Result of Nest's 'Virtually Unlimited' Budget: Goose Egg

After Nest CEO announces departure, details trickle out about Google, employee woes
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2016 1:28 PM CDT
Result of Nest's 'Virtually Unlimited' Budget: Goose Egg
In this Oct. 1, 2013, photo, Tony Fadell, founder and CEO of Nest, poses for a portrait in the company's offices in Palo Alto, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Tony Fadell, the CEO of Nest—the smart-thermostat manufacturer sold to Google two years ago for $3.2 billion—announced Friday he was leaving to work as an adviser to Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet (Google and Nest's parent company), the AP reports. And as more details leak, it appears Nest's stint under the Google umbrella has not been a productive or happy one, with Ars Technica documenting Nest's failure to deliver, despite being given a "virtually unlimited budget" and a storehouse of Google resources to grow. That included Nest's acquisition of "smart" hub manufacturer Revolv (since shuttered), as well as the Dropcam video company for $555 million, Fortune notes. "Two-and-a-half years under Google/Alphabet, a quadrupling of the employee headcount, and half-a-billion dollars in acquisitions yielded minor yearly updates and a rebranded device. That's all," Ars Technica notes.

That rebranded device was based on one built by Dropcam, which Ars Technica notes was only somewhat rejiggered to produce the "Nest Cam" released in 2015. And Google reportedly didn't even want to work with Nest, spurning the latter's request to collaborate on a joint project to build a Bluetooth speaker and leaving Nest, which had a reputation for being slow, in the dust, Ars Technica notes, citing a March report from the Information. There was also a barrage of bad Nest-related PR, customers angry at being stuck with unsupported product, and a bit of nastiness between Fadell and Dropcam's CEO, who reportedly called Fadell a "tyrant bureaucrat" who was "holding back progress." A now-vanished Reddit post from an alleged Nest engineer didn't help, claiming that employees would "fall asleep in corners and cry in the bathrooms" in "toxic" working conditions. Now at Nest's helm: Marwan Fawaz, who the Verge notes "will have his work cut out for him." (Alphabet is giving Apple a run for its money.)

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