As Andy Rubin Steps Down as Head of Android, What’s Next for Google?

Michael Teague  |

Google (GOOG) announced that Android developer Andy Rubin will be stepping down as the head of that division of the tech giant.  In the few hours since the news was announced, much speculation has been circulated as to what the implications might be for the future of the company’s various operations.

Firstly, the choice of senior VP of Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai to be the new head of Android while retaining his current position seems to suggest that there will be some sort of rapprochement or even unification of those two divisions of the company.  This potential convergence would seem to be supported by the introduction last month of the Chromebook Pixel, the first laptop using Chrome as its operating system that also includes a touchscreen interface.

CEO Larry Page made news of the change public today on the company’s blog, praising Rubin by citing the 750 million globally active Android devices, as well as the 25 billion apps that have been downloaded from Google Play.

Furthermore, Rubin is not going to leave the company, but will resurface in another as-yet unspecified capacity.  While no information was forthcoming about what this role might be, Page left a very vague clue in his exhortation for Rubin to provide “more moonshots, please!”

This could be a reference to Google X, the lab in which the company devotes itself to the development of the most futuristic and creative of its products, said to be the birthplace of the Google Glasses and driverless car ideas.  Rubin has a reputation for product development and it is not hard to imagine the potential synergy if he were allowed the freedom to toy around with the company’s most far-flung notions.

In any event, the company is making this move from a position of considerable strength, with its share price currently upwards of $800 dollars.  At Wednesday’s close, the company’s shares had dropped a slight 0.28 percent, resting at a modest $825.31.

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