Microsoft teaming up with Oracle against Google in Java case?

Microsoft teaming up with Oracle against Google in Java case?

Summary: UPDATED: Oracle v. Google is far from over -- especially if Microsoft is really getting involved with the legal battle over intellectual property.

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The legal war between Oracle and Google has been rather muted for the last several months, but there could be a major new twist in the case.

Reuters has reported that legal representatives for Microsoft told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a briefing on Tuesday that it would support Oracle.

We reached out to Oracle to confirm, but the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based corporation declined to comment.

Not many more details are available at this time, but it would seemingly line up with Microsoft's other patent-related lawsuits against Motorola Mobility, now a Google subsidiary.

See also: Jury strikes a blow against software patentsGoogle kicks Oracle in its patent teethJury clears Google of infringing on Oracle patentsOracle v. Google jury stumbling over tech terminology, illnessCopyrights, APIs, and Oracle vs Google | CNET: Complete trial coverage

To recall, Oracle originally sued Google in 2010 over copyright infringement related to the use of 37 Java APIs used on the Android mobile operating system.

Google argued they were free to use because the Java programming language is free to use, and the APIs are required to use the language. Oracle tried to make the case that Google had knowingly used the APIs without a license from Sun Microsystems, which was bought by Oracle in 2010.

But last spring, a federal jury at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco sided with Google on nearly all of the copyright claims as well as on all of the patent disputes.

At this point in the case, Oracle is working on an appeal after a federal judge rejected the Java owner's motion for a new trial. The two parties also met several times last summer to discuss damages.

In one instance, at a case management hearing in June, Oracle's legal team explained that it filed a stipulation in which Google was asked to pay $0 in statutory damages (in reference to the nine lines of code in the rangeCheck method and the test files) in order to move proceedings along faster as it works toward an appeal.

UPDATE: Oracle provided us with the following comment:

Microsoft, NetApp, EMC, and the Business Software Alliance to computer science professors, the former U.S. Register of Copyrights, and organizations representing photographic licensors and graphic artists, filed amicus briefs today in support of Oracle’s Federal Circuit appeal of the opinion from the Northern District of California.

Topics: Legal, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents

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42 comments
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  • Why the hate?

    I'm really confused as to why there's such visceral hatred for Google on the part of Microsoft and its supporters. I understand that they're rivals, but the best way to get one up on a rival is to make products that consumers simply can't resist. That way, me as a customer, also gets to win.
    intman
    • Not sure "hate" is the issue here

      Microsoft surely have a vested interest in a legal judgement that made a complete API surface copyrightable. It would add extra legal protection to Win32, WinRT and pretty much any of their "platforms"
      AndyCadley
      • Win32 and WinRT not Open Source

        You can't open source code and than sue people for using it. If Java is free, it's free. What you license is the trademark (if you want to use it) -- and Google decided not to do that. Case closed.
        rcentros
        • "Open source" doesn't mean "not proprietary"

          Open just means published, it doesn't mean you can do what you like with it.
          Fred Fredrickson
          • Re: "Open source" doesn't mean "not proprietary"

            "Open Source" is defined here: http://opensource.org/osd -- note the specific requirements on free modifications and redistribution, and no restrictions on what you can use the software for. Yes, "Open Source" DOES most certainly mean "not proprietary".

            The licensing for OpenJDK is set out here: http://openjdk.java.net/legal/ -- note the use of GPLv2, a well-known Open Source licence.

            If you think that either 1) OpenJDK is not Open Source, or that 2) Google violated the OpenJDK licensing, then please explain how.
            ldo17
          • Google DID violate the GPL2 license ...

            ... by changing the license on the file headers to Apache.
            wackoae
          • Re: ... by changing the license on the file headers to Apache.

            Which headers? Where?
            ldo17
          • hmm

            Might be, you should learn more what you are defending?

            Blind hate for Google is wrong, just as blind love for Google.
            danbi
          • open source

            GPL is by far not the only form of open source. In fact it is one of the worse as related to freedom. The BSD, Apache, MIT etc licenses are by far more liberal and open.

            By publishing the Java APIs in GPL, Sun made sure anyone who incorporates them in their product is publishing it all. The GPL live nice works like a virus - it "infects" any new software..

            Where is the google published all-GPL Android? The full code, of everything...
            danbi
          • Android is published

            Here is the source code:
            http://source.android.com/
            Enjoy!
            kirovs@...
    • It's just business

      They will use all the weapons they have available, don't think Google is any better or worse.

      For me this is pretty pathetic but they must know what they are doing.
      AleMartin
      • Know what they're doing?

        Nah, I think it's an act of desperation. If Microsoft (for one) knew what they were doing, they would have more than 2 or 3 percent of the mobile market.
        rcentros
    • It happened to MS

      Microsoft got in trouble in the past for Java usage - why would they standby and let a rival get away with it? In the end, Google should step up and do the right thing.
      techgeek01
      • What is right?

        Is it right to open source a language and then try to sue someone for using it? That is the definition of what is wrong. It's the desperate act of a patent troll. Oracle will lose again.
        rcentros
      • Re: Microsoft got in trouble in the past for Java usage

        That was before Java was Open-Sourced. Microsoft signed an agreement with Sun to make use of Java, then broke that agreement.
        ldo17
    • Business is war, prepare to win

      Microsoft has a history of playing dirty pool and doing just about everything they can to compete. They walk the line of being unethical just as part of their business.

      Google isn't as clean as they used to be as well and who knows what the future holds.

      Of course, just because Ellison says something doesn't mean it's factually nor legally true.
      DonRupertBitByte
    • no hate

      You don't have to hate the thief in order to cut his hands off, so that he can not steal anymore.

      A lot of companies in the software business have their APIs as their main asset. Telling them that this has no value anymore, because we should all love Google makes no sense. That lawsuit has gone wrong.

      This has nothing to do with consumers.
      danbi
  • M$ is getting as desparate as google already is!

    It seems that Google is desperate more than ever. Just watching the lengths they go is insanely funny to watch. they are being sued everywhere because for years they thought their crap don't stink only to find out that people are seeing them for the evil company they have become. Governments, politicians, regular folks alike are not going to let Google get away with it anymore.

    Now with M$ on board, even though their almost as evil as Google, I don’t see good days ahead for Google now.
    I Am Galactus
  • M$, Oracle and apple are going down!

    This is the last gasp of air from the axis of evil software, before the FOSS community will steamroll this scum of the software and freedom!
    LlNUX Geek
    • While in theory Free software is a great idea.

      And works great in a lot of cases, do yo REALLY believe if all software was free it would get any better? In a lot of cases good software is written so the developer can pay his or her bills.
      While I think the open source is needed I also believe in our existing world pay for software is also needed. A lot of modern software would have never been written if there was no money involved, this isn't the Star Trek universe were moneys no required to live you know!
      martin_js