Today, Bloomberg Businessweek published a profile and an interview with Sundar Pichai, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) senior vice president of Android, Chrome, & Apps. The features ran ahead of Pichai’s appearance as the keynote speaker at Google’s annual I/O conference. While Pichai confirmed a few of the areas regarding which Google will make announcements at the conference, he also made some interesting comments on what’s going on with Android, and the competition between Google and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
In the profile, Bloomberg charts Pichai’s climb up the ranks at Google — from managing the Google search bar that appears in the right-hand corner of Internet browsers, to proposing that Google join the browser wars and build Chrome, to becoming the head of Android after Andy Rubin resigned from the position. The feature credits Pichai’s rise to power as “one of the most powerful technology executives in the world” to what Google CEO termed Pichai’s “deep technical expertise, a great product eye, and tremendous entrepreneurial flair.”
The Android mobile operating system runs on 1.2 billion devices around the world, and while the company won’t discuss the OS’s profitability, it’s considered vital to the company. It drives traffic to Google’s search engine and to ads on its map service. Each company that manufactures phones that run Android has to work with Google to strike a balance between highlighting Google services and making its own modifications to the open source software.
That has led to complex relationships with manufacturers like Samsung (SSNLF.PK), and with companies like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which numbers among the companies that have created custom versions of Android that omit Google services. The complex system of allowing many manufacturers to create devices running on multiple versions of Android runs counter to the way that Google’s biggest competitor, Apple, develops and releases the phones that run its iOS operating system — Apple’s own iPhones are the only phones running iOS.