Google has just announced that Andy Rubin, the founder and head of Android, is stepping down, and will be replaced by Sundar Pichai, the head of ChromeOS. Larry Page broke the news on the official Google blog:
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. Andy, more moonshots please!
This marks just the latest transition in what's been transformative few months in platform management. Late last year [Apple let senior vice president of iOS, Scott Forstall go and handed mobile over to then head of OS X, now head of all software, Craig Federghi. Shortly thereafter, Microsoft let Windows head Steven Sinofsky go. Prior to that, they let the architects of their devices division, Robbie Bach and J. Allard go.
The Apple parallel is the closest, of course. We don't know the whole story behind either shuffle -- you can read Rubin's letter to Android partners at the Wall Street Journal -- but in both cases, for all intents and purposes the head of mobile was replaced by the head of desktop, and the divisions will now continue under their unified leaderships.
Let me repeat that part -- in an era when mobile is increasingly first, the biggest mobile operating systems on the planet have been given over to desktop guys to run.
Make of that what you will.