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.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.