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Andy Rubin: I Don’t Know Anything About Motorola’s Products, Google Built a Firewall Between Moto and Android Teams

If you thought that Motorola was going to have the inside track on all things Android immediately following their merger, you thought wrong. At least that’s what Andy Rubin would have us believe. In a brief session in front of the press at Mobile World Congress, Rubin made it clear that while he “sponsored” the merger, his team has been kept completely separate from what Motorola is doing. He mentioned that Motorola will continue to build Moto branded phones and that Google has “literally built a firewall” between his team and theirs. He even went as far as to say that he hasn’t seen anything that they are doing and is not familiar with their products. And if you had fingers crossed that Motorola would be guaranteed to manufacture the next Nexus, I would stop crossing now.

We all know that things can change over time, but for now, Google is doing their best to keep these two companies completely separate. Well, aside from hiring a Google VP to run them.

Also during the interview, Rubin touched on the state of Android tablets. Even with 12 million Android tablets sold he isn’t satisfied saying that the numbers are “not insignificant, but less than I’d expect it to be if you really want to win.” For 2012, they plan to “double down” to make sure they win that space. Their plan is to help educate developers and consumers on the Android ecosystem.

Via:  The Verge [2]

  • ABerry5

    Again, as expected too much geek thinking and no business sense.. this announcement was for manufacturers who develop on android.. especially after lg’s announcement of their own OS google wants to make sure nothing has changed and those companies will still sell like always.. when in fact moto+google is exactly like we think it will be.. great… PR stunt.. u relly think google spent billions to just run moto without any integration for fun despite all their efforts to help fragmentation by requiring things for a mfg to use ICS etc.. u really believe they have no plans to integrqte android and moto? They need companies to xontinue acting the same for now

  • Goomba

     This could spell out a lot of trouble for Motorola. By the time the merger is completed, even if Google never even looks in the direction that Motorola is in and they all of sudden come out with a super high-end phone that destroys the competition, the other OEMs are going to cry foul. Motorola isn’t doing themselves any favor, just look at their pathetic MWC 2012 display. All they had was the MotoLuxe and the Defy Mini – that was it. No new phones, no ice cream sandwich, nothing. It’s almost as if Motorola wants the competition to surpass them and run circles around them. At this rate, Sony, ZTE, and Huawei will sell more phones if they continue their bad business strategy.

  • Rich

    you all should have known that…

    When they satsted that MOTO and GOOGLE would still be separate company’s just owned by one… or the fact that LG put in a bid for the next nexus phone should be more than eno0ugh to make this conclusion…

  • @GasaiYuno:disqus my neighbor’s step-sister got paid $13256 last week. she has been working on the computer and got a $393700 home … Making-Money.us.to

  • Tom

    Mr Rubin, I’m disappointed… Only a literal firewall? If it was a figurative firewall I’d understand the issue, but you have some of the best minds in computers working for your company, and you mean to tell me you can’t get through a simple firewall? At least do us the favor and do that and get the codes to unlock the bootloaders!

  • enigmaco

    I doubt it, I think once the waters settle google and motorola will collab on things and put out some awesome products

  • CeluGeek

    Google really shot themselves in the foot with the tablets. They should have released the Honeycomb source for all manufacturers or never released Honeycomb at all.

    While Honeycomb went to a chosen few, manufacturers who still wanted to sell tablets, ended up going with Froyo and Gingerbread. The result? Awful fragmentation because those Froyo and Gingerbread tablets did not offer the true tablet experience (with many Android fanboys calling them “craplets”), yet they had access to many, many more apps than the so-called real tablets (aka those based on Honeycomb). In fact, even to this date the Android Market for Honeycomb is pathetic. Not only it doesn’t rotate from landscape to portrait like the Market for Gingerbread and Froyo does, and not only you still can’t rate and review apps from within the Honeycomb-based Market. To this date a lot of apps I find out about don’t appear in the Honeycomb version of the Market yet they appear on Gingerbread and Froyo devices. In the end, I think users who bought a Gingerbread-based tablet got a better slice of the Android ecosystem than I, who bought a Honeycomb tablet.

    What should Google do now? For starters, Google should help get Ice Cream Sandwich in as many phones and tablets as possible — including helping OEM update existing models, so we all enjoy the same ecosystem. Last but not least, no more “phone-only” or “tablet-only” versions of Android. Fragmentation is already a big problem. There’s no need for Google to make it even worse.

  • Tobiw

    While Andy Rubin may not have access to Motorola stuff, everyone above VP position should have full access. That would be at least Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, maybe Sergey Brin and possibly some others. And I guess they can guide Moto to the right direction very well 🙂

  • Kindroid

    They built a firewall between the teams.  But the Board of Directors can still take advise from Google.

  • I can’t say I’m surprised. I have a lot more trust in Google than in many, many other companies out there. While they are out to make a profit, I believe their their corporate goals and “morals” are pretty solid. 

  • Michael_NM

    I think Rubin meant to say his vision of Moto is blurred.

    • Obligatory “see what you did there” comment.  Nice work

  • moelsen8

    grr disqus

  • just unlock the bootloaders…i dont care about anything else

  • Michael_NM

    Nuke the firewall.

  • That sucks… 

    Not to be totally fanboy-ish here, but even from a business standpoint, it would make alot of sense. They would be able to fully compete with apple with control of hardware and software. Some might say the nexus already does this, but I feel it’s not totally in reach for everyone, and I feel a takeover is the intervention motorola needs from their downright unacceptable policies on bootloaders and a new phone every week.

  • Michael Forte

    I honestly don’t think Google is going to sit idle forever with Motorola, because if Moto loses money, so does Google. I think for the time being they are saying the right things to appeal to the other OEMs, but at some point there’s got to be a change.

    • ddevito

      Right, in which case they’ll simply keep the patents and sell off the hardware division. 

    • moelsen8

      i agree, but isn’t motorola actively losing money?

  • ddevito

    Why is this a surprise to anyone?! Do you know how fast they’d be sued and fined for it for anti-trust violations? Not to mention losing all their other OEMs’ trust.

    • Letz_Shake

      There is no anti-trust. The OS is open source, and Google is not a carrier.

      • ddevito

        the merger wouldn’t have gotten approved otherwise. wake up

    • Anti-trust what? If Apple hasn’t got sued, there’s zero chance Google will get sued just by doing that. Please don’t over-use the term. There are certain legal requirements to be made to justify a case. The reason why Microsoft got sued back then is because it owned 90+ percent of the OS market, the remaining OS players combined constitute of single-digit market share. The situation of the today’s mobile industry is nowhere near that, not even remotely.

      • ddevito

        the merger wouldn’t have gotten approved otherwise. wake up

      • CapnShiner

         I don’t know where you’re getting your “facts” from, but the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit was never about the OS. It was about Internet Explorer. Microsoft still controls the majority share of the OS market, although I don’t know what the numbers are anymore. In spite of that, there is no current antitrust battle against Microsoft that I know of.

  • Greyhame

    Motorola will make the next next Nexus… when people are coming off contract from the Galaxy Nexus. My two cents.

    • moelsen8

      that’d be a nice surprise.

    • kixofmyg0t

      No “G-Nex” user will buy a Motorola. In fact they wont buy any phone ever again. 

  • zepfloyd

    If you thought that Motorola was going to have the inside track on all things Android immediately following their merger, you thought wrong.””

    I have said this since Day 1. I really hope no one is surprised. Understand the definition of a wholly owned subsidiary. You think Berkshire Hathaway tells GEICO what to do everyday? 

    • Yea, I know this is going to happen since they announced the merger. Google simply do not want to control Motorola.

  • Bill Anderson

    Someone at Google has to have the power to stop them from using MotoBLUR…

  • So much for google fanboys, I guess.

    This is what I actually expected.

  • So Moto’s stuff is going to stay as crappy as it’s always been, that’s unfortunate.

    • Azndan4

      Motorola must die

      • No, they just need to be prodded in the right direction.  Their hardware is robust and reliable.  It’s just the design and software that sucks.  Motoblur is awful and their phones are super ugly.

        • Billyrouth2000

          Motorola’s Software isn’t near as crappy as HTC.

          • KleenDroid

            I don’t think either is crappy. Sense is very polished and nice, I don’t know what you are talking about…. There are plenty of us on here that could show you how to use an HTC phone and it’s software if it intimidates you. 

          • Calvin Williams

            The only reason I would consider a HTC phone is if it was unlocked so I could remove sense. Sense has the worst UI out of all of them.

          • TC Infantino

            Then you are in luck, because damn near all HTC phones have an unlockable bootloader now.

          • KleenDroid

            I agree that in order to consider a phone you need to be able to unlock it. It seems as though Motorola is about the only phone that is not an option.

        • LiterofCola

          “Motorblur” is not awful, and the Razr, in my opinion, is the best looking phone out right now.  Having said that, the phone isn’t perfect, just like it’s competitors.

    • 4n1m4L

      All of the other manufacturers that use android would cry foul if motor got special help. There are already pressures on different manufacturers to adopt their own OS’s so Google is dancing to make sure they don’t upset anyone..

      • moelsen8

        they would cry foul, but i would argue that there’s too much momentum between ios and android for a manufacturer to think it’s a smart move to just come up with their own OS.  the ecosystems have gotten too big.  google’s dancing to appease regulators etc.. i hope that changes in the future.  i would love to googorola come to fruition.

      • Look, we are not looking for special help. We just want Motorola to stop adding unnecessary junks to their phone. A lot of things they do can be done at the app level, why do they insist on messing up the overall stock experience? It is just WRONG that Google does not mandate Motorola to produce skinned phone. No special help, just believe in your OWN damn OS’s user experience, OK?

        • M0nk

          Totally agree. All Motorola developers should be working on software updates and bug fixes (ICS anyone?) and maybe dedicated apps, but not with a different user experience. It is a waste of money and no real benefit for the customer or even the vendor. This is the reason that I change to Samsung: Flash AOSP 4.0 on MY PHONE. All Android phones should allow that and not only “Developer Editions”…

        • Hate to comment on such an old post, but I have to jump in and say that the entire PURPOSE of Android is to provide a base OS that manufacturers can build upon and customize to their liking. They “insist on messing up the overall stock experience” because that is how Google has always encouraged them to work with Android.

        • Jillxz

          But Motorola is still the best phone for making and receiving calls.. Their call quality cannot be beat. No Reception or connection problems. . I can’t say this about most of the others.

          WOW , just saw how old this thread is.

    • Rcl5113

      Crappy? Its better then the compatition for those who don’t care for ROMs

      • Bill Anderson

        They have some cool hardware, but even though the Razr looks cool, it doesn’t have an HD screen or NFC. And if you think their UI skin is better than the competition…

        • Billyrouth2000

          Motorola’s skin isn’t near as buggy as Sense,

          • M0nk

            OK, but how can you justified to invest tons of money on something that looks and works worst than stock? I really cannot understand that on a technical and even economic point of view. This is the only thing I want Google to fix.

          • Gwalker5

            It could be a lot smother and faster. But I guess they want to go down with the ship. Hopefully The Goog is just saying that to look competitive. Because other companies aren’t going to try to build a nexus prototype device if they think Moto has it locked. 

        • Anderson

          RAZRs do have an NFC chip inside the phone. NFC will work after upgrading to ICS.

  • Kiter86

    whew… for a second there I thought that google would get rid of Motoblur

  • “Mr Rubin tare down that wall!” in Reagan’s voice.

    • Marxwasright

      That’s was too perfect

  • bakdroid


  • r0lct

    I think his important comments he made were about thinking OEMs should be differentiating their products and he’s on board with skins.  Sounds like the death of Blur is not around the corner at all.

    • Sounds like the death of Blur is not around the corner at all.

      And I’m perfectly fine with this until Google manages to produce an actual good email client instead of that placeholder.

      • ddevito

        What the hell are you talking about? Have you used the new GMail in ICS yet? Unless you have reserve that statement. 

        I’ll go as far to say that I haven’t used GMail on a desktop/laptop since using it in ICS

        • Can you read?

          I think I clearly wrote “email” there. Not “gmail”.

          • ddevito

            Okay, other than Search what’s wrong with the email client (that Blur’s bests)?

          • IMAP4 Push support.

          • ddevito

            IMAP??? what a joke. Get real. Move along

          • Oh, you prefer POP3? Wow.

          • ddevito

            Wrong again. I haven’t used POP3 or IMAP in years. GMail’s had push support (exchange) for a long time now, and I use the email app for my work exchange account. Both work great (sans a Search button in the email app which was oddly removed).

          • My issue is, I need an easily manageable mail server that can be accessed by anyone.

            IMAP4 is perfect for that. It has everything Gmail has. Why use Gmail over it?

          • ddevito

            Different strokes for different folks. Just seems like a lot of work for just email. 

          • Just don’t get me wrong, but, how do I put it… I don’t like this Google-centric approach.

            Sometimes it’s almost like dealing with Apple fans; when people in unison tell me “There is no god but Google and Gmail is his messenger”, I get really, really suspicious and irritated.

            I mean, how exactly is “just move to Gmail” better than “just get an iPhone”?

          • Unless you have no choice (like with a corporate e-mail account), I would strongly advise moving to gmail.  The gmail app is amazing.  But again, I understand if you need the email app for corporate email.

          • My mail is stored on my own mail server. Colocated. And Mozilla Thunderbird is amazing. IMAP4 provides server-side filters and spam control, along with easy and configurable access from almost any email client in existence.

            I’m not a Google fangirl. I prefer to keep my eggs in different backets, alas.

          • just get everything forwarded to your gmail and setup gmail to send from your email account, simple.

          • But why? I dislike Gmail. I like freedom of choice. With my own mail server I get whatever I want out of my domains, I can set up as many mailboxes as I need, for free. Everything is easily managed via simple Python scripts.

            Why should I move to Gmail? Why should I trust Google with everything?

          • Azndan4

            OK, just trust Motorola instead then. Oh wait, Google owns Motorola. Might as well use the superior email client then. 

          • But I don’t even need to trust Motorola. My email isn’t hosted on their servers. Their Blur email client connects to my server, which I perfectly trust, sure.

          • ddevito

            Kudos for doing it yourself, but it seems like a lot of work for……..email.

          • It’s not. I spent about 10 minutes 7 years ago setting it up. Since then, software updates take about 5 to 10 seconds once in 3-6 months.

        • r0lct

          Forwarding my company/Exchange email to gmail is not happening any time soon.

          • ddevito

            who said to do that?

          • r0lct

            replied to wrong post, this thread is out of control, was meant for a post below yours.

          • ddevito

            No prob.

      • Azndan4

        Lol ICS Email and Gmail are both superior to any other email applications.

        • As long as IMAP4 instant mail notifications aren’t in (with that stupid poll mechanism that should be reserved to POP3), Blur’s mail client is better. I’m sorry.

          • M0nk

            There are several Email apps in the market and THAT is the beauty of Android. I agree that the stock email app is not great, but consider that Google want you to move to Gmail to keep you in their circle…
            For corporate email I can recommend Touchdown. The best feature is that it do not require to give full wipe permission to your employer, just permission to delete the email db file that is encrypted. Other good feature is real push.

  • moelsen8

    come on, take those idiots over and make some good moto android phones.  it’s what we all want.

    • kretz7

      Motorola does make good Android phones. It’s just their software and policies that concern some people.

      • Azndan4

        Define “good”.  Good = nice screen? Well, then Motorola doesn’t make good phones.  And I’m pretty sure that good does not equal defective volume buttons on my bionic.  Oh and random reboots on my droid X and unbearably low speaker volume.  Yeah, I guess Motorola doesn’t make good phones.

        • kretz7


      • It’s not just their software and policies.  Their phones are ugly and the displays they use are horrid.

        • moelsen8

          see i like their build quality a lot.  definitely have to agree on the displays though.  they’re cringeworthy.

          • ddevito

            Yeah my OG could take quite the beating. I do miss that toughness. 

          • moelsen8

            it was a tank, what an awesome two years i had with that thing.

      • moelsen8

         i know, their hardware is my favorite, but they f*cking burned me (and tons of others) with the bionic (and razr, razr maxx, razr maxx hd, razr developer edition……….), and i had to eat the cost of a nexus to fix that situation.  it’s such a disappointment that google isn’t going to take charge completely because their phones themselves are awesome.  but no more blur, and no more bootloader bs.