At the recent Stanford Accel Symposium, Google’s Vice President of Corporate Development, David Lawee, said that acquiring Android from Andy Rubin was Google’s best deal ever. Lawee spoke about how the gauge within the development office is whether people actually stick around after a merger to see and work their fruits under the Google umbrella. Google seems to acquire companies and then take a somewhat hands off approach.
After the success of the Sidekick via Andy Rubin’s partnership with Sanyo called “Danger” it’s a wonder that there was ever any speculation.
Rubin was no stranger to Silicon Valley. He got his start in 1989 at of course, Apple (no worries the Iphone wasn’t in development then) from their Rubin tried his hand at his first operating system for phones called “Magic Cap” which actually failed. Rubin kept tinkering and eventually left that start up for the company that eventually became WebTV and gobbled up by Microsoft. After his WebTV experience Rubin took on some partners and started Danger and the Danger hiptop. This new PDA style phone, branded “Sidekick” on T-Mobile was cool, integrated, sexy and had celebrity appeal. Prior to Android and Iphone the “Sidekick” had a plethora of A-List celebrities that would pull out their sidekick for every photo op. Danger, which used Sanyo for hardware, was also purchased by Microsoft.
After the Danger experience Rubin went back to his lab and began developing the Android operating system. As you can see from his vast experience an app and touch heavy UI was something that Rubin was very good at. He eventually sold Android to Google for an estimated $50million and stayed on board as a Vice President of Engineering to cultivate the Android system. Rubin is the “Andy” from Android so is it a suprise that Android is Google’s best investment ever?
Google doesn’t actually charge for the Android operating system rather they make ad revenues from mobile search and other small fees. However in a recent earnings call Google said that mobile ad revenues are now a Billion dollar business.