Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

Summary:I'd think there could be a whole lot of celebrating going on in Redmond today, the day after Oracle announced it is suing Google over alleged patent infringements involving Java in the Android mobile operating system.

I'd think there could be a whole lot of celebrating going on in Redmond today, the day after Oracle announced it is suing Google over alleged patent infringements involving Java in the Android mobile operating system.

Even though the Redmondians have no love for Oracle and consider the company one of Microsoft's foremost competitors, any attack on Google is no doubt a plus in Microsoft execs' eyes. Oracle's move gives Windows Phone 7 more air cover. Microsoft likely will benefit from the fallout of the suit to some degree as developers and customers wonder and worry about the fate of Android-based phones. The Oracle vs. Google lawsuit also may boost the Microsoft .Net to a degree, as .Net's No. 1 rival is Java. I've seen a couple of tweets from individuals saying Oracle's move may drive them, in disgust, to .Net.

The August 12 Oracle lawsuit is not without historical precedent. Sun sued Microsoft in 1997 over alleged Java patent infringements, and after much wrangling, the two settled and Microsoft paid Sun $1 billion plus. Microsoft ended up dropping Java and developing its own Java-like C# language. Another Microsoft angle: Oracle has hired "Microsoft slayer" David Boies -- the lawyer who represented the Department of Justice in Microsoft's U.S. antitrust trial a decade ago -- to handle its Java complaint.

On Twitter, a number of folks are tweeting about the Microsoft-related impacts and parallels of the Oracle Java suit. Here are a few of the 140-character observations that gave me food for thought:

@clemensv Larry: "So what's the best deal the Sun dudes ever made with Java?" Drones: "Sue Microsoft and get $1.6bln?" Larry: "Oh, really?"  (Vasters is a :Principal Protocol Surgeon, Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus" these days.)

@corewarrior: So whats up with Oracle's decision to go after Google over Java? It set Java back years when Sun made the same move against Microsoft! #java

@jhammond @johnrrymer And why would Microsoft, Nokia, Intel be willing to invest in Mobile Java for WinPhone, Meego after this?

@brainewave Is Java the most litigated software? Sun, Kodak, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Google; who hasn't sued someone over it? http://bit.ly/9gQn05

@silbybsd Go Oracle / Sun! You forced Microsoft to abandon Java, maybe you can get Google to do the same!

@opusmarta So what now...? Boycott #Oracle in an attempt to save #Java, or give in to #Microsoft ...or maybe take up fishing.

Do you see any other ways Microsoft could end up benefiting directly or indirectly from the Oracle suit over Android? Anyone see any reasons the suit might end up hurting the Softies?

Topics: Google, Microsoft, Open Source, Oracle, Security, Software Development

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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