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Oracle Thinks Google Owes $6.1 Billion In Damages 243

An anonymous reader writes "When Oracle acquired Sun in 2009, the company got its hands on a lot of desirable technology. While OpenOffice may have fallen by the wayside, Oracle isn't about to let the Java programming language and its associated patents remain untouched if they can generate some additional revenue. In fact, the company is currently in the middle of a legal battle with Google over those patents that could potentially net Oracle billions and leave Android crippled. In August last year Oracle sued Google for infringing Java patents and copyright by developing Android. Oracle argues that Android uses technology derived from Java and therefore infringes multiple patents. It wants compensation, but with most court documents and details not publicly available, it's hard to know specifics. However, new documents made available late last week revealed just how much Oracle thinks is an acceptable damages payment for Google to make. According to an expert Oracle hired, Google could be looking at a bill between $1.4 billion and $6.1 billion for its alleged infringements."
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Oracle Thinks Google Owes $6.1 Billion In Damages

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  • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday June 20, 2011 @12:50PM (#36503084) Homepage Journal

    1. Buy Oracle

    2. Sack those who are responsible for the suit.

    3. Open Java to the Public Domain

    4. Sell Oracle.

    • by wjousts (1529427)
      Even if your strategy wasn't impractical, what would make you think that Google would want to make Java public domain?
      • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:02PM (#36503302) Homepage Journal

        Even if your strategy wasn't impractical, what would make you think that Google would want to make Java public domain?

        Google, for all their recent goofs, still believes in making things available - grow through acceptance and use of technology, rather than standing over customers and developers with a fee schedule and a large club.

        • by wjousts (1529427)
          Good guys in the business world are like the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. They don't fucking exist. Java already has wide acceptance, so why make it public domain?
      • by swillden (191260)

        Even if your strategy wasn't impractical, what would make you think that Google would want to make Java public domain?

        I don't think Google would make the Java tools and libraries public domain. I think Google would release them under an MIT-style open source license, as they've done with the Go language.


      oracle is worth more then google on paper.
    • It would be funnier if they Open-Sourced Oracle DB Kept Oracles Patent Portfolio and put all the different parts of Oracle up on EBay or Craislist.

    • One small problem. Market cap of ORCL [] is 167 billion dollars. GOOG [] is 156 billion. Very curiously the difference seems to be twice the amount ORCL is dunning GOOG for. I leave it to the day traders to argue this is what the market is valuing the value of the law suite.
    • by kimvette (919543)

      Most of Java is licensed under the GPL to begin with - that's actually better than public domain in some ways, because this could be used to turn around and bite Oracle in the ass, since they are distributing GPL-licenses software, and the terms require it to not be hindered by patents else it can't be redistributed. So they could not only get hit by estoppel since they are in fact inviting people to infringe their patents, but those sued could conceivably turn around and countersue Oracle for immense damag

  • Isn't this a standard tactic, ask for some obscenely high figure and then settle for much much less?

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Isn't this a standard tactic, ask for some obscenely high figure and then settle for much much less?

      Know anything about Larry Ellison? He thinks he's a Samurai. You have underestimated his determination to bring Google to their knees.

      • Know anything about Larry Ellison? He thinks he's a Samurai. You have underestimated his determination to bring Google to their knees.

        Eating sushi does not make you a Samurai.

    • Based on the arguments in the Daughbert motion [] posted on Groklaw, I think Oracle will have no choice. Google is taking a pretty good shot at Oracle's expert witness, and based on what I'm reading there, I think Google is likely to prevail in their challenge to the witness.
    • by Amouth (879122)

      Right by Oracle is a blood money machine.. Google is a threat to them - if they have a chance at burning them i really down Larry is going to pass it down..

      Also for how fast this happened after they bought Sun i wouldn't be surprised if this was planned long before they approached Sun with a buyout.

    • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yog (19073) * on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:15PM (#36503536) Homepage Journal
      From the Groklaw article []: "Cockburn Offers No Meaningful Analysis Regarding Copyright Damages"

      That just about sums it up. Oracle shouldn't be picking a fight with Google; they should be thanking Google for helping to spread general Java know-how and promoting it on their phones, even if they've found a way to evade the licensing fees by using a 3rd party JVM.

      Nokia has just started a partnership with Microsoft, so Windows Mobile and Bing Search will probably be their standard platform, with Visual C# as the primary language. Blackberry still uses Java, but they're going down the tubes as fast as Nokia. Meanwhile, Apple continues to prefer Objective C. That leaves only Android as the major handheld platform for any flavor of Java.

      If Oracle wishes to spread Java on the handheld, they could maybe start by not suing the maker of Android. They should instead be negotiating with Google, trying to integrate Oracle services into Android, maybe offer Google a good deal on a fully licensed JVM that performs better than Dalvik. Wasting millions of dollars on lawyers and risking a huge schism with Google hardly seems worth it.

      Microsoft is Google's rival; Microsoft is Oracle's rival. Increasingly, Apple is Google's rival. Maybe the two should get together and unite against Microsoft (and Apple, which has little invested in Oracle's product line). Stupid lawsuits, wasting everyone's time and money. How many programmers could they have hired for the amounts they're spending and will spend on this ridiculous effort?
      • by JamesP (688957)


        J2ME was a mess and a failure

        Android 'fixed' Java on mobile, at what cost?!

        Now it risks going down the drain again!

        And Oracle doesn't care about mobile. Oracle wants the multi-million JVM corporate supports

      • They should instead be negotiating with Google
        This is probably simply the first stages of exactly that. I fully expect a negotiated agreement in the end, that will mutually benefit both. And probably only wind up costing Google lawyer's fees, if anything. This is just Oracle reminding Google who was ultimate authority of Java, and to increase the negotiating position.
      • Dalvik doesn't have to fully implement the Java standard, so it can take shortcuts to be faster then any licensed JVM.
      • This is like the tax debate.

        Eventually that 'popularity' has to translate into revenue.

        Sure the could give away Java and it would be hugely popular. But "Hugely Popular" doesn't make them any money. 0% of infinity is still $0.

        Currently Google is paying $0 for each java license. If Java just becomes "The android language" and they continue collecting $0 why should they care.

        It's kind of like the people who try to use photos without the photographers permission. "Hey but you're getting free exposure." "Yo

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          Currently Google is paying $0 for each java license. If Java just becomes "The android language" and they continue collecting $0 why should they care.

          People keep parroting this crap because Oracle keeps regurgitating this crap. It doesn't exist. Google doesn't need a Java license because they don't use Java. Developers use the java compiler to compile java byte code. That's it. Period. Google is using freely available libraries, which are written in the java language. Oracle's own compiler compiles it and that license is extended by Oracle to all developers. Google isn't a player in the least. At this point, Google's own tools convert the Java byte code

  • Groklaw commentary []

  • C++ is looking pretty good right about now.

    • C++ is and was always good. It's just that people can't program non-buggy in it, and to be honest it is relatively difficult to do so (which is what makes it fun if you have time ;) ). Try vala, although technically it compiles to C.
      • ... and the fact the standard C++ libraries don't do much (compared to Java), and libraries that do stuff are generally no portable, and there is no in-language support for multi-threading, and ..... That is why C++ use declined and Java took over as King of the Hill in global development (according to the Tiobe Index at least).
    • Unless you want to develop on a platform that utilizes automatic garbage collection. You know, for security reasons?
      • by codepunk (167897)

        Yea because you know we have not seen any application security problems with any android app. Oh Wait.

      • by Tarlus (1000874)

        You know, for security reasons?

        I know you ain't talkin' about Java!

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Twinbee (767046)

      They would have been safer going with C# rather than Java. And it's better.

  • So basically Oracle thinks that Google is expecting to spend about 6.2 Billion dollars to pay it's lawyers and is hoping they see it would just be cheaper for them to license the technology from Oracle.

    Please oh please let Google fight this and win. Not because I love Google, but because I hate Oracle.

  • If I was in charge of a software company, I'd think very, very hard about using something other than Java for any future projects. This lawsuit will quite possibly bite Oracle in the ass over the long term.
  • I guess Larry Ellison is needing some extra money to start building his next yacht.

  • It may be time for a Groklaw comeback...

    • by Liquor (189040)

      PJ is still backing the site, and keeping an eye on things, but Mark Webbink (from Red Hat's general counsel) is doing the the articles.. and seems to be as impartial as PJ, though not with the same humour (so far, at least).

      The articles there go into details about Oracles claims and Googles counters.

  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:14PM (#36503532)
    I doubt Google would infringe on someone else's patents. That would be evil, and that's not how Google rolls.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:20PM (#36503604) Homepage

    And I hear that Google has a lot of Python running in-house already. But if fewer CPU cycle per function performed is the goal for low power mobile devices, why not just plain old C?

    • by Liquor (189040)

      Simple - Google needed app developers to write for the platform, and phone app developers mostly speak Java. So Google came up with the Dalvik VM that can run recompiled Java code in a compatible environment.

      • by wumpus188 (657540)

        Looks like you're either mistaken or lived under a rock. Most mobile apps devs speak Objective-C now and it has been this way for quite some time.

        • by JonJ (907502)
          Yeah, about that... People wrote mobile phone apps years before iPhone. Fanboy much?
    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      Because if you require developpers to write in plain old C, there'll be a magnitude less apps available for Android.
    • by Nimatek (1836530)
      Or why not assembly? The answer is, because developers need to get things done.
    • by spintriae (958955) on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:06PM (#36504298)
      I wouldn't be surprised actually if Google was developing Go for the explicit purpose of replacing Java on Android. They announced Go a few months after Oracle acquired Sun, and last month at Google I/O, Rob Pike had this to say [] about it.
    • by jepaton (662235)

      The limitations of compiled executables are becoming more apparent with today's diverse hardware. One generation of mobile device may not use the same instruction architecture (processor type) as the next generation of mobile device. And the other devices connected to the processor change frequently. A new executable would have to be compiled for every major variant of the device. With something like Java bytecode the program can be one-time optimised when the program is loaded onto the device, which is a g

  • I dunno what Oracle's people are smoking, popping, or injecting, but I want some!

    • I dunno what Oracle's people are smoking, popping, or injecting, but I want some!

      From the squirrel-crazy behavior they've been displaying, it appears to be methamphetamine. That's bad stuff and you want to stay away from it.

      I mean, just look at Ellison? Does he seem OK to you?

  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:35PM (#36503804) Homepage
    Basing Android development on Java was a mistake. It is GNU/Linux, after all, and people should have used what they pleased to develop under Xfce, Meego, Gnome, KDE, or some other relatively well established GUI. Writing apps with C++/Qt would have been easier than Java, with faster executables and smaller memory footprint.
    • You jest right? Java has a huge number of libraries, tools, and developers available. This is why Google chose it. Java is also GPL, thanks to Sun. This is a battle over ridiculous US patent laws, not over copyright conditions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      and people should have used what they pleased to develop under Xfce, Meego, Gnome, KDE, or some other relatively well established GUI.

      Yes, and then Android on your phone could have been as successful as Linux on the desktop!

    • Where is the glue language that makes a single distributable work on all platforms?
      As far as Java goes, they should have come up with their own implementation/compiler whatever that does not draw from anything but the syntax of the language. The syntax is open right? And bytecode is not a new idea so they could have rolled their own clean-room bytecode without straining anything.

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      Yeah, it's the one thing that's putting me off Android. If they'd have gone for C# on the other hand....

    • by salesgeek (263995)

      Google's idea with using Dalvik (and the Java language) was compile once, run on many devices. For the most part, if you stick to specs and not get to crazy with GUI and hardware, it kinda works... not as well as Google had planned... but it has made it easier for developers to target different many dissimilar phones without having to compile for each device...

  • by airfoobar (1853132) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:39PM (#36503852)

    Looks like they want to make all their money back with this lawsuit. 'tis how they roll, I guess.

    I see people saying Google should buy Oracle. Not gonna happen, of course. However, Google could buy the Java IP off them if they wanted. Surely, the valuation of Java's IP would be much smaller than the entire valuation of Sun (hw divisions and all), so it may actually come cheaper than fighting this out to the end.

    On the other hand, that is probably what Oracle wants to happen. Tbh, I want to see Google fight this and rip Oracle apart in court, because Oracle are fucking asshats no matter how I look at this.

  • Follow the money... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:52PM (#36504072)

    Java made money for Sun (now Oracle) on mobile phones, it was licensed for use there, Google did something clever (or maybe not so much) and released a phone/framework that used a previously accepted implementation of Java (heavyweight versus the 'efficient' phone version) and skirted the licensing issue altogether.

    Now Oracle feels that Google owes them licensing for 'phone' java.

    So what is Android, a phone with java? or a tiny linux system with a phone card?

    I believe this is one reason Apple wants to distance themselves from java, its going to become a headache.

  • by davecb (6526) <> on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:14PM (#36504422) Homepage Journal

    Groklaw also identified this as FUD, also known as "trying the case in the newspapers".


  • ... spend 6 billion to make Larry Ellison's head bigger

    or ... spend 10 million to remove Larry Ellison's head

    From a pure business standpoint the decision is obvious.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:56PM (#36504974) Homepage Journal
    That would explain why all my searches for Oracle on Google today keep redirecting me to
  • The company that has done the most damage to Java is Oracle. Will they sue themself next? It seems that Oracle is trying hard to destroy all assets they acquired from the Sun.

  • If there was even a 1% tax on proposed settlement size, the amount of bluster in these figures would collapse by an order of magnitude.

    Imagine if it cost $63m to file a claim in the court system for $6.3b in damages.

    We all know Ellison is going to ask for $2b/inch whenever he can get away with it, if there's no price for grasping.

"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman