(Corrects third-last paragraph to say "Calendar" instead of
SAN FRANCISCO, March 13 Andy Rubin is stepping
down as head of Google Inc's Android division after he
helped turn the software into the world's most widely-used
mobile operating system.
Google's browser and applications chief Sundar Pichai will
replace Rubin, bringing the firm's mobile software, applications
and Chrome browser under one roof.
Larry Page, Google's chief executive and co-founder,
credited Rubin for evangelizing Android more than half a decade
ago and said the decision to switch was Rubin's. Page was mum on
Rubin's future role in a blogpost on Wednesday announcing the
Rubin built Android into a free, open-source software
platform now used by most of the world's largest handset
manufacturers, from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to
Android is now installed on roughly two-thirds of the
world's smartphones, supplanting Apple Inc at the
pinnacle of the fast-moving mobile arena.
Android tablets are also expected to overtake Apple's iPad
in terms of shipments in 2013, IT research house IDC predicted
"Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition
to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Sundar has a talent
for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to
use-and he loves a big bet," Page wrote in the blogpost.
"Andy's decided it's time to hand over the reins and start a
new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!"
Pichai, who began his engineering training in India before
moving to the United States, aggressively pushed Google's Chrome
browser in 2008, when Microsoft Corp's Explorer lorded over the
market. Chrome now commands a roughly 35 percent market share
according to Web traffic analyzers StatCounter.
He is also credited with the development of some of the
company's more successful apps, such as Calendar and Gmail.
"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," Page said.
Shares in the company slipped 0.2 percent to $825.83 in
(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick,
Leslie Adler and Andrew Hay)