Andy Rubin Returns From Leave of Absence at Essential
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Andy Rubin, the founder of Essential Products, was taking a leave of absence from the company for “personal reasons.” That worried investors roiled by the launch of the startup’s first smartphone, which hasn’t been selling well. But the company’s backers can rest easy, now: Late last week, Mr. Rubin returned to Essential in his former role.
Mr. Rubin’s surprise announcement followed a report from The Information, which revealed that Google, his former employer, had conducted an internal investigation on Mr. Rubin’s “behavior” with a female co-worker. The woman involved reported his conduct to Google’s HR department, which later found that Mr. Rubin acted “inappropriate” because he violated Google’s policy against relationships between coworkers in the same division.
Mike Sitrick, a spokesperson for Andy Rubin, responded to the report, saying that any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual. But now, Mr. Rubin has other problems to worry about.
Essential’s development team has made improvements to the Essential Phone’s camera, which many in the tech press cited as a disappointment, and it’s launched a beta test for Oreo, which also brings support for Treble. But it’s remained mum on its plans for a smart home hub system that can control appliances, connected lightbulbs, and more from a standalone device.
With Mr. Rubin back in the saddle, maybe Essential’s plans will get on track. Here’s hoping.