Feeds

Oracle v Google round-up: The show so far

What’s going on here? Who’s winning?

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Enter Schmidt

Oracle adds that during this period Google hired key Sun Java personnel, who were working under former Sun executive Eric Schmidt. Schmidt had joined Google in 2001. While this is true, the implication is that Google needed these stars to create its “Java OS”. In fact, key Sun staff drifted to the Chocolate Factory throughout this period, preceding Google’s interest in Android. But the testimony of one defector has attracted the most coverage.

Tim Lindholm, a Distinguished Engineer at Sun, helped write the original Java VM, and joined Google the same year Google acquired Android. In 2010, with Android a huge hit, Larry Page asked him to explore alternatives to Java.

Lindholm concluded that all the alternatives “suck[ed]” and “we need to negotiate a license for Java”. Google fought a long, hard but ultimately unsuccessful battle to keep this email out of court. This week Larry Page couldn’t recall who Lindholm was, or making the request. Oracle details the code copied from Java into Google. This makes it difficult for Google to argue it was any kind of clean-room implementation of the key Java libraries (classes). Private classes were copied verbatim. And Android remains the only Java system in the world that doesn’t have a Sun/Oracle Java licence.

Click to enlarge

For its part Google has shown the court statements by Sun’s last CEO, talkative Jonathan Schwartz. Schwartz “applauds” Android and vows to support it, in 2007. It’s thin stuff, though. As Florian Mueller points out in his analysis, Schwartz’s comments cut little ice with the Judge.

That’s the meat of Oracle's copyright case - the trial is still ongoing. Patents will follow in the weeks to come. In court this week, the exchanges were largely theatrical. Lindholm was hung out to dry by lead lawyer David Boies (which is all Boies had to do). Google executives including Page have adopted the Clinton-Gates defence of not really being able to remember anything that was going on.

So... it doesn’t look great for Google. The principle is if you use someone’s stuff you pay for it, or invent your own. But as I pointed out earlier this week, it’s a peculiar situation. Oracle’s victory might not get it the damages it wants – the judge has consistently scorned the size of these claims – and it may extend copyright into new areas, causing huge confusion for the industry. But the case falls into a murky area where simple, clear sensible law should exist. When that happens, the lawyers are the biggest winners. ®

Related link

Oracle's case in slides (PDF)

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.