Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Oracle v. Google Update - It's Android v. the World

Another important milestone in the case between Google and Oracle has been reached. Both sides have presented their closing arguments, meaning they’ve exhausted all of their firepower and are now ready to let the judge and jury make their verdicts. 
Oracle closed by saying Google’s wrongdoing is evident due to the chain of emails between Eric Schmidt, Andy Rubin, and Tim Lindholm where all parties acknowledged the licenses needed for them to use Java to construct Android. 
They also declined to respect Google’s claim of fair-use, stating that Android, while free to license, is still used as a commercial product to gain revenue. They are no doubt referring to revenue generated by mobile searches, ads, and the cut they get from paid apps in the Google Play Store. 
Google fired back by saying that Oracle’s idea that SSO (structure, sequence, and organization), in terms of the 37 APIs Google infringes on, can be copyrighted was made up to support their lawsuit. 
They also point out that out of 15 million lines of code in Android, only nine lines infringe on these patents. Finally, Google expectantly cited Sun’s former CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who admitted Sun allowed Google to use the code without legal recourse. The agreement was never formal, but it could go a long way for Google
According to the comments, this is the end of just the first phase of the trial looking at copyright infringement. The next phase will look at whether the patents were actually infringed, so this might go on for a while longer. In the grand scheme of things, this is just another another battle in the Smart Phone Wars, where everyone is using antiquated patent and copyright law to undercut the competition. The other front in this war is, of course, Apple v. Everyone (Samsung, Motorola, etc.), where Apple is suing everyone it can (and they are suing back) in order to restore its near monopoly in the smart phone/tablet market. Don't get me wrong, I really do like Apple's products, but this near monopoly distorts the market and allows Apple to charge higher prices for everything, hold your music (and other) files hostage through abusive license agreements. Google's Android platform is the only serious threat to Apple, which is why Apple is suing companies that make those phones. It doesn't help that Google is also being attacked on the other side by Oracle for infringing on code that will probably become irrelevant soon if it hasn't already.

I might be a biased observer (kind of an Android fanboy), but I have to say I respect the "Google" side of the war because they are pushing the open source model, which encourages more free market innovation. If you haven't heard about Android and the Open Source Project, you can find more about it HERE.

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