Now that Google is selling Boston Dynamics, was it a bad idea for them to buy it in the first place?

Probably it was a decent idea:

  • Andy Rubin was one of their most talented and innovative senior executives.  He gave them Android.
  • He moved over to own ‘robotics’ at Google.
  • Time matters.  Build vs. buy.  Clearly, a decision was made to buy a bunch of start-ups and companies to get their faster rather than build everything from scratch.  This always, and knowingly, comes with a trade-off.  Whatever you buy is compromised, built by different engineers, with different goals, different hacks, different trade-offs that you’d pick, etc.
  • Presumably, Boston Dynamics was one of the best “targets” and ideas for getting there faster, even if a defense-related business model made no sense.   You make a Target List in M&A when you want to enter the space, and force rank.  All targets have flaws, but presumably, Boston Dynamics was high on the list.

But … then Andy Rubin left, for whatever reason.  Then — it becomes a distraction.

Get rid of distractions.

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Published on March 25, 2016

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