Google CEO Larry Page today announced that its Android head, Andy Rubin, would be stepping down from the role to take over other, as of yet unspecified, projects at Google. Chrome and Apps head Sundar Pichai would be taking over the reins from Rubin, bringing under him the entire Chrome and Android product portfolio.
You could view the leadership change as a sign of the impending integration of Chrome (both the OS and the browser) and Android, which have previously been separate projects at Google.
From Google’s announcement:
Sergey and I first heard about Android back in 2004, when Andy Rubin came to visit us at Google. He believed that aligning standards around an open-source operating system would drive innovation across the mobile industry. Most people thought he was nuts. But 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.
Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. 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. I know Sundar will do a tremendous job doubling down on Android as we work to push the ecosystem forward.
Andy Rubin, who worked at Apple in the early nineties, co-founded Danger, sold it to Microsoft, and later co-founded Android and sold it to Google in 2005. Android has since then, taken over the whole world by storm, catering the markets at varied price points and offering a compelling alternative to Apple’s iOS.
In the announcement, Page also reveals updated Android statistics, noting that the company has collaborations with over 60 manufacturers, 750 million device activations all over the world and 25 billion app downloads (as compared to Apple’s 40 billion iOS app downloads).
An interesting tidbit: All major operating system have seen major leadership changes at the top in the past few months — iOS head Scott Forstall was fired, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky stepped down and of course Andy Rubin stepped down.