Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

Summary: Groklaw has dug up proof that when Google first introduced Android, Sun, Java's creator, was all in favor of its use of Java.

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If you believe Oracle's patent lawsuits against Google for its use of Java in Android, Google has stolen not just patented ideas but directly copied Java code. In short, Google is a red-handed thief and should pay Oracle over a billion in damages. There's just one little problem with this portrayal of Google as an intellectual property (IP) bandit. When Android first came out, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, then Java's owner, greeted the news with “heartfelt congratulations.” Whoops.

CNET News: Oracle scrubs site of embarrassing Java blog

While Schwartz's blog post has since been erased by Oracle, Groklaw found the page and has republished it In his note, Schwartz not only congratulates Google “on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform, Android.,” he goes on to announce that “Sun is the first platform software company to commit to a complete developer environment around the platform, as we throw Sun's NetBeans developers platform for mobile devices behind the effort. We've obviously done a ton of work to support developers on all Java based platforms, and we're pleased to add Google's Android to the list.”

So, there you go, Java's owner at the time not only welcomed Android's use of Java, they were actively supporting it with development tools. So, what do you have to say now Oracle?

You'd better come up with something good because when Oracle recently tried to keep evidence out of the public eye, U.S. District Judge William Alsup blasted them. In the Courthouse News, Alsup is reported to have said, “ The big companies do not own the U.S. District Court, When it comes to a public hearing I'm not going to resort to Morse code to figure out what you are saying This is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oracle. Nobody is going to put my word under seal even if I refer to your secret documents."

There was nothing secret about Sun's pro-Android position. Indeed, in a sworn statement to the court, Schwartz said his company welcomed Android to the Java community He called ii a "pair of rockets strapped to Java that will take our Java-community even higher."

Groklaw editor, and lawyer Mark Webbink, explains, “Now the interesting question about this and other similar comments that were apparently made by Sun executives is whether the statements communicated an understanding to Google and others that they would not be threatened with Sun's patents; statements upon which they relied. This is the legal doctrine of estoppel. " Webbink continued:

I make a statement. (Congratulations, on incorporating my company's technology into yours even without a license to my patents.)

You hear the statement, and in reliance on the message the statement conveys rely on the statement to your detriment. (You incorporate the technology and, as a result, allegedly infringe the patents.)

I then try to enforce the patents against you but am barred from doing so under the doctrine of estoppel. (I cannot now deny I encouraged the infringement in the first place or at least led you to believe it was okay.)

To be fair, this isn't the easiest argument to make, but Google has already included it as an exhibit to its defenses.

Now, I am not a lawyer, but if I were a jury and I read Schwartz's blog post I, for one, would find Oracle's arguments about how Google owed me over a billion for their “unauthorized” use of Java's IP hard to swallow. Hopefully, the U.S. District Court will see it the same way and throw this case into the trash heap where it belongs.

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Topics: Software Development, Android, Google, Open Source, Oracle

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144 comments
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  • He's not Sun's owner now, and there is no contract, right?

    so Google should start paying for what they use, as everyone has to, right?

    And how do you know that Google isn't an IP theif?
    have you ever been allowed to see the code that runs their search and advertising?

    You haven't, so you can't say anything for certain.
    William Pharaoh
    • Estoppel is pretty damning

      @William Pharaoh

      Estoppal is basically taking someone at their word. In this case Sun (through the agent of its CEO) gave every indication of approval of Google's efforts.

      Therefore it was reasonable for Google to proceed under the assumption that Sun approved their actions. As such, Oracle is now barred from damages.

      Pretty straightforward. Larry bought a pig in a poke when he bought Sun, and Java is worthless as a litigation cash cow/competitor killer.

      Personally, they can have it. It's a C-syntax family language, and I've always despised the syntax.

      Oh, and it's obvious Oracle *knew* this, otherwise they wouldn't have tried to remove it from the net. God bless the Way Back Machine. :)
      wolf_z
      • ?

        @wolf_z

        Wow you despise the C-syntax? i.e. Java, C, C++, C#, javascript, etc, etc

        Soooo you prefer VB, VB.NET? EWWWW!!! Good luck finding a lot of jobs in that field lol
        mathelli
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @wolf_z
        As I said before, Oracle should drop the lawsuit and apologise before it gets sued for slander and ordered to pay billions in moral damages.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @mathelli

        Yes, actually, I do. C-syntax is very difficult to read and very prone to write-only code. It has superfluous syntax sugar that makes it easy to compile but harder to write.

        VB, VB.Net, Python, these are all much clearer and easier to read. I even prefer SQL-scripts like T/SQL and PL/SQL (as ugly as they are) to the chop-suey that is C-style syntax.

        And I've never needed luck finding work, youngling. Been programming for a living for well over 30 years now *including* c-style languages so I come by my preferences honestly.
        wolf_z
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @mathelli <br><br>No, he despises the slow, buggy, language with the huge runtime that doesn't exist on Windows. Having written in C#, C, C++ and Java(although I had to wash my hands repeatedly afterwards) I still prefer VB.Net as it's so much easier when your current programmer leaves.

        I always remember the Lisp joke. A programmer writes a recursive function and says to a colleague "I bet you can't work out what that does!" Unfortunately the same often applies to C and its variants.
        tonymcs@...
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @wolf_z As an aside, what these days other than Ruby and Python, isn't a C syntax language?
        Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • Let Oracle learn something new

        @wolf_z "God bless the Way Back Machine"
        I'll drink to that. Having entertained Java f?r a long time, I wasn't happy about Oracle taking over Java. They still are much of the old fashioned propitiatory style companies, and they were bound to make some kind of mess with the platform. Hopefully they get hell out of this and learn some open source behavior.
        petit@...
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        Oracle has been systematically purged Sun's former web content for some time. Only selected content is being migrated. Sun.com is slated to be deprecated. Simply because that blog post was purged along with a lot of other old web content, doesn't mean a thing.

        Sun and Google were in negotiations about a Java license for a period of time. Perhaps it was with the expectation that Google would be eventually licensing Java that Schwartz made his blog comments.

        I wouldn't be reading much into that blog post without knowing a lot more about Schwartz'es mindset at the time.

        Sunny Guy
        SunnyGuy53
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        Oh Oracle, now you've got egg on your face. When Sun and Google were chillin back in the day, they were both cool about the Java thing. This should really impact the law suite.
        <a href="http://www.organizatuboda.mx">Bodas</a>
        user202
    • Agree a blog entry is not license agreement, so this will not help Google

      @William Pharaoh
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @DeRSSS
        The CEO word is as strong as a license agreement especially when it is in writing and public!
        Linux Geek
      • For better or for worse, no; or else many CEOs would be in jail already, ..

        @Linux Geek: ... prosecuted by SEC or judged for whatever they have said. Written signed license agreement is the only thing that actually matters
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @DeRSSS
        that's written on the blog! so it's official.
        Linux Geek
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @Linux Geek
        If official blog becomes licensed and signed agreement then it changes a lot of things in the world. Interesting outcomes will be out for future and some may sound easy for FOSS, but really big ones can screw it totally. It will become two sided knife. I personally feel then Sun CEO misused his powers by writing such a blog, he just defeated the board and shareholders of then Sun Micro.
        Ram U
      • Going forward and backwards two different things

        @DeRSSS I would argue that it will help Google in the current lawsuit with technologies from the past. However, going forward I think Google has a problem. I think Oracle is entitled to change its mind and charge going forward. But I don't think Google will be able to get monies from the past.
        serpentmage
      • Looks like the same old world to me

        @Rama.NET

        This would not change a lot of things in the world. It just shows you that maybe its not the world you want to believe it is. Whether this is a signed license agreement or not it does show that Sun did not intend to defend its patents and I could have sworn that a company has to show that it intends to defend them to keep them. You can't publicly say go for it one day and lay a trap to turn around and claim that you're owed the next.
        storm14k
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @DeRSSS

        Implied licenses are binding. This was clearly an implied license. There was probably a plan to market Java services to applications writers on Android. That may be what Oracle is really after.

        The claims in a lawsuit are often bargaining chips for what the company is really after. I have several times, in these sorts of situations allowed myself to be talked into what I really wanted in the first place. It's what smart negotiators do. Larry Ellison has a reputation as a smart negotiator.
        YetAnotherBob
    • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

      @William Pharaoh
      Google has always paid the fair price when they've acquired some real technology or IP.
      Linux Geek
      • RE: Sun CEO explicitly endorsed Java's use in Android: What do you say now Oracle?

        @Linux Geek
        You are kidding right?

        AFAIK, Google has used lots of IP and it never acquired any IP. That's the reason Google can't make a real fight back against Oracle.
        spicycheeks