Last fall Google managed to lure David Foster away from Amazon as part of an effort by the company to enhance its hardware business. Foster had been a key player for Amazon where he led development on several devices, notably Kindle tablets and the Amazon Echo. Reporting to Rick Osterloh as a vice president of hardware product development, a newly created position, Foster stepped in to help with development of Pixel devices and the Google Home product.
Neither Foster nor Google have released any statements regarding his departure from Google, although a source inside the company claims Foster’s position will not be filled. In the meantime, work will continue on at least two new Pixel smartphones to be released later this year. How much of a setback to those efforts Foster’s departure will be remains unclear.
Prior to Amazon, Foster had also worked at Microsoft and Apple, so he certainly appears to be someone who knows hardware development with so many big players putting him on their teams. At Google the hope was that experience would benefit the company as it focuses more on hardware sales and tries to push more devices into the hands of more general consumers. Many analysts believe hardware will become a “meaningful revenue driver” for Google, although Google and parent company Alphabet traditionally do not break out hardware sales when reporting financial results.