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

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

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  • they all did well

    unlike Oracle witnesses who were caught making things up.
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: they all did well

      You mean an entire lawsuit...over nothing?
      • looks like it to me so far

        Oracle looks like a high school team compaired to Van Nest et al.
  • Did Sun "steal" the interface to MS Windows when they published OpenOffice?

    As one witness said on the stand, an API is really an idea, meaning the conceptual interface between a calling program and a subroutine. And ideas are black letter law un-copyrightable.

    Sun used the interface, the set of rules that Microsoft invented for the .doc format, in order to enable users to access their own work product, meaning MS Word documents in this case.

    Google used the interface, the set of rules that Sun invented for the Java core library APIs, in order to enable users to access their own work product, meaning the Apache Harmony libraries and all the other FOSS software that has been written over the last 20 years.
    • The "idea" discription came from Bornstein

      I wouldn't be surprised if the Judge disnisses the copyright case based on rule 50. Oracle has nothing else either. Pitiful. Judge just decided against 702 as well. Oracle is in Court prematurely and with inadequate counsel. Surely it's not a matter of lack of funds.
    • The very idea of reverse engineering is illegal under Oracle's theory

      Although Oracle has thrown many diversions in the way... people used written documentation to learn how to use the Java APIs, Sun was somehow concerned with "fragmentation" despite fragmenting their license for using the Java compatibility suite, etc... their main argument is this:

      We wrote all these highly creative (totally not functional, no sir!) library function signatures, like math.max for example and math.sqrt, with the sweat of our brow, and you may only use these function signatures without our permission.

      It doesn't really matter, as far Oracle is concerned, how you derived these function signatures. They claim OWNERSHIP of the very interface to these libraries... or any functionally compatible library like the Apache Harmony library for example.

      <i>Personally, I am not even a fan of the Android platform. Way too wild west insecure in my view. Nevertheless I feel the need to speak up for the idea that no one may have the right to shutdown others from writing their own, functionally compatible library.</I>
  • work at home

    just as Kathleen explained I can't believe that any one able to get paid $7852 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this site makecash16.c om
  • Totally agree....

    Rubin & Schmidt more or less seemed to hold their own, but Page was the one weak link. It was actually smart of Google to bring Page before the other two. More recent testimonies would probably have a larger impact on the jury.
  • Grammar error

    In the title highlights it should read that all of the Google execs have BEEN on the stand, not have be. Please correct this.