This Android Ouster Might Signal a Mini-Merger Inside Google

This article is from the archive of our partner .

So Android just lost its head, but Google might have just created a two-headed monster with its mobile and desktop platforms. Google CEO Larry Page announced that the senior vice president for mobile and digital content Andy Rubin, the man behind the tech giant's still huge mobile operating system, is stepping down from his position and passing it off to Sundar Pichai, the guy who runs Google's other OS. Rubin intends to "start a new chapter at Google," Page writes in a company blog post, and it seems like his old job is being fazed out completely, as Pichai's new title will be Senior Vice President of Chrome, Google Apps and Android. So, the same as before, basically, plus Android.

It's unclear what, exactly, led to the transition. It's not like Rubin was doing a horrible job or anything. Android is the second most used mobile operating system right now. Page touted Rubin's work cultivating huge numbers for the company — "over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded" — so we doubt the split was anything besides amicable. (Although he probably saw it coming: Rubin cancelled a SXSW appearance on Sunday.)

Recommended Reading

Now that Android and Chrome are finally under the same leadership, most tech prognosticators are prognosticating the two systems wille be unified as one soon enough. Both The Verge's Nathan Ingraham and AllThingsD's Liz Gannes suspect that will happen sooner than later, what with Chrome's desktop apps overlapping more and more with the mobile store for Google Play. "As for Pichai, there's strong possibility that his new role could bring us to a world when Chrome OS and Android are unified, or at least more closely linked," Ingraham writes. Gannes points to a quote from Pichai when the Chromebook Pixel was launched last month where he said, "We're comfortable at Google with two viewpoints, and we are doing both." Well, both are under his control now, so we'll see if they stay separate for long — or if they'll emerge as one, terrifying T1000-worthy operating system. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.