremely painful developing services for mobile devices. We had a closet full of more than 100 phones and were building our software pretty much device by device. It was nearly impossible for us to make truly great mobile experiences."

Today, as Page pointed out, "The pace of innovation has never been greater, and Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world: we have a global partnership of over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play. Pretty extraordinary progress for a decade’s work. 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!"

Page continued:

Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use—and he loves a big bet. Take Chrome, for example. In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users and is growing fast thanks to its speed, simplicity and security. So 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. 

Today we're living in a new computing environment. People are really excited about technology and spending a lot of money on devices. This is driving faster adoption than we have ever seen before. The Nexus program—developed in conjunction with our partners Asus, HTC, LG and Samsung—has become a beacon of innovation for the industry, and services such as Google Now have the potential to really improve your life. We’re getting closer to a world where technology takes care of the hard work—discovery, organization, communication—so that you can get on with what makes you happiest… living and loving. It's an exciting time to be at Google.

We do not know at this time why Rubin decided to step down from his post nor what he'll be doing at Google in the future. Rubin had continued to be active at Google in recent weeks. In late February, Rubin, for example, announced that Google would not be opening retail stores for its Android and Chromebook devices

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Topics: Android, Google, Mobility, Open Source, Project Management

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55 comments
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  • As i said Google is taking their next move to rule Desktop too

    after that much mistakes MS has taken they have a very good chance for winning....this is the fact not bcz you think that i hate MS....now you can flag all you want!
    L3thargic
    • How pulling Android from Andy's hands is something bad for Microsoft?

      Care to elaborate. For that matter neither Chromebook nor Android have been adopted by enterprises on both desktop/laptop and mobile fronts.
      Ram U
      • Yeah I don't get that either.

        It could be better for google, but at this stage it's neither here nor there for MS. It may give the chrome OS project some direction. The current ideal of get mobile hardware to do as much as possible and desktop hardware to do as little is particularly niche. Neither apple nor MS find themselves in the situation where their mobile OS is more feature packed than their desktop.

        Hopefully it's the beginning of a sublet transition to abandon the client model... Maybe 2 decades ago a ckient OS made sense, but nowadays a 5 year old netbook can run the latest windows... What are you saving?
        MarknWill
        • exactly

          And you could install Chrome Browser on that laptop and add extensions, and you have most of Chromebook anyway. I don't get that either.
          Ram U
          • Not the same...

            Yes a lot of stuff is there but, not all of it and Chrome isn't just a browser anymore. There's actually quite a bit more too it. Why, in fact, it actually resembles a real desktop so, keep thinking that and this trend will pass you right by!
            slickjim
          • With 0.02% web share...

            ChromeOS, an OS that only a browser (regardless of what you may think) ChromeOS is a failure market wise. A product that saw first hardware in Dec 2010, the OS released in 2009 and it has 0.02% web share. And falling.
            Bruizer
          • Chrome OS is the Future!

            Sorry..... but you are so wrong. Remember Chrome OS has been declared unbreakable, after Google offered $3 million dollars to hack and all who tried..... FAILED!

            No other Mainstream OS has survived aHack-a-thon like that. I know you're a fan of one of the FAILED Operating Systems from proprietary companies on Security, but there is a reason DOD via NSA chose Linux to Hardened (SECURE) in the first place. Open Source software gives them the ability to see the source code and fully customize it their needs and neither Apple nor Microsoft would give them Cartel Blanche access to change and modify their operating systems.

            This is also why Android recently got it's kernel Security Enhanced (SE) Linux Kernel Upgrade. Along with the DOD choosing Motorola Matrix and Samsung Galaxy devices on trial for Nett Warrior Program. Whereas NO Windows or Apple iOS devices have been chosen and their new Global Network runs SE Linux Servers, along with only Linux and Android programs and Apps (own Android App store in Beta) have written by them so far. They are also in a long term contract for Google Maps and Services. Not to mention working with Google to develop a version of Google Glass for the Nett Warrior Program.... as well as Custom CHROMEBOOKS being developed with the Military in mind.

            Why? Because Cloud based programs and Data is far more SECURE than locally run Operating Systems!!! .....so even if the enemy should get their hands on their Chrome books.... their DATA Remains Secure in the Global CLOUD NET NETWORK!!! ;-)
            KronJohn
          • Chrome is the future

            because we all want our devices to do less! It has it's place but come on, take your head out of the sand.
            Chrome is simple another option.
            martin_js
          • Here Here Now!

            I am perfectly happy with Visicalc, WordStar and an 8088, two 360k floppy drives, green screen computer. It's more than I'll ever need. Yea, Right.

            Chrome OS doesn't even compete with the average $100 Android tablet, which is why I can't figure out where Chrome OS sits in the market. The Cloud is nice, but when someone wants an application that doesn't run on Chrome (like Photoshop, a plethora of movie apps, certain communications programs and the rest) Chrome fails. At least Android has those apps in droves.

            I can't even see a place for chrome OS, so you were being really nice to them.
            Cynical99
          • Well I know that I said that currently

            all I am missing is shortcuts for browser, Gmail, GDrive, apps. As long as I can't install anything I want, at least taht runs on Linux (because both share the same kernel), I really can't justify it as a need.
            Ram U
          • How is your Xoom doing Peter Perry?

            n/t
            Ram U
      • That's not true...

        Android has a growing presence in the Enterprise and it is only going to get bigger.

        Do yourself a favor, sell MS and Apple stock and dump the whole thing in Google if you want to make any money.
        slickjim
        • :))

          Financial advice on ZDNet... from fanboys... priceless.
          paul2011
        • Uh, well

          Android devices are in the BYOD category for most enterprises. Not adopted but tolerated.

          I know of NO enterprise using Chromebooks.

          Sounds like fanboi fud
          Cynical99
      • Are you kidding me?

        Enterprises not adopting Android? Our business changed all it's smartphones last year. Almost everyone is now using android phones, only THREE persons asked for an iphone.
        As to why pulling Android from andy's hand would hurt microsoft. He probably means that after crushing iOS with android, Google will ask andy rubin to work on something for the desktop to crush microsoft. That I don't see happening.
        Jean-Pierre-
        • so?

          Your co-workers wanted a phone. You provided them with phones that happens to run on Android. Few *insisted* on iPhones running iOS. After all, everyone got an phone. A phone is a phone...
          danbi
      • Android not for enterprise?? Really??

        Just finished developing apps for salesmen all over my company in Android...
        Using Android for GPS tracking for vehicles in our distribution chains...
        Will be developing Android app to improve customer relationships in near future...
        Will be converting special-made Windows based applications into web based applications and Android apps in near future...
        Will ditch mssql to opensource rdbms in near future ( oops, this one is out of topic )
        mslinux
    • Also one more question to you Mr. Genius

      That means Google is accepting Desktop/Laptop will be there for good number of years and will be king?
      Ram U
      • The exact problem with MS is this attitude "We have this, we have that"

        But the world of IT does not work this way, if you are not innovative and you are slow it doesn't matter what you are today you will be extinct tomorrow .... When Ballmer laughed at the concept of smartphone in 2009 it did not matter that time but they are seeing the results now in 2013 and this windows 8,surface, windows phone flops will affect MS not today but 1-2 years later and we will see who is the king(again not saying bcz i'm google fan boy!)
        L3thargic
        • damn you zdnet bring back edit feature

          i meant 2007 not 2009
          L3thargic