Oracle vs Google: tech pundits weigh in

Apr 18, 2012
26
Oracle vs Google: tech pundits weigh in

There's no lack of opinions out there this week on the long-coming case between Oracle and Google on who holds sway over the data they're disputing, data used in Android that Oracle says is theirs. Where everyone seems to agree, it seems, is that this situation could be serious. Should Oracle be found in their own rights to get a piece of the Android action after Google's been using code of theirs for the time Android has been live, Google could be in for a rather sizable chunk of payments coming up quick. If Oracle is found incorrect, on the other hand, Google will finally be free of accusations from one of their biggest looming legal threats.

Across the web we've heard tech voices speaking up on their take on the situation. Here on SlashGear, Chris Davies noted the first blows by Google in the case as being calling Oracle a Vampire, attacking Google now that their own smartphone ventures failed:

"Google pointed to three attempts by Sun – later acquired by Oracle – to build Java-based smartphone platforms. The company’s goal was “to build a mobile phone applications suite on top of JavaFx which will make Apple’s iPhone a direct competitor of ours,” according to an email from Oracle’s Larry Ellison to Sun’s Scott McNealy back in 2009. “We would then license the Java Phone software to carriers like Verizon” Ellison concludes.

That, perhaps unsurprisingly, fell flat; indeed, Google pointed out, Sun ended up giving the Java language to the public, and then Google built Android partially on top of it. The company even “publicly approved” that use, making this Oracle case laughable, the search giant claimed." - Davies

Over at Boing Boing, Rob Beschizza quoted no less than Oracle CEO Larry Ellison speaking in the case at hand, saying the following appears to be "a gift to Google's lawyers":

“Do you understand that no one owns the Java programming language?” lead counsel Robert Van Nest asked. Ellison began a longer answer, but Judge William Alsup interrupted him and said it was a “yes or no” question. Finally Ellison said, “I’m not sure.”

“And anyone can use it without royalty?” Van Nest followed up.

“I’m not sure,” Ellison said again.

Then Van Nest showed a video of Ellison receiving the same question on a deposition video and answering “That’s correct” to both.

These quotes come from a Wired article by Caleb Garling where Oracle is "caught", so to speak, several times on the opposite end of the argument they're making now.

"Google’s lawyers seemingly found other situations where Ellison changed his tune, for example on the nature of an Oracle and Google co-development project for Java. And in a video from a JavaOne conference in 2009, after seeing an Android phone shaken at him while on stage, Ellison says, “We can see lots of Java coming from our friends at Google.” The idea apparently being to show that Ellison knew about and supported Google’s development of Java." - Garling

Over at CNET, Larry Dignan spoke up on the situation with a simple two-sentence wrap-up:

"The takeaway here is clear. Oracle and Sun failed to monetize Java on the mobile front, and now Oracle is trying to use the courts to achieve what they couldn't do in the marketplace." - Dignan

At The Verge, Bryan Bishop speaks on the power of the case and, again, what it will mean for the tech world in the end:

"It's a dramatic story from both parties, but no matter what the narrative, the case still seems to be one that comes down to simple matters of copyright. If the judge agrees that Java and other programming languages are protectable under current copyright law, and the jury finds that Google did indeed copy code, it's unlikely that any number of intentions or motivations from the involved parties will factor into the end result." - Bishop

Over at Ars Technica, Joe Mullin spoke on how Oracle welcomed Android when it was first initiated:

"Today Google responded … its lead lawyer, Robert Van Nest, gave a one-hour opening statement to the jury this morning. The Java APIs are free for all to use, just like the Java language itself, Van Nest told the jury—and Google built Android on its own, from scratch. When it was finished, Java's creator, Sun Microsystems, wasn't angry. It didn't come demanding royalty payments. In fact, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz congratulated Google publicly and welcomed Android." - Mullin

Mister Caleb Garling spoke up today on one of the key questions and answers asked in the case thus far:

"When asked if he was aware of any companies today that are using Java without taking one of the platform’s three licenses, Ellison responded, 'The only company I know about is Google.'" - Garling

Let us know what you think of the case thus far! Are you feeling that Oracle has a case, or that Google will win over with their open-source software in the end? Who owns the Java?


Must Read Bits & Bytes