Andy Rubin is leaving Google, according to an announcement made by the company late Thursday evening.
Since joining Google in 2006 as part of an acquisition of his software startup, Android, Rubin went on to lead a series of robotics acquisitions for the Mountain View-based company in 2013, inking deals with firms like MIT artificial intelligence spinoff Meka Robotics and, most notably, DARPA contractor Boston Dynamics, which specializes in Terminator-esque
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Google said that Rubin will start his own incubator designed to help hardware startups. James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google, will replace him as head of its nascent robotics efforts.
To say Rubin was instrumental in helping Google carve out its current perch atop the mobile software world would be an understatement. Rubin’s philosophical pledge to keep Android free and open-sourced proved crucial for the platform to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iOS, providing the digital backbone for hardware OEMs like HTC, Motorola (which Google acquired and later sold to Lenovo), and, of course, Samsung.
“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable–with a billion-plus happy users. Thank you.”
[h/t: Wall Street Journal]