Alphabet's sale of two robotics companies this week should serve as a warning to all the other robots whose budgets depend on the approval of CFO Ruth Porat: From now on, merely becoming a YouTube video star isn't enough to stay on the payroll.
The sales to Softbank, the Japanese conglomerate owned by billionaire investor Masayoshi Son, show that the fiscal discipline Porat has brought to Google's parent company extends even to its most high-profile technologies.
Her focus on the bottom line has reportedly earned Porat the nickname 'Ruth Vader' at the company, after the Star Wars arch-villain of the same name.
While Porat's cost-cutting regime may put fear into the hearts of engineers dreaming of the distant future, it's been music to the ears of Alphabet investors focused on this year's market returns.
One of the companies sold this week, Boston Dynamics, has built a group of robots that can run up stairs, leap over obstacles and bounce back from a swift kick as good as any human, as shown by their massively-popular YouTube videos.
Clips that showcase different members of the cutting-edge metal crew, who have hip names like WildCat, Spot and Atlas, have garnered more than 76 million views on the Alphabet-owned video service.