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Boston Robotics sale evidence of new discipline

By dailymail / Published on Saturday, 10 Jun 2017 13:32 PM / No Comments

Another robot, called Cheetah, can sprint slightly faster than Usain Bolt, the Jamaican Olympic champion known as the world’s fastest human.

As interesting as its robots may be to online viewers, though, any market for them is still between nascent and speculative.

Alphabet’s robot division was put together four years ago in a flurry of acquisitions by Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile operating system that today generates a large chunk of Google’s ad sales.

Yet Rubin left Google a year later, leaving behind more than a half-dozen companies located in multiple countries, reportedly bereft of leadership or a coherent vision.

Enter Porat, a former executive with the giant investment bank Morgan Stanley, to clean up the financial mess.

Less than a year after she arrived, Boston Dynamics was reportedly on the chopping block.

Porat said at the Code technology conference last week that she and other top Alphabet executives meet weekly to evaluate the company’s more speculative businesses, which it calls Other Bets.

Less than a week later, Boston Dynamics and another company called Schaft joined a long and growing list of companies that have been sold or scaled back since Porat arrived.

Her tenure has been a boon to Alphabet shareholders, with its stock up more than 70 percent since she joined, far outpacing the gain of the broader market for tech shares.

In the first quarter, Alphabet’s net income surged 29 percent, to $5.4 billion.

If the engineers of Boston Dynamics wanted to keep getting funded out of those profits in the Porat era, they perhaps should have taught Cheetah or Atlas how to develop a go-to-market strategy.

Watch: Porat discusses Google’s mission

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