Google Explains Why it Turned Down a $100M Deal with Java

Fresh from his uncommon appearance at Google’s Q2 earnings call, CEO Larry Page might make another appearance—in a deposition. Oracle’s request for Page’s deposition has been approved on Thursday by Judge Donna Ryu of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, looking to tap Page regarding his knowledge of Google’s Android acquisition in 2005.

“Mr. Page is Google’s CEO, and he reportedly made the decision to acquire Android, Inc., and thereby develop and launch the platform that Oracle now contends infringes its patents and copyrights,” Oracle wrote in its letter to the judge.

“Mr. Page also participated in negotiations that took place between Sun and Google regarding a Java license for Android and in subsequent communications with Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison (whose deposition Google has requested). Oracle believes that Mr. Page’s testimony will likely be relevant with respect to a number of other key issues in this case as well, including the value of the infringement to Google.”

Google fought this deposition, stating that Oracle’s earlier deposition with Android Inc. co-founder Andy Rubin was sufficient enough.  Rubin, who is currently the vice president for Android at Google, “is far more knowledgeable regarding the facts surrounding Google’s acquisition of Android,” according to the Mountain View-based company.

Oracle first stirred up trouble back in August, when the Redwood City-based company sued the search giant for infringing Java, a software it owns when they acquired Sun Microsystems last year. In the lawsuit, Oracle argues that Android violated its intellectual property by using Java-derived technologies.

Google’s attorney, Robert Van Nest, may have made Google out to be the bad guy, noting on Thursday’s hearing that Google rejected a $100 million Java deal from Sun.

Robert Van Nest, Google’s attorney, said yesterday at a hearing in federal court in San Francisco that the proposed $100 million three-year “all-in” deal in 2006 was for a technology partnership to jointly build Android, rather than for just a patent license.

Oracle is seeking as much as $6.1 billion in damages; a sum close to Google’s net revenue, which was $6.92 billion, for the second quarter of the 2011 fiscal year.

Patent lawsuits are really trending right now, as competitors want to beat Google’s rapidly growing mobile OS.  Apple also filed a lawsuit against Android smartphone makers HTC, Samsung and Motorola, while Microsoft is suing Motorola for the same reason. With all of these cases, Google’s left to question whether patent infringement litigation should be permissible in blocking the competition.

Despite the never-ending litigation, Google is now allowing app developers to upload multiple APKs to the Android Market. This means that developers can offer different versions of their apps with just one product title. The goal is to minimize clutter and to allow developers in exploiting new Android devices without messing with existing customers.

About Val Galin

Val Galin is a staff writer at SiliconANGLE. He's into reading blogs about technology, gadgets, online marketing, and other geeky stuff.