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Rubin's move could signal Google OS convergence

Android chief Andy Rubin to take on new role, while Chrome head Sundar Pichai takes on both Google operating systems

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 14 March, 2013

READ MORE: People/Management | Google | OS | Android

Google's two operating systems have been moving closer together over the past year and two events this month suggest they may eventually converge. First, the search giant unveiled its Chromebook Pixel, a touch-based device which, it is widely expected, could run Android apps as well as the Chrome OS browser-based platform. Now Android business chief Andy Rubin is being redeployed and Sundar Pichai, the SVP in charge of Chrome and applications, will take his role.

Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post: "Andy's decided it's time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!" Rubin invented the mobile OS and set up a company called Android, which he sold to Google in 2005, taking on the leadership of the business unit.


Major platform vendors are increasingly looking to run a common code base and user experience over mobile and PC devices, and in future over TVs, cars and other screens too. Microsoft is bringing Windows 8 and Windows Phone closer together, and there are even signs of convergence between Apple's iOS and Mac OS.

Google is already bringing the Chrome browser to Android to replace the OS's native offering and it has been widely speculated that it will soon integrate the mobile platform's Dalvik virtual machine and Java-like framework with Chrome's programming base. However, Pichai said, at the launch of the Chromebook Pixel, that it was premature to discuss that eventuality.

Page wrote: "Sergey [Brin] 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 ... Fast forward to today. The pace of innovation has never been greater, and Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world."

He added: "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."

There were no details on what Rubin's new role would be.

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