The man who helped create Android is leaving Google.
Andy Rubin’s departure from the Web giant was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, and later confirmed by Google CEO Larry Page.
In a short statement, Page said: “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next. With Android he created something truly remarkable, with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”
Rubin founded Android Inc. with three others in 2003, two years before it was acquired by Google.
After spending nearly 10 years developing the massively successful mobile operating system and maneuvering the Mountain View company into a position where it could comfortably compete with Apple and its iOS platform, Rubin left his post as head of mobile in March 2013 to take charge of leading Google’s push into robotics, an area in which he has long had a deep personal interest.
After taking up his new position, Google went on a spending spree, snapping up a slew of robotics-focused companies, among them Boston Dynamics, best known for its speedy four-legged Cheetah robot, and Japan-based Schaft, which makes bipedal robots geared toward providing help in first-responder scenarios.
As is often the case with such high-profile departures, the reasons behind it aren’t, at this stage, altogether clear. However, the Journal’s unnamed source suggested Rubin’s desire to run his unit without outside interference may have led to clashes at the top of the company.
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While we may never know if there was some unresolvable conflict between Rubin and other Google executives, the Journal says Rubin has already decided on his next step, which involves running an incubator “for startups interested in building technology hardware products.”
Stepping into Rubin’s shoes to lead Google’s robot-based research, which the company said it’s committed to pursuing, will be James Kuffner, a Google research scientist and a current member of the robotics team.