Oracle: Google wanted easy route to Android revenue with Java

Oracle: Google wanted easy route to Android revenue with Java

Summary: In rebuttal arguments, Oracle's lawyers try to convey that Google was lazy and taking the easy way out by using Java APIs when developing Android.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle commenced with its rebuttal case in the first phase of the Oracle-Google trial on Friday.

At this point, Oracle's arguments come down to this: Google was lazy in developing Android and wanted the highest revenue return possible, so that's why it used the 37 Java APIs at question in this copyright lawsuit.

Well, no one at Google is going to deny that they wanted Android to make money -- although they might dance around how successful Android has been in order to save face in front of the jury.

Oracle led with a video clip from the deposition of Google's senior financial analyst for Android, Aditya Agarwal, on April 8, 2011.

The point of the clip, which ran for less than a minute and a half just to identify the witness to the jury and get one question out, was very clear. When asked, Agarwal affirmed that Android is hugely profitable.

That's not exactly breaking news, but the Oracle's ambition in this regard was clear from the get-go. In fact, Oracle might need to hold onto this strategy desperately over the course of the next couple of days after a tension-filled hour in which former Sun CEO's Jonathan Schwartz nearly torpedoed their entire case that the Java APIs weren't free to use without a license.

Oracle's legal team might have made a brief comeback with help from Sun co-founder Scott McNealy, whose testimony is actually part of the rebuttal, but because of scheduling conflicts he appeared while Google was still presenting its case. During his time on the stand, McNealy's testimony essentially contradicted everything Schwartz said, which might have left the jury fairly confused on who to believe.

Furthermore, Oracle recalled Dr. Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle, who already testified once for Oracle on April 18.

Bringing up that there has been some debate over using the term "blueprint" to refer to APIs, Oracle counsel Michael Jacobs asked Reinhold if this was an accurate description.

Reinhold stood by using the term blueprint to describe APIs, explaining that "the whole point of the Java community process is to be designing blueprints so companies can develop competing implementations."

Google counsel Bruce Baber tried to refute this, questioning Reinhold that the API specification doesn't tell one how to write the code.

Reinhold admitted that it doesn't.

Reinhold's testimony was also used to make another one of Oracle's points clear: Google took the easy way out in developing Android.

When asked if a developer already has a good API design and if implementing an existing API design is more work, Reinhold explained that it's a "relatively easier job" and "it's almost always less" work.

Closing statements from both Oracle and Google are expected to start on Monday. After that, the jury will have time to deliberate a verdict for the copyrights portion of the trial.

Judge Alsup predicted on Wednesday that the jury will probably only take about a day and a half to reach a decision, but he warned that they could take up to a week.

On Friday, the judge added with a warning to both legal teams about getting evidence in on time, "When the case goes to them, the case is in their hands -- including when they make the decision."

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Topics: Oracle, Google, Open Source, Software Development

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14 comments
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  • I get nervous

    When the Judge doesn't know what a public/private class is. How in the world can we expect a correct verdict from laymen? Please tell me there are programmers on the jury.
    droidfromsd
    • That that important

      The judge has already decided to rule on key aspects of the trial so the jury won't have 100% of a say.
      DonRupertBitByte
    • The expert witnesses must explain so that the laymen can understand

      and in any case I believe the OO mantra is that people think naturally in terms of objects.

      So laymen should have no trouble whatsoever in understanding the issues. Unless of course the OO mantra is just wishful thinking.
      jorwell
  • Since When Is Being Lazy Illegal?

    When have APIs ever been protected by copyright? Since when is it illegal for programmers to use something that already exists rather than re-inventing the wheel, when that something is not protected by copyright?
    CFWhitman
    • That's what Boies/Schiller/Flexner was hired for

      To change a fundamental programming law. If API's can suddenly become copyrighted, the software industry will be negatively impacted in the USA again, just like USA-only software patents have done.
      DonRupertBitByte
      • It's Not Practical for Them to Really Be Copyrightable

        If APIs were copyrightable, then programming applications for an operating system could be considered a violation of the copyright for the system. Of course, APIs being copyrightable would mean that all the various versions of DOS, save one, were illegal. It would also make DosBox and Dosemu illegal. Of course Wine would be illegal. It would probably apply to most emulation software. I'm sure there is other problem software. There's no practical way for APIs to be copyrightable. It would create a basis to make pretty much all application programming that was not done by the same people as the operating system illegal.
        CFWhitman
      • How is an API different from a DVD?

        The Java language doesn't have a license statement on it, but java.lang.* classes do. Google chose to remove that GPL boilerplate. Have you looked at the specific example? Even Joshua Bloch, whom I greatly admire, admits that he, in all likelihood, did that. He doesn't deny it.

        Surely you don't think it would be ok to copy/paste the Linux kernel, remove the GPL boilerplate and redistribute!?

        That's the point. You misunderstand, fundamentally, what the copyright issues here are. No one is asserting a copyright on the Java language, but on specific class files -- many, many class files.

        It's no different from copying a DVD and then distributing it -- it's a copyright violation which can land you in jail.

        The irony here is that all Google had to was to leave that GPL boilerplate on there and Oracle would have no case, zero, nada. For a company which uses Linux so extensively, it's a very odd choice.
        THUFIR.HAWAT
      • Why Shouldn't It Be Copyrighted?

        What makes code different than an API? Companies like Facebook have full control over their API, including who can use it. Just look at the outcry against the foursquare API where people were using it to track women. Foursquare intelligently restricted access to their API to prevent the service. That's something you can't do if it isn't proprietary, if it doesn't belong to you. Google's goals might be noble (which it's not, they're there to make money just like Apple or Microsoft), but they knowingly took someone else's work. It's true that Sun may have let it go, but they don't own the APIs anymore. It's Oracle's right to defend it's intellectual property, that's why Oracle bought Java. If everything about Java was 100% free, then why put money into it?
        lilbubba
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    HolmesEnid123
  • google just wanted to empower the people

    with top notch services without making us pay arm and leg like oracle!
    Google will win on fair use and non copyrightability of the APIs!
    The Linux Geek
  • Y @ O @ U... M @ U @ S @ T.... S @ E @ E!!!!!!

    just as Dawn replied I'm taken by surprise that a person able to get paid $8937 in 1 month on the computer. have you read this link <b>http://tomakeusd.blogspot.in/<b>
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  • Oracle: Google wanted easy route to Android revenue with Java

    Are you sure the heading is right? Shouldn't it be? -

    Google: Oracle wanted easy route to Android revenue with Java

    Yes, that seems to fit the facts much better....
    Now I'm going to finish my jigsaw....
    12312332123
    • Silly all of it.

      It's irrelevant how difficult, fast or easy it is to use an API. The classes and api's were not covered and licensed. Anybody using a microsoft windows api in their software or using a .net api in their software owes Microsoft? That's just silly. Oracle is grasping. This case, even if won by Oracle, will get overturned on appeal because of the legal ramifications it would create in the world (not just the usa).
      butter44
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