Essential Products, the startup founded by Android co-creator Andy Rubin, launched its first product — the Essential Phone — to great fanfare earlier this year. But the company’s in hot water over a Google investigation that alleges Mr. Rubin, who took a leave of absence for “personal reasons” on Wednesday, carried on an “inappropriate relationship” with a female colleague while at Google.
For the uninitiated, Mr. Rubin and Android — the company he helped to found more than a decade ago — was acquired by Google back in July 2005. He stayed on at Google for nine years, overseeing the eponymous Android operating system’s (OS) development before departing in 2013 to found Playground Global, a studio that provides resources, mentorship, and funding to hardware startups. According to multiple reports, his departure coincided with the start of Google’s investigation.
The nature of Mr. Rubin’s relationship was never detailed in the report, but states that the employee filed a report with Google’s Human Resources department. Google’s policy prohibits personal relationships between two employees in the same division, and the company’s investigators reportedly concluded that “Rubin’s behavior was improper and showed bad judgement.”
While Mr. Rubin hasn’t commented on the situation, his spokesperson, Mike Sitrick, said that “any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual.” Sitrick went on to say that Mr. Rubin “was never told by Google that he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while at Google or since.”
It’s another setback for Essential, which made major headlines but hit a few bumps in the road leading up to and following the release of the Essential Phone. In Mr. Rubin’s absence, Niccolo de Masi, Essential’s president, will be in charge for the time being.
“At our last regularly scheduled board meeting earlier in November, Andy asked for a leave of absence to deal with personal matters,” an Essential spokesperson told The Verge. “The Board agreed and our President, Niccolo de Masi, will continue to run day to day operations at Essential.”
Via: The Verge Source: The Information