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Former! Android! Open! Source! Boss! Takes! Job! At! Yahoo!

Mayer poaches mobile talent from old stomping grounds

Photo of Jean-Baptiste Quéru

The former head of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) at Google has jumped ship to the competition.

Jean-Baptiste Quéru announced that he has accepted a job at Yahoo! via his Twitter feed on Tuesday, and the Purple Palace quickly responded with a welcome tweet.

Quéru rattled the Android community in August when he made it known on his Google+ page that he was stepping down from his position as maintainer of the smartphone OS's open source code base.

In a brief note, Quéru explained that hardware vendors' persistent refusal to release source code for their proprietary hardware drivers had, in his opinion, made his position untenable:

There's no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can't boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I'm getting the blame for something that I don't have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead.

Android is technically an open source operating system because it is developed in a collaborative manner and most of the code is released under various open source licenses. But almost all real-world Android devices contain some components for which open source drivers are not available, which means it's not possible to build a working copy of Android for them from the open source code alone.

At the time of his resignation from AOSP, it wasn't clear whether Quéru had moved on to a different position at Google or left the company entirely. His Google+ page has offered few clues since, other than some musings on the relative costs of renting versus home ownership in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On Tuesday, Quéru announced that he had accepted a position at Yahoo!, and while he was cagey about the specifics, he said that he is "going to be working in engineering on the suite of Yahoo! mobile apps."

Mobility has been a particular area of focus for the Purple Palace since CEO Marissa Mayer took the corner office in 2012. During Yahoo!'s most recent earnings call in July, Mayer said, "Yahoo's future is mobile and we're delivering our products mobile-first," and added that the company had reached a pace of launching a new product every week.

Monday was Quéru's first day on the job at Yahoo! and he reports that he had "a lot of fun." ®

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