Oracle v Google: Lindholm takes the stand in Java trial
Insists 'smoking email' has been misinterpreted
The Google engineer who wrote a contentious email that Oracle is hinging part of its Java patent case on has said that his words are being misconstrued.
Timothy Lindhom, a former Sun engineer who joined Google in 2005, wrote an email in 2010 to Andy Rubin, head of the Android team, saying he had been asked to look into alternatives to using Java in Google's mobile operating system.
"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," he wrote.
Oracle has made many references to this email in the four days the trail has been running, and fought hard to include it in the trial, seeing it as evidence that Google was aware of Java code being integrated into Android.
Not so says Lindholm.
When Oracle's lawyer David Boies asked him if this meant he was recommending that Google purchase a license for Java from Sun, Lindholm replied in the negative.
"No, it was not," he said, Bloomberg reports. "It wasn’t specifically a license from anyone."
The email came up extensively yesterday, when Google CEO Larry Page was questioned repeatedly on the topic. He said then that he didn’t recall the seeing email and only vaguely remembered Lindholm. He was warned by the trial judge that he should expect to be asked back to the court to answer further questions. ®
"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,"
Lindholm is not a lawyer and in particular is not an IP lawyer. So whatever he "concludes" is completely irrelevant.
What if a plumber had a look at that zit you've been nursing and "concluded" you had cancer? You'd laugh your ass off and tell him to get back to his plumbing.
Re: actaully relevant
The fact that this is in court means, no, it wasn't obvious to everyone. More exactly, it isn't obvious to Googles legal team or they'd have settled. Aside from the API copyright claim, Google appear to have done everything required to avoid needing a license from Sun and the API claim is about to be tested.
I'd also remind you that 'Need a licence.' and 'need to negotiate a licence' are different statements. The 1st is a specific admission of fault, the 2nd could be a preferred option faced with impending litigation regardless of the merits of that litigation.
Lastly something important was made revealed: Lindholm NEVER worked on Android or with the Android team! Expect Google to remind the jury of that in summation, it devalues the email evidence.
With all due respect I disagree.
At risk of stretching our analogy to breaking point: just because our plumber works in the maintenance department of a cancer hospital still does not mean he is qualified to diagnose cancer.
He may be asked to comment on whether the hospital's waste disposal systems are up to code (a code which may be more specialised than the usual) but that's about it.