SoftBank withholds $100 million from Essential Products
Android co-starter Andy Rubin will not be receiving $100 million in funding from Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Rubin is reportedly launching a smartphone to compete with the iPhone through a new company called Essential Products. SoftBank-owned Sprint was rumored to have played with a prototype at CES.
Late last year, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son associated himself with then-President-elect Donald Trump by pledging $50 billion of direct investments into the US startups. One of them was to be Essential Products, but the funding was cut off at the last minute. The deal also scrapped a carriage agreement in Japan through SoftBank’s wireless service.
Sources say the cut-off was because of SoftBank’s “increasingly close relationship with Apple,” which plopped $1 billion into the conglomerate’s Vision fund.
Essential Products is expected to launch with its premiere product around the middle of the year. Business Insider reports that the company has a funding round underway with a potential pot of over $100 million.