Former Android leader Andy Rubin leaving Google

Andy Rubin, co-founder and former leader of Google Inc.’s Android mobile business and the current head of its nascent robotics effort, is leaving the Internet giant, the company said Thursday, the Wall Street Jornal reports.

Mr. Rubin is starting an incubator for startups interested in building technology hardware products.

A Google spokesman said the company remains committed to robotics and will continue investing in the sector.

James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google and a member of the robotics group, will replace Mr. Rubin as head of the unit.

Google acquired Android in 2005 and Mr. Rubin helped build it into the world’s most-popular mobile operating system. He switched from that role to lead a series of robotics acquisitions for Google in 2013.

Mr. Rubin provided crucial leadership and vision that helped Google keep up withApple Inc. as smartphones became the go-to computing device for most people around the world. He was known for keeping his Android team separate from the rest of the company and its employees for years. For a time, the Android group had its own lunchroom on the Google campus.

Mr. Rubin is an entrepreneurial spirit who likes to run his own show and was facing constraints on his activities at Google, a person familiar with the executive and Google said. A Google spokesman declined to comment on why Mr. Rubin left.

Mr. Rubin said he “didn’t really have any issues with independence” at Google and left because he wanted to do something new on his own.

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