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

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.

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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 has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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29 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

    I think it would be a bit early to think like that.
    sheikhali
    • .Net hands Java its butt on a plate long time ago

      @sheikhali

      MSFT has much bigger fish to fry now.
      LBiege
  • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

    The best idea came from Miguel de Icaza- Why not port Android to .NET instead?
    http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2010/Aug-13.html
    Not gonna happen, but still.. it would be nice..
    andlju
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @andlju Ah, you beat me to it. Gotta love Miguel.
      natelawrence
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @andlju - If only this was to happen, Android developers could enjoy a more modern, far more powerful and expressive language than Java. Alas, I doubt that Google would have the balls to do this.
      de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @andlju Well there's Mono, but it would need to be ported and they might as well make the mods to bring in Silverlight/Moonlight while they are at it.
      MSFT_Tinkering
  • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

    "Anyone see any reasons the suit might end up hurting the Softies?"
    Google might do what Microsoft did and build their own Java compete - that'll be two competitors instead of one???

    That's pure speculation. I have no idea (a) whether Google will do this or (b) whether it would be a good or bad thing.
    jamiet
    • crossed my mind as well

      @jamiet
      It needs to happen at some point. I wouldn't put it past Google to be working on this already.

      Google sure is alienating a lot of people with Android. Forking the Linux kernel and Java? That's considered not playing nice by many OSS enthusiasts-- while ironically being one of the cornerstones of OSS.
      ericesque
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @jamiet But if they develop their own they'll still be violating the patents. Non-starter.
      Major Plonquer
  • M$ has had a small victory, but in the end, it will be destroyed

    13th August 2010 and Friday...a day that will live in infamy!<br>I think M$ is uncorking the champagne over this GPL v3 debacle over java. But the FOSS will strike back!
    Linux Geek
    • Yeah right...

      @Linux Geek Whatever
      slickjim
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @Linux Geek
      Be careful, it may make you to wet your pants at the end. ;)
      Ram U
  • The thing is, looked at objectively, .NET is way better than java anyway.

    and if the FOSS guys could put aside theyre anti MS bias for even a second theyd immediately see this. just because you dont like MS or youre all caught up in the FOSS philosophy you shouldnt let yourself be blinded to this reality. There really is a reason .NET based stacks consistently and not insignificantly out perform java based app servers. Moving android to mono would actually be a really good thing for it, just google wont want to admit that in this life time...
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @Johnny Vegas <br>Mono is not officially supported by MS.<br>Even if Google built a compatible framework and make use of .net compiler. It may be sued by MS anyway. So in my view, Android going open source is the only way to go. Its just sad with Oracle controlling over Java. The future of Java really hangs in balance.
      xaverine
  • Google did build their own Java competitor

    They built their own virtual machine for Android. It's not running Java. It's very similar, but not the same. One of the goals for the Android VM was to be patent-safe, so, I suspect, Google has positioned themselves from the very beginning in a very defensive position and are probably ready to battle Oracle.
    davidgeller
  • Android VM

    Android VM is what the problem is for Oracle. Android VM uses the same JIT compiler and is based on JAVA VM.
    hims2smart
  • This will drive Win Phone 7 like nobody's business....

    Android is officially dead! My rep drove over here in his Porsche and we immediately went out and hit the town! We drove over to a Sprint store and laughed at people still buying EVO 4 phones. My rep took out his Win Phone 7 pre-FCC approved phone and started "blinging" it in front of these fools. A great day to be alive.
    Mike Cox
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @Mike Cox
      Great to hear from you on a Friday Mike, always amusing :-)
      omdguy
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @Mike Cox
      Were you and your rep able to get out of the raging crowd that wanted to look at your rep's pre-FCC approved WP7? ;)
      Ram U
    • RE: Microsoft could be a winner in Oracle's patent attack over Java

      @Mike Cox - You lucky dog. I wish I was there. It's too bad your Rep. hasn't gotten you a phone (or maybe he has). You can't begin to fathom how many people wish they had a WP7 right now. Grrrrrrr.... I guess I'll be waiting for it this Holiday.

      I truly feel WP7 is the best of both worlds and will be a game changer in the Mobile MarketPlace.

      What I don't understand is that the Java community is so FREE and SHARING, yet it's not completely true. Companies such as Oracle this Mantra doesn't apply. Business as usual, I guess.
      SmoothDouglas