Early last week, a legal battle between Google and Oracle over licensing of Java for Android began, with Oracle claiming that Google must licence Java, seeking £630 million in damages.
Oracle began the case with a strong start, offering up e-mail evidence that Android team members had sent out messages and slides confirming that the firm was aware it needed to seek a licence for Android and that initial talks with previous owners of Java, Sun Microsystems, did indeed take place.
Google struck back hard, however, with former Sun CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, taking the stand. When asked the simple and direct question of whether, during his tenure at Sun, were Java APIs were considered propriety or protected by Sun, he simply stated, "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 went on to clarify that Sun did initially want a license fee from Google, so that it could join other firms such as Nokia, Motorola and RIM in advertising devices as Java-certified, with support for cross-platform applications, as at the time it was a £65 million business for Sun. However, Google had decided that it needed more control and deviated from a pure Java specification, breaking cross-platform compatibility, however, "We probably would have paid them to work with us on a Java Phone," stated Schwartz, claiming that with revenue as the firm's core focus, spreading Java and moving away from monopolies such as Microsoft was the firm's core aim.
Schwartz admitted that he wished things had happened differently and stated that "We didn't like it, but we weren't going to stop it by complaining about it," going on to say what was most important for the firm was that Google didn't turn to enemy, Microsoft, "Imagine for a moment if Google selected Microsoft Windows," he said, reminding those at the hearing that this was the only real alternative to the Java implementation at that time.
This writer considers, that with such a strong statement and supporting evidence, primarily in the form of blog posts made by Mr Schwartz at the time, Google has successfully turned the tables on Oracle, though, perhaps this isn't how the court will see matters? What do our readers think?