So here’s the deal. Oracle filed an infringement case against Google for the use of Java on its Android OS, seeking damages in the billions. Last week’s dramatic development put Google in a bad light when it was discovered that Google rejected a $100 million deal with Sun Microsystems to use Java code in its Android OS. But it turns out, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz, initially praised Google for its use of Java on his blog, lending his support to the mobile initiative.
The blog post, since erased by Oracle, is now seen as an act of withholding information in court. But because of today’s technology and web archiving, the blog post has been recovered. Schwartz’s blog post read:
Congratulations Google, Red Hat and the Java Community!
I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform, Android. Congratulations!
The whole blog post can be seen at groklaw.net.
District Court Judge William Alsup, rejected both Oracle and Google claims, reprimanding them both for recent court tactics. The judge questioned Oracle’s estimate that Google had caused between $1.6-$6.1B in damages, while he scoffed at Google’s claims that the money it’s made through advertising on Android devices has no relation to the Android operating system. Google’s counter to Oracle’s $6.1B claim was to argue that Android was essentially valueless and that it therefore couldn’t owe Oracle any money. Alsup also rejected Google’s claim to be allowed to pay only $100M, based on Sun’s initial offer, and stated that the amount should be a baseline of damages for Oracle to consider.
Alsup also warns Google that they may lose, especially with the e-mail submitted as evidence by Oracle. Alsup stated, “You’re going to be on the losing end of this document—with Andy Rubin on the stand. If willful infringement is found, there are profound implications for a permanent injunction.”
The e-mail partly reads: What we’ve actually been asked to do by Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] is to investigate what technical alternatives exist to Java for Android and Chrome. We’ve been over a bunch of these and think they all suck. We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java under the terms we need.
So with new evidences making its way in court, it’s still too early to tell who will actually win the battle. Android lovers are rooting for Google, with wishes for this issue to be resolved and forgotten. But Oracle supporters are fighting for what they believe is their right, standing for licensing recognition and compensation in an open source community.
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