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Google wanted Java 'partnership' with Sun

Oracle shows Google emails suggesting partnership or licence

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The head of Google's Android development team, Andy Rubin, sent internal emails advising Google that the company would need to either partner with Sun or buy a licence to gain access to the parts of Java needed to make Android a success.

The emails came to light in today's court proceedings, as Oracle's counsel David Boies quizzed Rubin over a series of emails from 2005 and 2006. One email mentioned partnership or licensing as alternatives. Another mentioned using a Microsoft virtual machine to get Java working in Android or an alternative tactic to “Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way.”

Boies tried to use the collective sentiment of the emails to demonstrate that Google knew it was skirting the law with its eventual decision to build Java into Android using the Java API and many open source components, but without ever reaching a commercial agreement with Sun.

Rubin conceded in court that at the time of the emails he believed Google would need an agreement to use Java.

Earlier in the day's testimony former Google worker Bob Lee Mitchell said that while some code in Android's Java implementation and Sun's are identical, this may be because programmers simply have no choice but to use the same code.

The case continues, with former Google CEO and Sun CTO Eric Schmidt due on the stand tomorrow. ®

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