SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google's Andy Rubin stepped down from his role as the head of the Android mobile operating system today to "start a new chapter" at the internet giant.
Google CEO Larry Page announced the news in a heartfelt blog post on Wednesday, adding that Rubin will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, who presently heads the firm's Chrome and Apps division.
Page said, "Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android - and with a really strong leadership team in place - Andy's decided it's time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google."
Rubin couldn't be leaving the role on more of a high, as the Android mobile operating system dwarfs the popularity of iOS with a majority share of the smartphone market. Page reflects on the rapid rise of Android in his blog post, and talks up the major role Rubin played in its success.
"Sergey and I first heard about Android back in 2004, when Andy Rubin came to visit us at Google," he said.
"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."
"The pace of innovation has never been greater, and Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world: we have a global partnership of over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play."
Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is the fact that Rubin will be replaced by the head of Google's Chrome and Apps division, reviving year old rumours that the firm is planning to merge Android with Chrome OS.
This isn't explicitly mentioned in Page's blog post, unfortunately. Instead, Page talks up the work Pichai has done on Chrome.
"Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users and is growing fast thanks to its speed, simplicity and security. So while Andy's a really hard act to follow, I know Sundar will do a tremendous job doubling down on Android as we work to push the ecosystem forward." µ