Google Hires Former Samsung CTO Injong Rhee To Lead IoT Business

Google Inc. has brought aboard Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s former top technologist to help advance its connected device strategy.

Injong Rhee, who served as the South Korean hardware giant’s chief technology officer until December, shared the news in a >LinkedIn post on Monday. The executive wrote that he will assume the role of entrepreneur-in-residence to lead Google’s “internet of things” business and will report to Google Cloud chief Diane Greene.

Rhee brings valuable experience to the role. At Samsung, he oversaw the development of the company’s mobile payment service, Bixby virtual assistant and the Knox security toolkit for enterprises. Rhee >reportedly also led Samsung’s >acquisition of cloud infrastructure firm Joyent Inc. in 2016. One of the stated motivations behind the deal was to enhance the backend systems that support its IoT product lines.

Rhee will use his knowledge to boost Google’s portfolio of competing devices. The executive said in his post that “one of the first things I would like to do with my Google colleagues is to get these efforts coordinated and aligned towards a concerted IoT story of Google … [and] in the process, create distinct consumer and enterprise product lines.”

This would suggest Rhee’s hiring could be connected to the> restructuring of Google’s IoT business that was launched last week. The move primarily affects Nest, the smart-appliance maker that the technology giant acquired for $3.2 billion back in 2014.

Nest, which currently operates as an independent division under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella, will be folded into Google. The unit is set to report to Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware. Google said that the shakeup comes as part of an effort to carry over artificial intelligence technology from its virtual assistant to the Nest product line.

Rhee will likely play a key role in the initiative as entrepreneur-in-residence. “With support from Diane and the other members of the leadership team, I hope to grow Google IoT into a sustainable and profitable business line,” he wrote. 

Image: Google


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