Now is not a good time for this: Andy Rubin takes leave from Essential to avoid “inappropriate relationship” scandal


Uh-oh, Essential might be in trouble. Well, the startup is actually in trouble already, as its premium product — the Essential Phone — hasn't been selling well at all and has seen its price slashed to $449, down from the $699 it launched at just 3 months ago. But now, trouble is brewing around company founder Andy Rubin, which will pull him away from the business right during the holiday shopping period. Ouch!

As a reminder — Andy Rubin was a co-founder of Android and a Senior Vice President of Mobile for Google, overseeing the development of the operating system for years until he left in 2014. This year, he announced his desire to produce a “no-nonsense” phone that offers top-notch, vanilla experience to the user and is future-proofed with cool optional hardware accessories — the Essential Phone.

Now, trouble from Mr. Rubin's recent past is gaining up, forcing him to take cover in an attempt to avoid a scandal, which looks like it could be largely unnecessary.

According to a report by The Information, Mr. Rubin left Google shortly after an investigation over complaints that he had an “inappropriate relationship” with a female colleague. See, Google has a policy against relationships between supervisors and subordinates, so this is not a “harassment” type thing — it's an issue of a VP having an alleged romantic relationship with an employee.

Anonymous sources say that the internal investigation concluded that Mr. Rubin's behavior was improper and showed bad judgment. After the story broke, Andy Rubin's spokesperson — Mike Sitrick — stated that “any relationship Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual” and that Google never said that Mr. Rubin engaged in misconduct, nor did he.

However, shortly after The Information spoke with Mr. Sitrick, Essential employees were informed that Mr. Rubin would be taking leave from the company for personal reasons. When he would be back is up in the air.

So, simplifying the information that's out there thus far — Mr. Rubin had an alleged relationship with an employee at Google, breaking company policy, which may or may not have been a catalyst in his leaving the company. Now, 3 years later, the story should be done and buried, but since it popped up at a time when celebrity misconduct stories are running rampant and fueling an ever-spinning outrage machine, it seems Mr. Rubin decided to stay safe and keep his head low.

Do you think this should be coming up at all? Is Essential in trouble?


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27 Comments

1. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Another price drop incoming

14. tangbunna

Posts: 474; Member since: Sep 29, 2016

Essential S is coming soon to recover the business with Double-Top-Notch. lolz

2. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Ahhh so this is why he left Google.

3. Peacetoall unregistered

andy rubin is just showing his incompetence.

11. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Notch like that. Andi Rubin is the founder of Android, he is a very clever man. Google won't be here in this position if it's not for Android. And also Andi Rubin is a human like us, who has a heart and a sole unlike Google.

23. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Just when I think your posts can't get any dumber, you have to prove me wrong. And has a heart and soul unlike Google. Really, you mean a person has a heart and soul and a company doesn't? Who could seen that? Apple wouldn't be in the position it's currently in if not for some of the companies they purchased for their technology either, so why single out Google and vilify them for something Apple does as well?

5. afrohoxha

Posts: 235; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

How could he possibly fall in love with an employee??? Google should fix this vulnerability in its brainwashing machine ASAP!

9. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

According to Google, every worker should be a heartless robot who does everything they say and nothing more. Their employees cannot have a private love life, fun or freedom to express their feelings.

20. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1377; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Isn't that how Apple prefers it's customers, mindless drones that do whatever they say and buy whatever they make? Deprived of freedom, of choice, of individuality.

24. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Most any company around has this policy, where superiors and subordinates can't have romantic relationships. If that is allowed to happen, the subordinate might get preferential treatment in the form of promotions or raises. It has nothing to do with being cold or heartless, it does have to do with ensuring everyone is treated fairly and the same, with no one being able to advance or benefit from anything but their own merits.

6. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Never thought I'd see a phone company messier than HTC.

8. Bfrenz

Posts: 285; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

Nerds? Romance? You gotta be kidding me. Its impossible.

13. LanjaKodaka

Posts: 219; Member since: Sep 27, 2016

This man has been through a lot of ups & downs. Thanks Andy for Android.

15. bigshow

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

The Essential relationship coming in late December. low cost of $300,000,000

16. An.Awesome.Guy

Posts: 636; Member since: Jan 12, 2015

" phone that offers top-notch," so that is why he created the notch on the Essential

18. KingSam

Posts: 1425; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I don't want to see essential go. More competition is better but they should have positioned themselves as a "nexus" of sort rather than rushing into the high end. There's the big dogs up here.

21. lallolu

Posts: 732; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

This seems like a lame excuse to leave the company. The relationship described does not fall under MeToo since he had a consensual relationship with someone.

22. p51d007

Posts: 703; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

One and done....and not the best phone they could have produced. Too expensive, too many bugs.

25. jacky899

Posts: 430; Member since: May 16, 2017

Who cares about his personal life. Its what he did for the tech industry that matters. Sad to see him walk away from Essential. I had high hopes for the company and the Essential phone was a beautiful phone. It just wasnt ready for prime time. Hopefully even without Andy they can still learn from their mistakes from the 1st round and release the ultimate Android phone next year.a

26. Firenze91

Posts: 205; Member since: Nov 19, 2014

Well Tim Cook will never have that problem

27. Skizzo

Posts: 403; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

It may not have been in keeping with company policy (which is probably why he left), but it was a consensual relationship between two adults that happen to work together. If they were both of equal positions within the company, nobody would bat an eye. This is not a scandal, and lets not dilute the already absurd "me too" pile on when it comes to legitimate sex abuse scandals.

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