Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz stepped down yesterday after employees demanded new leadership. Since Google acquired the smart home startup for $3.2B in 2014, Nest has been in a nearly constant state of upheaval.
Despite Nest’s past product successes, the constant executive drama over the past 4 years is a textbook example of how not to transition after acquisition. But after cycling through several CEOs, Google is finally forcing the unwound Nest into submission.
A match that was never meant to be
When Google first acquired Nest, the market for smart home devices wasn’t as strong as Google had hoped.
By 2016, only 6% of homes had smart home systems and 72% of homeowners had no plans to buy smart appliances in the next 5 years, and co-founder and then-CEO Tony Fadell left the company after butting heads with the brass at Google.
The situation got so ugly that Google tried (unsuccessfully) to offload Nest and all its occupants that year.
Now, Nest is just another Google device
Five months ago, Google took steps to tame Nest by rolling the company’s independent operations into Google’s hardware department.
Nest is now part of a happy hardware family that includes Google Home, Chromecast, and Google WiFi.
Ultimately, Google plans to integrate Nest’s products into a comprehensive voice-powered MegaHome — which should be easier with all those pesky Nest execs out of the way.
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