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Larry Page has painful day on stand in Oracle Java case

Deploys James Murdoch defense over smoking email

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Google CEO Larry Page has had an uncomfortable day in court facing allegations that he knew the company was infringing on Java's intellectual property when Android was being developed.

One of Oracle's prime exhibits on the third day of the Oracle-Google patent trial was an email from Google engineer Tim Lindholm, who had been tasked with finding an alternative to Java for use in Android. Google fought hard to exclude the email from testimony, but failed.

"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," the emails says.

Page appeared to take a leaf from the James Murdoch defensive playbook in court, saying he didn’t remember the email and had not asked Lindholm to investigate the issue. He also helpfully pointed out the cofounder Sergy Brin's name was misspelt on the Lindholm message AP reports.

Page insisted that Google had tried to reach an agreement with Sun about licensing for Java between 2005 and 2007, as other companies had done, but that issues between the two companies proved intractable. Oracle took over Sun in 2010 and started action against Google shortly afterwards.

"We really wanted to use Sun's technology," Page said. "It would have saved us a lot of time and trouble to use Sun's technology. When we weren't able to have our business partnership, we went down our own path."

This was Page's second day on the stand and he was visibly uncomfortable during questioning. US District Judge William Alsup warned him that he'll probably be called back to the stand later in the case. ®

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