View Full Version : Google's Firewall Too High for the Launch of the Moto X; Why Andy Rubin Stepped Down

08-02-2013, 11:47 AM

Back when Google first purchased Motorola back in 2011, they went out of their way to make it clear Motorola would not get any preferential treatment compared to the other Android carriers like Samsung, LG, Sony and others. They even claimed they would put up a virtual (and literal) firewall between the two companies to make things extra fair for their other OEM Android partners. A new Wall Street Journal article is suggesting that Google may have gone too far and built the firewall too high when dealing with Motorola products.

From the report we find out that after the purchase of Motorola by Google, communication between the two companies actually decreased. What was formerly a strong working partnership was now a virtual long-distance relationship. Apparently it became much harder to reach CEO Larry Page by email as Google sought to keep Motorola at arms-length.

Indeed, one of Motorola's former employees made the following comment, "it’s not like we were equally disadvantaged—we were more disadvantaged." Apparently these tensions were especially strong during the development of the Moto X. Additionally, this revelation solves another mystery. Earlier this year Andy Rubin, the head guru, creator and face of Android abruptly stepped down form his position as the head of Android. It came as quite a shock, and the lack of clear intent lead to rampant speculation. Ultimately, there were several plausible theories, but it still remained a mystery.

According to internal sources, this was directly related to the rift between Google and Motorola, but was intended to help fix the problem. Supposedly, Andy Rubin was a bit overzealous in wanting to keep Android very open, and this lead to much of the internal communication problems and tension between the two companies. In fact, during the development of the Moto X, things became so convoluted that there was doubt the mobile Chrome browser would even show up on the device!

Luckily, things eventually got smoothed out, but the damage was already done. The result was that the Moto X launch wasn't as much of a ball-park home-run as Motorola would have wanted. Perhaps if Google had been a bit more "hands on" with Motorola, the Moto X could have been a monster block-buster, instead of just a solid hit.

Incidentally, despite all of these issues, it turns out this was indirectly the reason the Moto X came with Android 4.2.2 instead of Android 4.3. According to the report, it was mostly a matter of bad timing, because Android 4.3 was released late in the development cycle. Reading between the lines reveals that Motorola must not have had early access to Android 4.3, holding them back just enough for Google to stick to their "firewall" promise. What do you guys think? Should Google have eased up a bit? Should they ease up a great deal more now?

Source: MotoXForums (http://www.motoxforums.com/forum/moto-x-news/92-googles-firewall-too-high-launch-moto-x%3B-why-andy-rubin-stepped-down.html#post726) via WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323997004578642412326543032.html)

08-02-2013, 12:21 PM
It takes a few years for two large companies like this to begin fully cooperating with each other after a merge. Having experienced this first hand with the company I currently work for, (the world's largest office supply company) after 4+ years, our company is just now beginning to operate as one with the competing company they bought out. (Which I originally worked for) It's very strange when you get the feeling day in and day out that both companies should be working together, when in fact constant bickering & head butting over the way things should be run (along with over inflated egos from the big dogs within) actually prevent the company from moving forward for the greater good.
I see this happening between Google & Motorola, and I agree....the X could have (and should have) been SO much more.
Just my 2 cents.