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Android’s Hugo Barra Departs Google for China’s Xiaomi (allthingsd.com)
101 points by MekaiGS 1370 days ago | hide | past | web | 90 comments | favorite



This is an interesting story. Barra leaves for Xiaomi. Ok, so that's moderately interesting... anyone who chooses to leave Google for anything else tends to get some kind of news (a tweet or two?) b/c Google is supposedly an amazing place to work.

Xiaomi is a Chinese company... plenty of xenophobic, insightful, or whatever comments to cover that topic in this thread.

The story sort of hints that Barra's girlfriend was either poached by or traded-up for Sergey Brin (forgive my language, it's terribly sexist... but that little tidbit in the middle of this article is not there by accident and kinda paints that picture). Who knows? I don't... and other than being an interesting HR case study who cares?

What's completely missing from this article is how Barra impacted Android? I've seen him at I/O. Ok? So what else? He's a quick riser... must have done something... but what? What's not going to get done w/ Android now that Barra is not at Google? Perhaps that kind of information will be forthcoming.

EDIT: Spelling, grammar


"anyone who chooses to leave Google for anything else tends to get some kind of news (a tweet or two?) b/c Google is supposedly an amazing place to work."

I don't know if leaving google is news anymore. The average google employee only stays just over a year before moving on to something else.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-29/why-are-google-empl...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/least-loyal-employe...


Your reading that wrong. Google has 54,000 people working for them and the meadean person working there right now has been with the company just over a year. However, compared to say IBM nobody has been with the company 20+ years and they only had 30,000 people in 2012 so the average is vary influenced by new highers and few long term people to balance it out. Worse there data is stale as people don't keep updating how long they have been with the company.

PS: The real number you want when comparing working conditions is turnover and even that get's influenced by rapid growth.


54K... I'm guessing that's including temps and contractors, which might also include the 1-year average duration.


2 years ago, that was 30k. So, if you assume that the growth is linear, that's 20% of the workforce that has been there less than a year.


According to the article you link, the average tenure is one year for users of a site called PayScale. I've never even heard of it, so they have no idea how long I've worked at Google.


I think you read it wrong.

Its ..

>>The median employee tenure at Google is just more than one year, according to the payroll consultancy PayScale.


He's pointing out that the data comes from PayScale. Most Googlers have never even heard of PayScale, and so the information that is being reported in this article comes from a tiny slice of Google. It's also a biased sample, as someone who goes on PayScale is likely someone who is going to hunt around for the best salary available.

It's dangerous to assume everything you read is correct. You can usually get a hint at how it's biased by reading the article closely.


A number that is skewed by the fast rate of hiring by top-tier companies. When companies are hiring at the rate of Google, Facebook, Apple, etc then even an infinitesimal departure rate of old-timers would set the median at that level.


Your speculation appears to be on the money as Brin and his wife are living apart... and another Googler is involved.

"Brin and Wojcicki, both 40 years old, had been married for six years and have two children. They are not yet legally separated.

The possibility of a reconciliation of the pair is unclear, since Brin has become romantically involved with a Google employee, according to sources. This is further complicated by the fact that that employee had also at one point been involved with another Googler."[1]

[1] http://allthingsd.com/20130828/google-co-founder-sergey-brin...


This is some nasty, tabloid-esque "reporting". It shows little respect for Brin or his wife, regardless of what the situation is. I wish we could not promote or spread this kind of rubbish, as it's not healthy at all.


A British tabloid did a number on Eric Schmidt recently, calling him a "love rat" with "a string of exotic lovers".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2371719/Googles-Eric...

Is this kind of reporting any worse than the paid-for-fluff pieces in TechCrunch, PandoDaily and Wired?


Ahem, I can think of noone more deserving of a hack job than the originator of this quote:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Bravo for the Daily Mail!


When your reaction is "bravo for the daily mail", that's your clue that you've missed something. The full quote is

"I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that information could be made available to the authorities."

He was trying to have that conversation years before Snowden's leaks, and look at the reward he got: people claiming he hates privacy even though he's giving you exact information on how google cannot be your confidant when the US government is involved, and to look elsewhere if you need that.

Not many CEOs are that frank, but look what happened. Gawker quoted only that single sentence out of that whole paragraph, and everyone (even the EFF[1]) quoted Gawker, so as far as someone reading those stories would know, that's all he said. With that kind of coverage (and "advocacy" groups like Consumer Watchdog egging it on), we should know exactly why more CEOs don't speak that frankly, and why all we get is corporate non-speak instead.

[1] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/12/google-ceo-eric-schmid...


I disagree, I was fully aware of the context, and your quote in italics.

Here are some more gems:

"We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about"

"Just remember when you post something, the computers remember forever"

I think you are being too charitable to Schmidt and Google because in my view they are aiders and abetters in chief.

The quote stands on its own because what you have in italics does not in any way exonerate him. You're defending him, as in your view he's trying to drop hints, yet Google pestered people for phone numbers for years, and tracked them over the net, knowing full well what the information would be used for.

My point is he doesn't care for anyone's privacy but his own and that he is a hypocrite. I can dig up some articles on his view of consumer drones if you feel that my point of view needs more supporting evidence.

Further to the many edits I made above, I strongly disagree that the quote you have in italics is exact or frank.


It's a Sergey Brin love Quadrangle according to an Aussie paper - with names and photos:

"an office romance that is being blamed for a split between co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife, and the sudden resignation of another senior male executive who was the former boyfriend of Brin's new love interest."

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/sergey-brin...

If you want to go tabloid, there's Gawker:

http://valleywag.gawker.com/meet-the-google-founders-mistres...


This story is a rehash of a 6 year old story.


In this situation, the reporter(s) at AllThingsD actually have much more detail (as they have clarified on Twitter) but haven't shared out of respect for the folks involved.


It's awfully unfair on Brin's girlfriend too. Being involved with someone who is separated is very different from being involved with someone who is married and still living with their partner.


I found the salacious comments fairly off putting, perhaps AllThingsD thinks the rebirth of ValleyWag is a competitor?

In general product management does what you might think of "brand management" and "design language" so if Android needed roundier iconography I expect Barra was the guy to sign off on that, or if Samsung was getting too aggressive in making it a "Galaxy" phone instead of an "Android" phone he might get involved in that. I don't have inside knowledge, its just the kinds of things that role does in tech companies. That is why I wouldn't expect to see any sort of explicit impact statements wrt to Android. Rubin leaving on the other hand suggested that Android was going to become less the lede and more the flavor. Google has spent a lot of effort on making "Chrome" a more inclusive brand than Android which I find fascinating from a strategy perspective.


> In general product management does what you might think of "brand management" and "design language"

While it's possible some product managers have done that, they don't typically get involved in minutiae like that. Product Managers at Google are more business focused, figuring out what the teams should focus on and keeping them pointed in the right direction based on the market and feedback from their customers + users.


Not to get all anti-Chinese here, because I'm not, but Xiaomi is a big-time GPL and intellectual property/license violator. Not like that's unusual with Chinese companies, but Xiaomi in particular has been publicly called out a number of times on the issue.

http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/11/android-community-demand...

If you thought some of Samsung's early Android phones were too close to copying the iPhone, you've seen nothing. Xiaomi phones blatantly rip off design of other manufactures, especially Apple. They are not even coy about it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/business/global/in-china-a...

As far as the OSS comunity goes, this is probably a career limiting move by Barra right here.


Xiaomi phones blatantly rip off design of other manufactures, especially Apple. They are not even coy about it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/business/global/in-china-a... .

That's NOT what the linked article says at all. It says the the founder, Lei Jun, is is positioning himself and his company as figurative heirs of Mr. Jobs by carefully cultivating a Jobsian image here, right down to his jeans and dark shirts.

It does say He is also selling millions of mobile phones that look a lot like iPhones, but they only look like iPhones in the sense they have rounded corners. If you look at a pic of a phone (eg http://p.www.xiaomi.com/zt/130718/images/m2s_26.jpg?130809) you'll see they are a lot less similar than many phones sold today - specifically the two-color shell makes it immediately obvious they aren't a complete iPhone clone.


Indeed, from that shot it seems like the rumoured iPhone 5C (the C is rumoured to stand for "China") is copying the highly succesful Chinese brand Xiaomi, not the other way round.

http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/budget-iphone-5c-release-...


I really don't want to sound arrogant or rude, but this comment really worries me a bit since it represents the kind of arrogance that's prevalent in the American tech industry. Stories like this represent a global shift of power, financial resource, and more importantly, talent. This trend is only accelerating as far as I can tell, whether people like it or not. The global competition in tech space is heating up to an unprecedented degree.

Yet not even about Android or the mobile market in general, a comment about the feeling of OSS community gets voted to top...


This is also a great strength of Android, IMO. Closed mobile OSes like iOS or WP8 don't give third party vendors the same opportunity to develop deep, system-level expertise that Android does. Everybody outside the parent company is essentially a software sharecropper with no real rights or understanding of internals.

So, as this balance of power shifts to Asia, it's going to be Android that reaps the benefits, not other platforms. Of course, it remains to be seen to what extent Google also benefits from this but at least they will have accomplished their goal of preventing a single company from locking down mobile and boxing their services out of that platform.


i was confused by the grandparent comment - when a "ripoff" company tries to hire innovators, they get shit on? okay...

isn't that what they're supposed to be doing?

we should at least see how this plays out, maybe he'll quit in a fit of rage because they won't listen to him. who knows.


I recently sat in on a meeting between one of my small-biz clients and a lower-level, and very young, employee of a Chinese company. Prior to the meeting the employee had gone on a shopping spree as evidenced by the many shopping bags accompanying him.

During the course of the meeting, it was my client that was kissing butt for a shot at getting some business in the Chinese market, and would pay this Chinese company for the privilege.

At the end of the meeting, my client quipped "don't spend too much [money here]" to which the Chinese visitor responded, "I'm Chinese, of course I spend too much."

The whole meeting was definitely a wake-up call for me, especially after hearing what came from a Chinese national in their early 20's.

EDIT: I will also note that things weren't all roses for the Chinese company trying to operate in a capitalistic fashion. There is a lot of (probably justified) paranoia that the Chinese government would come knocking and severely interrupt their business.


What do you think Hugo Barra can bring to Xiaomi? I mean as you said in the other comment, culture in Chinese tech industry is completely different from in U.S. not to mention Google. So I am curious on your opinion about this. Honestly speaking, given Xiaomi's marketing style, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a brand image consideration of this high profile hiring. What do you think?


Brand image would definitely be important, but not for the Chinese market there. I doubt that many people in China know who Hugo is. I even know quite a few people who don't know what Google is. If I have to guess, it's for building infrastructure (connections) of Xiaomi breaking into the North American market. Xiaomi's CEO is extremely ambitious and there is no way he'd sit out of THE most profitable mobile market in the world. So he starts by making a high profile hiring first, good PR move and a practical move.


From Hugo Barra's G+: "In a few weeks, I'll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global."

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+HugoBarra/posts/BzZMqRht1xQ

So expansion outside of China seems to be the reason.


Ironically, the social network from which he posted is blocked in China.


You're probably getting a little emo about things here. I'm not sure why that comment should "really worry" you. And you're extrapolation of the story into

Stories like this represent a global shift of power, financial resource, and more importantly, talent.

is just plain wrong. If you it makes you feel any better, you're not the only one around here that makes those kinds of emo analysis.


> Xiaomi phones blatantly rip off design of other manufactures, especially Apple

Here is the original Xiaomi phone

http://imgur.com/a/nWsOW

It's iPhone copycat because obviously it has Round CornersⒸ.

There are tons of MIUI roms out there available for download, try it yourself and see if you can find iOS there.


The parent poster links to a story that alleges licensing violations with regards to the Linux kernel. Hardly sounds like a joke to me.


It's more than alleged if you're into the Android modding scene. MIUI extensively rips off Cyanogenmod, contributes nothing back to them (including source, not that they have to under Apache 2.0, but they should) and also completely ignores the GPL for things like the kernel for every version of MIUI they release for any phone. Just do a quick search on XDA developers to see what I mean.

As already mentioned, their only redeeming quality is their phones are easy to mod, but they ignore licensing obligations and have as long as I can remember.


Licensing for what ? Using round corners ? Rectangular speaker hole on top of screen ? How original and inventive are these features ? Is that all what makes an Apple iPhone ? I mean is this copying iPhones ?


I'm not sure what you're referring to, but I am guessing you meant to reply to a different comment than mine? I'm referring to following software licenses (such as the GPL and the Linux Kernel) and Xiaomi has always ignored them comes to MIUI.

I could care less what phone looks like what and not even sure why it's getting so much focus. The more important issue is Xiaomi and their scoffing at the GPL when it comes to the Linux Kernel.


Licensing of the Android software.


Yeah that kind of sucks. MIUI copied more CM than AOSP.

However, every Xiaomi phone can be rooted freely and you can switch to CM or whatever you want. That's one of its advertised selling point in the M1Plus phone.


I'm not so sure. My fiancee owns a Mi Two and I've used it pretty extensively. There are some parts that really copy iOS, but most parts of the MIUI don't look or feel like iOS at all. It's a great OS and has a lot of polish to it.


MIUI is probably the best Android based OS available. I switched to it from Cyanogen and after two years I still keep my old Desire since I can't bother to change to any other OS and then hassle with rooting it. My next phone might just come with MIUI out of the box.


Interestingly, this thread and my frustration with how... boring 4.3 is on my Xperia S has made me download and flash MIUI on it.

I forgot how awesome it actually is. So very well done.


About Link #1: The license violation issue is true in China, though I'm not sure whether Xiaomi touched kernel code or just reworked in userland.

GPL license simply does NOT work in China for two reasons. 1)IP protection is sadly ineffective due to the impaired legal system. In practice, GPL=Appache in China. 2) Consumers hate to pay for pure services without goods delivered due to misconceptions from long lasting low cost of human labor. In practice, free full version software plus charging for premium human support does not work.

These two things are changing slowly but any one interested in China market should never ignore them, especially the 2nd one. Xiaomi will be sued outside China if they violate the GPL license. That's a risk they can't ignore.

About Link #2: For a lot of overseas Chinese like me, NYTimes is notorious for holding biased views towards China. This actually undermines its credibility compared with less biased media like BBC.

I bought a Xiaomi phone for my father recently and I've been Samsung and Apple client for a long time.

IMO, Xiaomi has done a very impressive job to improve Android OS for non-geek people. One of those nice built-in features is seamless fine grain privacy/access control of each app. Another is built-in 3G traffic optimization and metering which is important because 3G data plans provide smaller quotas in China.

Xiaomi brings a lot of merits from IOS to Android not by simply copying designs. They did a good job to solve the pain points for their audiences, who are mostly first time smartphone users. They mainly compete with feature phone vendors other than Samsung or Apple before Xiaomi gains huge traction.

My father was very glad to switch to Xiaomi after my several failed attempts of replacing his beloved feature phone :)

Even I myself plan to buy a Xiaomi to replace my buggy Samsung S3 (never-rooted, less than 1 year) if it's going to release a high-end model.


For a lot of foreigners in China like me, Xinhua/People's Daily/Chinadaily are notorious for holding biased views for China. This actually undermines its credibility compared with less biased media like NYTimes.


That's true :) Most Chinese don't trust them either. That's why Weibo/Forums/SNS come to act as new media.

As for traditional media, BBC has a good reputation in my circles.


Ya, the government then wonders why "rumors" are so quickly transmitted on wechat and no one trusts the official press.

I prefer the nytimes, any newspaper that gets blocked by the great firewall of china must be doing something right. The article about Xi Jinping's family using their family relationships to get rich was spot on, but then that story could be applied to any official's family. They have actual standards and refuse to be intimidated by the CCP. The BBC is too harmonious in comparison, useless to me when I need real news about the country I'm living in.


What makes you think the NYTimes isn't also biased?


I never claimed nytimes wasn't biased, just nowhere near as biased as Chinese news media, which is all the propaganda you would imagine in an authoritarian communist country. Chinese media is so bad, actually, they make foxnews look respectable in comparison.


> ... Not like that's unusual with Chinese companies ...

So you did want to get all anti-chinese here. Your statement would have been just as valid without the 'chinese' qualification.


I'd rather have a license violator than American tech companies selling my personal information or making it freely available to their government.


Do you think that Chinese companies offering web services don't share their user information with the Chinese government upon request?

If you look at my comment history, you'll see that I'm highly critical of US companies' attitude toward privacy, but it's naive to think that the same thing isn't happening in China.


Are there any China-based HNers willing to give a perspective on the startup situation in large Chinese cities? How friendly is China to entrepreneurs and their ilk? How likely is it that in a few years, it will be common for SV engineers to move to China for better opportunities?

I have several friends who have lived/worked in China, and I always hear very conflicted reports. On one hand, that there are plenty of smart, capable people, that the tech industry is booming, that it's well on its way to displace {Silicon Valley|USA|etc.}.

On the other hand, I also hear that it's impossible to do business without running into corrupt organizations/officials, that ruthless copying is celebrated more than true innovation, and so on.

Would love to hear more takes on the topic.


I'm not China-based, but I grew up in China, is now working in Silicon Valley. My father now runs a medium sized tech company in Nanjing and he used to be a high level exec at one of the largest Chinese tech companies. I actually follow the Chinese tech scene relatively closely due to this.

What you heard is all true, and those are actually not really conflicting point of views. The situation in China is very unique and cannot be fully explained without going on and on about the culture and its current political/economical climate.

A few points to note though: Tech people there are smart, educated, and very, very hard working. However the number one thing they all value is "efficiency", or rather: "the efficiency of getting things done". I've talked to people from Tencent, and one guy laughed at American companies approach of writing good, scalable, maintainable but very often over-engineered code. Over at Tencent they very often do whatever it takes to be first to market, and if needed to be, refactor everything 6 months down the road, and rinse wash repeat. It's the only approach that works for them in a hugely competitive market (also the largest one in the world). Company management wouldn't tolerate coding practices that very often serves no purpose other than to stroke the ego of senior software architects.

One may argue the merits of that approach, but if you look at how well services like Weibo, QQ, and Taobao scale (I think Taobao handled the largest E-commerce single-day-ordering in the world last year without having any major problems), it obviously works just as well as the western approach.

So an extension to this mentality is that whatever method it takes to get things done is the best and most celebrated method. Even if it includes brutal copying of a competitor's business model, or bribery of a government official, or direct corporate espionage being employed. The Art of War never mentioned any code of business conduct.

I have a hypothesis that a hardworking American engineering with a super-competitive dog-eats-dog Wall Street mentality may do very well in China, or even enjoy it, but I would never go there with any sort of idealistic vision of an "utopia".

Things happen there happen very fast, and a lot of money flows around very quickly, countless opportunities come and go on a daily basis. It's an amazing place that can make and crush people in the blink of an eye, so in the end, it's really up to what kind of person you are and what kind of lifestyle you want to pursue.


I can definitely back this up. Though, I've been living in Nanjing and I can say that I would not want to be a technical worker here. Overpaid and underworked seems to be the norm, at least out of the ones I'd met.

Would have liked to get the chance to meet your father, sadly I'm leaving Nanjing on Saturday.


You mean overworked and underpaid I presume?


Indeed I did. That's what I get for commenting before having any coffee.


As a developer who also grew up in China (Nanjing as well), I second everything you said. It's like the wild wild west there. I would add that connection is more critical to survive there.


I think in the future quality will be more and more important for Chinese software as well. I see it with my co-workers in Shanghai that they value it more than 2 years ago. Also newer software like WeChat seems to be pretty well done in my opinion.

I can not say this for China Unicoms WoStore App/SDK or BesTV. But I personally know that both of the later two things are made by low paid workers. I think that is still one of the reasons why they can make just a rewrite/refactor because salaries are low and working time is super high. But this will not be possible anymore as salaries are rising especially in Shanghai.


Totally agree


China has some serious problems. The government corruption is getting better but the bureaucracy is on another level. Most people resort to bribery because going through the official channels is next to impossible and the bribe ends up being cheaper but it is starting to change.

The big problem with chinese entrepreneurs is that they dont understand or like they idea or serial entrepreneurship. To sell or merge with another company is considered for your company to have failed not a successful exit. They dont care about having lots of money but having the power of being the CEO of a major corporation that is listed on some stock exchange, they will do anything to get listed even if they dont need the money and know that the stock will tank as soon as the IPO opens. What ends up happening is there are tons of great small tech companies but no giants because the small companies refuse to merge together to compete with giants like google and microsoft. Only giants like tencent and baidu who have become chinese giants on their own can compete globally. This is the big reason why there are few hardware giants coming out of china, there are tons of small hardware companies like xiaomi that refuse to sell their patents and IP and eventually die taking their tech with them. Xiaomi is extremely popular in china and their phones are quite good for the price, they are serious competition for google, samsung and apple in china.


I'm not based in China, but I went to Shanghai on a trip 2 years ago and we had a long afternoon with Chinese investors and entrepreneurs. My takeaways were that there is a growing investment and entrepreneurial ecosystem, but that the attitude is pretty different. A lot of the companies that investors prefer are pretty much Western ideas re-done for the Chinese market. I learned from doing user studies there on Google that there is a slight cultural pushback on "foreign" products, and so there's a big opportunity just to see what works in America and rethink it with a Chinese spin. I'm not sure how well a Western engineer would do trying to produce a Western style company there. Of course, I got the sense that things were shifting quite quickly and so it may well be different now.


It could be a long talk for just an introduction. However, I guess financial market could be a decent analogy. If you have some idea of how financial market really works. Speculators manipulates the market. You can see highs and lows. But in the end, everything will return to what it is supposed to be. Back to China's current situation, I believe it is at the peak of its valuation. Please note, valuation and true value are mostly different. So business people basically talks about money and when they talk about China, they mean the price/valuation. Granted, the current situation could be really good, but always be cautious at the peak. When someone really into product itself which more related to the true value talks about China, price/valuation is way less relevant. In this case, what you see in terms of the product itself is what you can judge yourself. No one can hide anything.

Hope my limited English skills delivered a more macro perspective for you.


Beijing has an active tech startup scene. There are a number of startups, both expat and local. I know of startups doing games, social media, kids books, 3D printing, and advertising. There are a number of meetups, and regular BarCamp Beijing meetings.

From what I hear, starting a company takes about 6 months of pain, but once that's over and you are capitalized with 100k RMB, you get a pretty guaranteed Z visa, so once you get started, it goes fairly smoothly.

However, my personal feeling is that there are two kinds of opportunity in China. The first is the expat market, also companies wanting to expand to China. This is large enough to be comfortable (at least in Beijing). The second is the larger Chinese market, which is where everyone starts seeing money trees. My opinion is that the "opportunity" in the Chinese market only exists for those who are functionally fluent in Chinese, have a solid grasp of the culture, why people do the things they do, what motivates them. This would mostly be local Chinese, or American-born Chinese (or equivalent) with parents from China or Taiwan. A white expat has a nice market in other expats, but Chinese values and habits and their expression is very different from what white expats' default thinking is.

And then, of course, there's the issue that if you upset any apple carts with "disruptive" startups, the owners of the apple carts might exercise some of their guanxi, which means you'd better have some stronger guanxi. You can imagine how good the guanxi-fu of foreigners is.


Chinese developer here. I've just graduated from university and worked at a startup company a year ago.

The thing is that the startup situation here (at least in Shanghai) is actually really good. College students are encouraged to go for their own companies. There're many policies to give benefit for this, like cheap office rent, lower tax rate and many thing else. Investment are relatively easy to get, according to my knowledge. The startup scene (can't find a word to describe this) is also very active. People have these and that kinds of meetups. Many chances of exposure are also available and really accessible, like "Starup Competition" (basically people go there and introduce their products and then most people get a medal), magazine/video exposures are also there. Personally I think it is quite good. The focus starts to move to mobile gaming and mobile apps and such.

I just want to say that the environment is quite good. It's not what most people imaging that government and large companies come and harass you everyday. It's just a successful startup is equally hard, as anywhere in the world.


"Sources in position to know tell AllThingsD that Barra recently tendered his resignation, but that it came before a recent personal situation related to the end of a romantic relationship he had with another Googler, and is unrelated. That Googler is now seeing the company’s co-founder Sergey Brin. As AllThingsD reported earlier today, Brin has split with his wife, and is in that new relationship."

Whoa. Doesn't that seems like weirdly intimate details that really didn't need to be mentioned in a published article?


In this case, I think the personal details are relevant. The premise of this article raises the question, "Why him? Why resign? Why now?", which, if you're operating completely from the business/professional mindset, leads you to wonder if something is wrong in the Android shop.

But if he left because of an uncomfortable personal situation, then that is highly relevant to onlookers, because it removes unwarranted questions about the state of Android at Google.


But didn't the article note that the salacious details were irrelevant immediately after introducing them?

And if the suggestion is that perhaps personal issues nevertheless were a factor, then they still could have done without most of that gossipy detail.

It's distasteful, no excuses.


I sort of agree, but on the other hand it's definitely relevant in terms of why he might have left Google.

Plus, gossip sells.


I'm surprised it wasn't the lede.


Links to another AllThingsD article, x2 the ad revenue from the reader.


Xiaomi's founder, Lei Jun, is an experienced Internet entrepreneur, and Xiaomi's management has a number of ex-Google China and ex-Motorola China folks. So, as a tech entrepreneur in Beijing, I see Xiaomi as more international than most Chinese tech companies (and way more of a tech company than any of the Chinese State Owned Enterpriese (SOEs) that operate in the tech sector).

It's interesting to me that they hired Mr. Barra away from Google. Perhaps he already had a working relationship with people at Xiaomi?

Welcome to Beijing, Hugo!


Most of the laowai (foreigners) I've known to work for Chinese companies get really good compensation but last only 6 months or so...there is something about a company (Qihoo...) that uses timecards for all their programmers, and expects 6-day work weeks, that is quite dehumanizing. Maybe Xiaomi is different, but just having ex-Google/Moto China talent wouldn't be reassuring to me, especially if management is all Chinese, or worse, he would be the only laowai in the company. The culture issues would just be so huge.

Who knows why he chose to come here? This is quite a personal decision.


I can give some insider perspective on Xiaomi as a Chinese guy(Xiaomi user, but not fanboy). Xiaomi was recently evaluated at ten billion dollars. They are THE HOTTEST series of smartphones that young Chinese people and recently their parents are trying to get. Since 2011, it has brought several competitive phones to market, usually priced 300 dollars, selling millions within minutes online. And the quad-core 4.7 inch RED-MI which was partnered with Tencent sells for about 150 dollars, which is winning over the lower end market in China. It has this beautifully polished MIUI OS, which is much better than the original Android, and most other distributions(there are places better than iOS). At the same price, most Chinese made phones, incl. Lenovo, Huawei, Coolpad, have mediocre hardware and software. Xiaomi is often sold at 10% the price online at Taobao, since you need tremendous luck to buy one online (The first batch of Red-MI was sold in 90 seconds, 7 million users were waiting for it, only 10 thousand got one). So to say, Xiaomi is a company creates pretty good smartphones at a fraction of the of ip5 and S4 that mostly everyone in China wants, while mostly everyone outside China has never heard of it. I guess Hugo Barra would be a boon for the internationalization of Xiaomi smartphones.


This reads like the beginning a shakespearean drama, filled with betrayal, vows for vengence, unexpected twists...

I hope most of it isn't true.


Two posts today about google romance, Hugo is leaving as he broke up with his girlfriend a googler And Sergei Brin is romantically involved with a subordinate .


The catch is that the girlfriend and the subordinate seems to be the same person.


Even if they are related its not relevant, just low brow gossip.


I can't comprehend the second part of your sentence :(



here is it from China: xiaomi is a pure e-commerce phone manufactor,it put a very cheap phone to market with highest chips from qualcomm.

how it succeed? it has a miui os, it is 10% owned by qualcomm,made them get cheapest and newest chip, and it's pure sales is online, which made it a huge treat to other mobile phone maufactor.


Since Hugo's departure happened right after Nexus 4 price cut, they are very likely related. It is embarrassing + losing money for Google to sell 16GB Nexus 4 at $249 while 16GB iPhone 5 at $649. As the product VP, Hugo did a poor job on Nexus product quality, marketing/sales, and inventory management. Not surprised to see him leaving the ship.

NOTE: Nexus 7 2013 recently had GPS and touch problem and required another OS update to fix them. In fact, Nexus phones never had good product quality ever since Nexus One.


Since Hugo's departure happened right after Nexus 4 price cut, they are very likely related.

Yeah... no.


I have no firsthand knowledge of the situation, but from the outside, it looks difficult to call Nexus 7 anything other than a huge success.

Nexus 4 is built by LG, and a $249 price looks plausible without losing money. If you can identify one phone that did the most to push carriers to providing reasonably priced month-to-month plans with no overages it would be Nexus 4.

There is plenty to criticize about Android branding, OEM relations, and the Nexus program trying to take on too many issues at once, etc. But the products themselves don't seem to be the problem.


Do you have an evidence to back this up? They reduced the price on the Galaxy Nexus in a similar fashion last year, so I assumed this was a normal price reduction.


As an observer of mobile market, I don't think this is normal price cut. Galaxy Nexus was more reasonably priced, $399 initially, then $349, see http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/27/3120987/galaxy-nexus-hspa-.... There is no chance for Google to make any profit on Nexus 4 at $199, if warranty and customer service cost is factored in. If the product is good, price cut to $249/$299 would be reasonable. There is obviously serious issue to justify such aggressive price cut. NOTE: Microsoft wrote off $900M after Surface price cut.

Regarding Nexus product quality, it is well known problematic. I never saw any Nexus phone with good camera, battery life, wireless reception. The customer service is problematic at best. These problems existed ever since Nexus One.


Yeah. It's not possible that components this year could be cheaper than the year before.

#sarcasm


Cheaper, but not that cheap. Moto X, comparable spec with Nexus 4, has $210-220 Bill of Materials (BOM). Adding cost of sales, warranty, customer service, there is very little margin left, if any.


I wonder if they're trying to sell off remaining inventory before the rumored Nexus 5 later this year.


Well, then why didn't he leave last year? When they cut the price of the Galaxy Nexus by $100 at the same time?

It seems that is their plan. Release a phone that doesn't gouge the customer on price, then lower the price a few months before the next release.




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