Rubin and Schwartz on the lawsuit between Google and Oracle
Google, the owner of the Android operating system that powers the vast majority of smartphones of the world has generated over $42 billion in profit and Oracle wants its share. More than 3 billion devices use Android globally with about 1 billion of them running the 2014 version and about 19,000 distinct devices that use the operating system. Google’s Android platform is found in over 80 percent of smartphones around the world, making it the most widely used mobile OS.
The OS utilizes Java programming codes, which are now owned by Oracle and the company believes that it deserves some share of profit of Android’s success since Google copied Java’s programming language codes without getting a license from Sun Microsystems, which was later acquired by Oracle in the year 2010.
Google states that it used the Java codes in “fair use” as per open-source software licensing rules, which require the developers to contribute back to the open-source community. While Oracle claims that Google specifically picked 37 application program interfaces (APIs) to formulate their Android operating system for smartphones.
Former Sun Chief Executive Jonathan Schwartz testified that Sun Microsystems wanted to attach its Java brand to Android, which is now the world’s most popular mobile operating system. But Mr. Schwartz said Google pulled out of negotiations because of “a combination of money and technical dependence. Google didn’t want to rely, as best as I understand, on anyone else.”
Andy Rubin, the former head of Android at Google, testified that Sun Microsystems had reservations about Google’s plan to give Android to phone makers for free. “I think it was a difficult thing we were asking them to do.”
Andy Rubin and other Google executives (including Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company) have repeatedly defended Google’s use of the Java APIs, further insisting they believed they were free to use elements of Java without a license.
Google’s defense has been that Sun, before it was acquired by Oracle, was an enthusiastic supporter of Android and that both Sun and Android considered developing Java-based phones before abandoning their efforts. Also, the APIs in question make up a tiny portion of the overall Android code.
The final point of Google’s trial brief is that, “No matter what, Oracle will not be entitled to an injunction.” Google cites historical precedent, Oracle’s lack of a competitive product and the problems that shutting off Android would cause to the “tens of millions of users,” as well as manufacturers that sell Android phones and carriers that have invested in selling and supporting the platform.
Oracle has filed for a claim of $9.3 billion for the compensation of damages suffered by Google’s act of implementing Java APIs in Android operating system, a value Google said was “astronomical.”