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Google Java Oracle The Almighty Buck The Courts

Google: Sun Offered To License Java For $100M 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-generous dept.
alphadogg writes "Sun Microsystems offered to license its Java technology to Google for $100 million, a Google attorney said Thursday, attempting to show that Oracle is out of touch as it seeks billions from Google for patent infringement. Oracle and Google were in court for a hearing in Oracle's lawsuit accusing Google of patent infringement in its Android OS. Judge William Alsup was in a feisty mood, warning Oracle that 'this court is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle Corporation' and telling Google that Andy Rubin, who runs its Android business, will be 'on the hot-seat' at trial. He also criticized both parties for taking unreasonable positions regarding the amount of damages owed for the alleged infringement."
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Google: Sun Offered To License Java For $100M

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  • ... but they do hold a majority share. :-P

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:26AM (#36844816)
    It's really nice to see this judge cutting through most of the crap without endless cycles of discovery, but he's WAY off base here:

    "Is there a single Sun executive you have found who will come forward -- who's not on the payroll, by the way -- and say fragmentation is terrible"? Alsup asked Oracle's attorney.

    My god, avoiding Java fragmentation was a cult religion at Sun (witness the Microsoft Java suit). Keeping Java under one umbrella was pretty much ALL Sun cared about for the last ten years of its life.

    • by dr.newton (648217)

      Agreed! I was surprised to see that the judge used those words, as I thought the question to be answered by a Sun employee not on Oracle's payroll was not "is fragmentation bad?", but rather "did Android fragment Java?"

      From earlier in TFA:

      Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's former CEO...testified that Android did not fragment the Java platform.

      • by FunkyELF (609131)

        Who cares if Android fragmented Java as a language.... Google is allowed.
        Isn't this about using IP and patents?

        • No, this is about Oracle wanting money from Google.
        • Who cares if Android fragmented Java as a language.... Google is allowed.

          Not according to previous litigation [wikipedia.org] they aren't. And the US is a precedent-based legal system.

          • The previous litigation was about calling the fragmented version "Microsoft Java", though (i.e. primarily a trademark issue).

            Anyway, I don't think Sun minded fragmentation of language itself - at least they certainly permitted various extensions - so much as the JVM platform itself (i.e. non-compatible .class formats etc). By that metric, Dalvik either horribly fragments Java (if you consider it Java to begin with), or else it's something else entirely and bears no relation. I think any reasonable person wo

    • by ak3ldama (554026)

      They could ask Gosling, oh wait he works for Google now. This is a tough issue for me at least. Java was designed by, written first by, marketed and pushed by Sun. Though this was years ago. By now it has indeed become popular but there are patents that still apply regardless of if its been rewritten by others. See, see it isn't Java - we changed the namespaces!!! It is understandable that Sun didn't want fragmentation of Java. It is one of the remaining great things they did. The $100m price to license Jav

    • by Amouth (879122)

      to be fair with the Microsoft java suit - it hinged on MS calling it Java..

      I don't remember Google ever labeling it Java

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      Really? Then why the hell is there Java, Java ME and Java RT? All three are definitely not compatible in any reasonable way...
      They cared not about fragmentation, but about not letting Java slip out of JCP control. Now if JCP did not require some stupid licensing provisions from Java implementations, Apache Harmony would have been a valuable project in the ecosystem... Sun had those requirements and Oracle have turned around on their position...
  • by assertation (1255714) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:28AM (#36844828)

    As much as I hate Google as a company, I wish ownership of Java went to them instead of Oracle when Sun died.

    Oracle has a culture of making everything needlessly complicated. Sun did too and that always hurt Java, but Oracle is far worse.

    As a long time Java developer I feel like a Parisian in Nazi held France.

    • by mcvos (645701)

      At that time, I also didn't understand why Google didn't just buy Sun for whatever they needed to pay. Would have saved everybody a lot of trouble.

      • I could see Google buying Java ( though maybe at the time it wasn't an obvious benefit ), but Google isn't the kind of company to be interested in the other things Sun did or Sun's corporate culture.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          but Google isn't the kind of company to be interested in the other things Sun did or Sun's corporate culture.

          Google wouldn't be interested in Sun's server or storage IP? really?

      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        Publicly traded company can't just buy other companies at a whim... There was no justification for Google to buy Sun. Because Sun had Software and hardware business, while Google is a services company.
        • by mcvos (645701)

          Yet the damages that Oracle now demands from Google are about as much as what Oracle paid for Sun. Of course those demands are ridiculous, but still, this possibility could have been a justification for Google to buy Sun. And maybe after stripping out Java, they could have sold the hardware part again.

    • by FunkyELF (609131)

      Forget Java... I wish Google would continue the work it promised to do on Python. What is going on with unladen swallow?

  • I do think $100 million is a bit much for licensing Java, however Google has to admit that the Java technology is worth a considerable amount of money since they worked hard to copy it.

    If they both knew what was good for them, they would enter into some cross licensing agreement where Google can focus on something else besides trying to defend their blatant copy of JVM, and Oracle would have access to Google's refinements that made Java run better on underpowered hardware (register based v. stack based JVM

    • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Friday July 22, 2011 @09:03AM (#36845256) Homepage Journal

      Google can focus on something else besides trying to defend their blatant copy of JVM, and Oracle would have access to Google's refinements that made Java run better on underpowered hardware (register based v. stack based JVM).

      There is no such thing as a copy of Suns JVM etc.
      The only thing that is "similar" is the fact that the "language" used to program on Android "looks like" Java and is ofc from a programmers point of view the same as Java.
      However as soon as you start doing serious development, you realize there is no "Android Java Platform" there is only a language!

      In other words: there is no claim or wish or hint that a "Java Program" would run on Android. The programs need to be considered "Android Programs". The opposite is true as well, an Android Program is not advertized to be compatible to any Java Platform in any way.

      Java is just a modern Pascal in this case or a newer C ...

      If you bring the point about register based VMs versus stack based ones, then python and parrot infringe also Oracles patents?

      I think combining their efforts would bring true innovation to the market, but this patent war is doing the exact opposite. Google and Oracle both need to step back and see that they both are shooting themselves in the foot. If people needed a concrete example of how patents can stifle innovation they only need to look at this case.

      That is very very true and also very very sad :-/

      • by gbutler69 (910166)
        Since when is Java a "Register-Based VM"? I have never heard that. Is that true? Citation please.
      • There is no such thing as a copy of Suns JVM etc. The only thing that is "similar" is the fact that the "language" used to program on Android "looks like" Java and is ofc from a programmers point of view the same as Java. However as soon as you start doing serious development, you realize there is no "Android Java Platform" there is only a language!

        First of all JVM isn't Java SDK. Part of the process of compiling an Android program is to convert the byte-code instructions used by Oracle's JVM into another v

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      If they manage to get more out of Google than they paid for Sun, how are they squandering their investment?

      It's better to assume that Oracle cares more about money than the future of some language.
  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:33AM (#36844878) Homepage

    ... have always talked about on here.

    Software patents are tired, pointless and ultimately just fucking dumb.

    Watching the patent wars that are continuing to errupt in the mobile telecoms market is clear evidence of this. Everyone is suing everyone else for breaching ideas, rather than implementations.

    I may have gotten this completely wrong, due to all the Chinese Whispers that comes with this kind of thing, but if it's true, how on earth can Apple patent the idea of recognising a phone number in a piece of text. Jesus Christ, you can do that with a fucking regular expression..!

    (surely the above is not what they're suing HTC over, right???)

    Software patents need to go, as this is all starting to become fucking ridiculous.

    Instead of innovation to draw customers and and generate revenue, Microsoft, Apple and even now HTC are reaching into their portfolios and waving crappy bits of paper in each others faces.

    "Customers? We don't need customers!" they screech. "We're just going to make our money off you, instead!"

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:42AM (#36844978) Homepage

      And if anyone still needs further convincing: the makers of Angry Birds are now being sued for patent violations

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14245047

      As the kids say: What. The. Fuck????

      • From that FA:

        Lodsys, a company that licenses patents but does not have any other business, added five new defendants to a suit filed in May with a US district court in Texas.

        Along with Rovio, it named Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive which makes Grand Theft Auto, Atari and others in the list of companies it says are violating its patents.

        Sigh. Yeah, software patents are a great idea. Really promotes the useful arts. If you're a lawyer, that is.

      • Really? The thing that pushed you over the limit was that Angry Birds makers are being sued for an unknown patent? It wasn't One-Click Purchase or Cat-laser-pointer games? I'm not sure what I think about that.
        • by salesgeek (263995)

          None of those rise to the level of suing the makers of Angry Birds. It's like suing Santa Claus or Ghandi...

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        The FA did say that Rovio had not yet been presented with official documents and the article was pretty slim on details regarding what patents were abused. This sounds/looks more like a good 'ol mobster shakedown then violation. What would be nice is if Lodsys was brought up on rackateering RICO charges. It might actually make patent trolls take the time to investigate their cliam before filing.

        (Damn its hard to take off the rose colored glasses)

    • by csteinle (68146)

      I believe one of the patents Apple is trying to beat up Android phone manufacturers with is the infamous BT "mobile computer" US patent that they acquired from the UK telco. This seems to prevent anyone else making any form portable device that can run custom applications.

  • As an European (from Finland), this is mainly a spectacle of American justice system. Here are some random thoughts based on this news.

    In here I constantly hear that "American justice system is corrupted, owned by politicians and big money... Blah blah blah." Now we have an example to observe. It seems to me that the judge is this case is not willing to cave in for anything. The junge is strict, has huge balls, and it appears that the best thing he can do for his career, is to make just decision.

    I also bet

    • I think in general the point isn't so much that it is corrupt, but rather unless you are rich, you wouldn't even be able to stand in court next to these guys as the lawyer costs would be too expensive. A case about IP law is rarely cheap.
    • Software patents don't apply in Europe so your point is moot. Google just got lucky with a nice judge, that's all.

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        You completely missed his point. His comments are not so much about software patents, but about how people perceive the various justice systems in the world, and the consequences of those perceptions. The whole post could be boiled down to Europeans continually hearing that the US system is such a mess (whether or not it always is) and assume that their own system is better, when in some cases it can be just as bad or worse than the US system. To better illustrate, after the Pirate Bay trials and the whole
        • I live in Europe (Central-Eastern Europe) so don't preach me about corruption, as I know it pretty well :) . However if we look at the EU level laws, we see that
          1, there are no software patents
          2, ACTA still haven't passed, despite heavy lobbying from US side
          3, age of consent in most places is around 14-16 years.

          My point is, if you have less crappy laws, it's harder to abuse them, even if you have stupid/corrupt judges.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        i was about to say - this is not your normal Judge in my eyes.. they really lucked out.

    • In here I constantly hear that "American justice system is corrupted, owned by politicians and big money... Blah blah blah."

                Just proves that you need to take everything on slashdot with a massive grain of salt.

  • Disclaimer: I'm not taking sides here, just posting a general info.

    If I release some software under GPL-- completely free (beer and speech) -- and someone takes that source code, strips all copyright info, and creates a closed source version of my software, I can receive financial damage compensation. It doesn't matter that my code is available free of charge.

    • by ledow (319597) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:47AM (#36845064) Homepage

      'cept that's nothing like what happened.

      In fact, all Google did was reimplement an already clean-room reimplementation of Java. The case is about software patents, which Oracle claims Google infringed by doing so, not copyrights. The only mention of copyrights was Oracle trying to say "Google made an interface that was compatible with Java" because Google took a public header file (which are non-copyrightable through reason of insufficient expression - because they are *fact*-based files, nothing else) and used it to create a compatible API.

      The lawsuit is basically trying to say "no-one, anywhere, can make anything even vaguely similar to Java because we hold the patent on it", not "Google stole our Java code".

      But, please, do carry on trolling.

      • by Moby Cock (771358)

        I am a bit in the dark as to the intricacies of Java and Dalvik, so forgive me if this is a daft question...

        When you say Google "create[d] a compatible API", is this similar to what WINE did for the WIN32 API? A re-implementation, through new code, that emulates* the functionality of the precursor?

        * I know -- WINE is not an emulator, I use the word in a more metaphoric sense.

        MC

        • by ledow (319597)

          Even better than that - they used, in part, an Apache open source project that had already done that (basically reimplemented Java) and reimplemented the Java VM themselves with compatible interfaces so you *can* run Java code on it without (too many) modifications.

          But because they wouldn't go through the Java certification process and/or pay off Sun, Oracle waited until they owned Sun (who didn't really care for years) and then tried to sue only Google. Basically, they say that if you're not certified, yo

        • Yep, that's just about exactly what they did. They aren't the first either. Kaffeine and GCJ and many others have done the same - but oracle only sued Google.

          • by KugelKurt (908765)

            Yep, that's just about exactly what they did. They aren't the first either. Kaffeine and GCJ and many others have done the same - but oracle only sued Google.

            Only suing where the big bucks are isn't exactly news either.

      • by peppepz (1311345)
        Oracle are suing for copyright infringement, too.

        I don't think you can't implement your own version of Java without being sued, as IBM and the ASF have been distributing their own implementation for years. I think, in poor words, that you can't have a commercial implementation and call it "Java" without giving money to Oracle.

        If I remember correctly, Oracle opposed this "field of use" limitation when they weren't the owners of Java. Talk about consistency...

      • by KugelKurt (908765)

        I was making an analogy solely about the fact that the price of something does not necessarily relate to the amount of granted damages. And that analogy still stands.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      But they did something that you didn't give them an option to pay for, which is completely different than the case in question in which there is a price set for what was done (whether the activity was infringing is a whole other question).

    • That depends on the country and law you are in.

      In germany you would not get any damage compensation as you had no measurable financial damage.

    • The amount you charge for distributing software under the GPL, even if you offer it gratis, is completely unrelated to then the amount you would charge for offering alternative license terms. Conversely Google are claiming Sun set a price for licensing the technology on the very terms that Google asked for. This can and should be taking into account in calculating any real damages. However admitting that this was discussed also risks strengthening Oracle's case that there was willful infringement, which wou

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