Trial: Page, Rubin and Schmidt: How did they do?

Summary:Three of Google's top executives have now all be on the stand during company's legal battle with Oracle, but how much have they helped their case?

Google's legal team is close to wrapping up its case in the first portion of the Oracle-Google trial at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco this week.

So far, three of Google's top executives -- CEO Larry Page, executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and Android chief Andy Rubin -- have all testified in defense of Android's use of Java APIs.

However, their performances on stand have differed significantly, opening room for debate as to just how helpful their testimonies have been to Google's case.

In the most simple terms, Google argues that because the Java language is free to use, so should the Java APIs because they are necessary to make use of the language. Oracle, which owns Java now after acquiring Sun Microsystems in 2010, believes otherwise, arguing that Google should have obtained a license to use the 37 Java APIs in question in this case.

In terms of who had the most to say to corroborate with Google's claims, Rubin really had the most to offer by discussing how Java was used and why. He was also the most improved on the stand in terms of his presence. It can't be easy facing Oracle counsel David Boies grilling you over countless documents for three long mornings in a row.

Then again, Rubin could only really improve because he had three long mornings on the stand, so he was noticeably more comfortable and steadfast in his answers on Wednesday than he had been on Monday.

Similarly, Schmidt was also able to offer some light into the (now failed) partnership negotiations between Google and Sun from his time as chief executive officer of Google.

Overall, Schmidt appeared the most calm -- if that is even possible when testifying in federal court -- but there were still several instances where Schmidt was mum, especially when shown emails sent between other parties, such as Rubin and Google software engineer Tim Lindholm, that didn't involve him.

Much like Lindholm last week, Page's performance is definitely one of the sore spots in Google's case.

That's unfortunate considering Page was called by Oracle as the first witness in the trial (technically via video before he appeared in person after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison). Google's opening statements were fairly solid and straightforward, giving Google the biggest boost in making a convincing argument in this case thus far.

Page's shaky performance -- looking completely unprepared and relatively clueless about anything related to this case -- could have only tainted Google's opening arguments, and possibly the case overall.

To be fair, he was the only one called by the plaintiff and not by both sides like Rubin and Schmidt were. It also doesn't help that Page appeared on the stand right after Ellison, who is generally always ready and eager to talk about just anything.

Furthermore, based on his testimony at least, Page really doesn't seem to have been involved in the decision-making process over implementing any kind of Java technology on Android.

Nevertheless, being evasive with Boies and repeating that he can't remember or didn't know didn't really save face either.

In the end, how these three men came across on the stand to the jury might not even matter. What really matters is the substance of what they were saying -- but it is questionable whether or not their presence under oath shaped the messages they were trying to get across.

More coverage from the Oracle v. Google trial:

Topics: Google, Android, Mobile OS, Oracle, Software

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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