Andy Rubin, a co-creator of Android, lost out on a $100 million investment from SoftBank as Apple deepened ties with the Japanese investor, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
Rubin's company, Essential Products, is reportedly planning to release a new high-end smartphone this spring, and SoftBank planned to market the phone in Japan, the Journal said. But Apple subsequently agreed to commit $1 billion to SoftBank's Vision Fund, a move that "complicated" SoftBank's investment in Essential Products, the Journal reported Monday.
Apple did not directly block the deal, the Journal said, though Rubin's premium phone would be released ahead of the highly anticipated 10th anniversary iPhone. The deal was "nearly complete," sources told the Journal.
Rubin was the CEO of Android, which Google bought in 2005 to form the basis of its smartphone operating system. At Google, Rubin's leadership of its smartphone business helped turn Android into the world's most widely used smartphone platform. Rubin left Google in 2014 to start various projects, including an incubator for hardware start-ups. He has not publicly discussed Essential or its plans.
The deal's fallout highlights the growing influence of SoftBank's Masayoshi Son, who made a splashy announcement last year to invest $50 billion in the U.S., aiming to create 50,000 jobs.