Two former Sun leaders have sparred off this week in the Oracle vs Google case that’s shaking the Android universe to its knees with its implications. Though we first heard about this Oracle business with Google over a year ago, the case has only just started officially this past month, today showing Oracle’s case for Java code used by Google in Android to perhaps have been the non-free-use property of Sun (now part of Oracle), but perhaps not. Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz as well as Sun cofounder and chairman Scott McNealy have testified this week, each having their own rather different view of the situation.
While Schwartz’s former boss McNealy made it clear that Sun’s policy did not include the allowance of other companies to use their Java codes without a license, Schwartz’s words rang different. Google is currently being sued by Oracle for using a number of codes they say Google used in their mobile operating system Android without permission, saying now that they owe them cash for doing the deed. Schwartz’s account, according to the Verge, went something like this: he at the time supported Google’s use of their code, this giving Andy Rubin the go ahead, or so Rubin thought, to use the code in question.
When pushed for further information, Schwartz noted that his word back then was written to gain the favor of developers who would then be working with Android: “you can try to embrace it and build more value around the edges, or you can litigate and try to stop it.” Schwartz also responded to a question, according to CNET on whether or not these JAVA APIs were considered proprietary or protected by SUN:
“No. These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people…we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible.” – Schwartz
Schwartz left the company when Oracle took over Sun, having found differences in the way they did business. When asked today why he thought it was that Google called him into court rather than Oracle, he noted:
“I believe Oracle was frustrated with my guidance [back when I left.] I was waiting for Oracle to invite me [to this case.] I assume [Google] felt i had value to add.” – Schwartz
Responding to Schwartz note that his position with Sun and his decision to congratulate Google on Android was more for business strategy than legal, Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs mocked him, saying, “Ohhh, I’m sorry. I used up some time I did not need to use.” So said Mercury News, also present at the case this week to take notes.
McNealy, on the other hand, again testified that Sun never OKed Google’s use of the code spoken about in this case. McNealy also noted that Google should have sought a license agreement which would allow Sun to avoid any incompatible programs. Questioned about the blog in which Schwartz congratulated Google on Android, McNealy made sure to note that it, the blog, was not an outlet to express company policy. He also added, referring to Schwartz:
“If you won’t tell him: I didn’t read it.” – McNealy