Andy Rubin left Google in 2014, with a $90 million payout from the search giant. This was after a sexual misconduct claim was made against Rubin to Google executives. The claim was made by a woman that Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship with, noting that he coerced her in a hotel room in 2013. Google did an investigation into the claim and concluded that it was credible. Following that, Google's CEO (at the time, this was before the spin off into Alphabet) Larry Page had asked for Rubin's resignation. Which is what happened, and with that exit, Rubin was paid $90 million. As you might have expected, Google could have simply fired Rubin, and paid him little to nothing. But the search giant instead decided to give him a $90 million exit package that was paid in installments of around $2 million per month for four years. That last payment to Rubin is scheduled for next month.
But this is not what was made public when Rubin decided to leave Google in 2014. Instead, Google's CEO, Page stated that he wanted "to wish Andy all the best with what's next. With Android he created something truly remarkable – with a billion-plus happy users." While keeping the sexual misconduct claim under wraps from the world. However, this claim came to light last year, shortly after Rubin's new company, Essential Products, launched its first (and only) phone, the Essential PH-1. This caused Rubin to take a sabbatical from the company for a few months before returning earlier this year. The reason behind the sabbatical was hoping that the issue would go away and people would forget about it. But that doesn't seem to have happened here.
Background: Rubin isn't the only one that Google has protected from sexual misconduct claims over the past decade. He is the third executive to get that protection. Two of the three executives were ousted and Google paid them millions of dollars in an exit package, even though it wasn't required to do so. The third instance remained in a highly compensated post at the company. And Google stayed silent about all of the accusations. This is coming to light now, because the New York Times has obtained some documents, and spoken to more than 30 current and former Google employees about these claims. This also included some that were handling the claims. the cases weren't all the same, but Rubin's really stood out because of how much Google paid him, and after Rubin left, Google invested millions into his next company, Essential Products.
This is all part of the way things work in Silicon Valley, in fact one of Google's co-founders, Larry Page had dated Marissa Mayer, who was one of the first engineers at Google and later became CEO of Yahoo before it's sale to Verizon. The other co-founder, Sergey Brin, had an extramarital affair with an employee in 2014. And Google's former CEO, Eric Schmidt had retained a mistress to work as a company consultant. But the difference with those three, is that these were consensual relationships, and not sexual misconduct. But there is still that environment of having mistresses and extramarital affairs. And it's all to common in Silicon Valley unfortunately. Then there was also Amit Singhal, who was a senior vice president at Google, and was accused of groping a female coworker at an off-site event, in 2015. Singhal left the company in 2016, saying he wanted to focus more on philanthropy and his family, though it was likely that he was also forced to resign like Rubin was. Rubin is not the only one to be accused of sexual misconduct at Google, or really any company in Silicon Valley and all of this is part of the #MeToo movement that has been occurring over the past year or so, with women speaking up more and more now about sexual misconduct against them.
Impact: Rubin was likely the biggest case for Google because of who he was. Rubin created Android. He then sold it to Google in 2005. Google paid around $50 million for the startup, which in 2005 and for a company that had done effectively nothing at the time, was a whole lot of money. Rubin continued to work with the Android team for a few years after the company bought Android, before moving onto robotics inside Google. He eventually lost out on the power struggle for Android when Google decided to merge the two teams and Sundar Pichai (now Google's chief executive) took control of both Chrome and Android. That was the start of Rubin's exit. It was also mentioned that Rubin would often times berate his subordinates, calling them stupid and such. Google reportedly did very little about this. Of course, this is something we've also heard about another executive that came to Google in an acquisition and is no longer with the company: Tony Fadell, the founder of Nest who eventually left the company due to the fact that it couldn't get any products created.
Internally, it looks like there are a number of issues when it comes to Google. Not only the sexual misconduct issues, but also how product managers and VPs are talking and treating their subordinates. Now obviously, it's none of Google's business if these executives are dating coworkers in an extramarital affair, if it is consensual, like Page and Brin's relationships were. But if they were not consensual, then that is where Google needs to step in, obviously. Of course, paying Rubin that big exit package was likely how Google was planning to keep this all quiet and swept under the rug. Many of the sources that the New York Times spoke with about this, were under non-disclosure agreements, so they couldn't be named. Like the #MeToo movement that has rattled hollywood and the news industry, with people like Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer being ousted, the same needs to happen in Silicon Valley, and rather soon. It's very clear that there is a big issue in Mountain View, but there is also likely an issue with other companies out west including Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft and more.