Nest, the smart home company under Alphabet, has suffered a wave of recent press critical of its culture and business. So much so that, as we reported last week, CEO Tony Fadell appeared before the all-hands meeting of sister company Google to offer a contrite defense of his firm.
That message didn’t stick across all of Google.
A week after Fadell’s visit, several Google employees created images on the company’s internal system — using “Memegen,” an established home for irreverent photoshopping inside Google — ripping into Nest and Fadell, revealing some of the bubbling tension between the two companies, which now operate under parent Alphabet.
The particular impetus for the memes below was the news on April 4 that Nest had opted to sunset products from Revolv, the connected device startup it acquired two years ago. Re/code obtained a few of these images and stripped them of any identifying markers:
Clearly, some Googlers were displeased with Nest’s decision. Some meme creators used the occasion to voice recommendations for what Alphabet should do with Nest, which has not released a new hardware product since Google acquired it in 2014.
But the bigger slight for the Google employees — conveyed in the memes and confirmed by multiple sources — is what they see as an acerbic corporate culture that Fadell, a former Apple executive, has instilled at Nest — one viewed as antithetical to Google’s.
(For context on the above: A Reddit poster claiming to be a Nest engineer berated the company’s overbearing environment; the post is now deleted and never verified [I reached out and didn’t hear back], but I was told it reverberated across Google nonetheless. “Tony is the new Vic” is likely a reference to Vic Gundotra, the former Google exec who steered resources into its Google Plus social push.)
Many Googlers are defensive of their famously relaxed company culture — and, as the memes show, consider Nest an affront to it.
For those close to Fadell, however, his more abrasive, tenacious style is an asset for Nest. They see it as necessary for shipping hardware products and more fitting for a startup, which Nest claims to be. At the Google all-hands, Fadell said his company is on pace to beat sales targets for the first quarter.
Reps for Google and Nest declined to comment. But I was able to verify the existence of these memes with sources at the companies.
Also, I was told that some of the memes created during Fadell’s Google all-hands visit were far more damning. I have yet to see those.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.