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Oracle asks Motorola to testify in suit over Java in Android

updated 05:40 pm EDT, Fri August 5, 2011

Oracle may get Motorola to testify in Google case

Oracle may get Motorola to join Larry Page in testifying as part of its lawsuit against Google over Java patent use in Android. The database firm late this week motioned a Chicago court for rights to depose Motorola for evidence. The testimony would gauge whether the code Motorola uses the allegedly infringing patents in the source code it gets from Google as well as whether Motorola was using the Android dx tool.

It was important to inquire about the code on every device, Oracle said. Devices ranging from the very first Motorola Android phone, the Cliq, through to the Atrix 4G and Xoom were all likely to be under scrutiny.

A motion was necessary as Motorola had declined and hadn't been persuaded in negotiations. Evidence supplied by Motorola in June also wasn't enough to properly identify the changes. Motorola's reasons for objecting weren't uncovered, but analysts have claimed Oracle might want to charge Google as much as $15 per device in royalties and might be aiming for the same with Motorola.

The testimony and the license requests if true could be dangerous for Google. While the company itself has faced few royalty demands, its phone and tablet partners are facing a dual-pronged attack from Apple and Microsoft that could add to the cost of selling Android. Opponents to Google have accused it of price dumping by giving away Android for free, but the licensing terms could make Android noticeably more expensive relative to iPhone and Windows Phone hardware. [via Florian Mueller]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Android ended up using Java - it was never a requirement to use Java - as both Microsoft and Apple have proven.

    It isn't some necessary cost of having a phone OS - and Google can drop Java. And surely would have never picked Java at such an absurd price point. Sun did license java - for about $1 a phone, not $15.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Drop Java -> 2 years off the market

    Google could do 3 things, only 2 of which are realistic:

    1. Easy but expensive solution: leave Android as-is and pay damages to Oracle for each copy of Android shipped. Google's Android hardware partners would also be forced to pay Oracle. Oracle gets $30 per handset ($15 from Google, $15 from the handset maker.) Android handset prices go up by $30 or more worldwide.

    2. Slightly harder but least expensive: re-write part of Android to use 100% pure Java. Google would need to write off the development costs. And the down-time during the rewrite would mean many months of lost sales. Android would never make up the ground lost to iPhone. Google would still pay damages to Oracle, but probably not per-handset. Just a one-time lump sum.

    3. Hardest and most expensive: replace Java with some other technology that uses a totally different bytecode. This would take years of development effort and would result in years of lost sales. And in today's market, just one year is an eternity. Two years downtime would be fatal.

    If Google management has any sense, they'll do #2. They've already hired James Gosling, the so-called inventor of Java, so they may be on the right track.

  1. DerekMorr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android doesn't use Java

    "replace Java with some other technology that uses a totally different bytecode. This would take years of development effort"

    Umm, no.

    Android devices don't use Java; they use the Dalvik Virtual Machine. See

    Android apps are typically written in Java, but the source code is compiled into Dalvik VM bytecode before it's loaded on an Android device. There's no need for Google to rewrite or change anything.

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