Report: Former Motorola Mobility President Osterloh Rejoins Google To Lead Hardware Division

Rick Osterloh, former president and chief operating officer of Google's Motorola Mobility unit, to head up a newly formed hardware product division, according to a report Thursday from Re/code.

Osterloh joined Google in 2012 and was named president of its Motorola Mobility unit a few months before Lenovo acquired it October 2014 for $2.9 billion. When the deal was announced, Lenovo partners told CRN they were because they felt it would help Lenovo gain much needed traction in the North American market.

Osterloh is now senior vice president of hardware at Google, reporting to CEO Sundar Pichai.

Nicky Parseghian, director of engineering at SADA Systems, a Los Angeles-based Google partner, said he sees Osterloh's hiring as an emphatic statement of the search giant's commitment to hardware.

"Rick Osterloh’s return to Google’s devices division outlines how serious Google is about reinforcing its position on the market," Parseghian told CRN. "His experience leading a devices-centric organization like Motorola Mobility, along with his experience working within the Google family, is definitely a massive advantage."

According to Re/code, Osterloh now has a much broader scope of duties than he had during his first stint at the company. He's responsible for Mountain View, Calif.-based Google's Nexus smartphone, the Chromecast media streaming device, Chromebooks, and Project Aura, the team that's working on the successor to the Google Glass product.

Google has has mixed results with Chromebooks. The devices have made inroads with consumers, and some Google partners have had success selling them in the education market. But Chromebooks have seen less traction in enterprises, although Google continues to promote them as lower-cost alternatives to Windows PCs.

Google Glass wasn't a hit when it hit the market a few years ago, but wearable computing is seeing growing mainstream usage. Parseghian said he thinks Osterloh will help Google fine-tune the areas of its hardware portfolio that need updating.

"Most of the devices within Osterloh's new realm are already quite successful. With that said, I am quite confident that Rick’s leadership will drive product adoption to the next level," said Parseghian.

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