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Oracle, Google CEOs, Sun vets to testify in lawsuit

updated 02:10 pm EDT, Sat October 8, 2011

Oracle-Google lawsuit sees testimony of top execs

Both Google and Oracle will have to bring out some of their top current and former executives to testify in the ongoing lawsuit over Android's use of Java patents. Along with Google's Larry Page, its chairman and one-time Sun CTO Eric Schmidt is also being called by Oracle and fill in details on negotiations with Sun and later Oracle over Java as well as the business strategy for Android. Java pioneer and recent Google worker James Gosling is being asked to talk about Java's invention and patents, and the author of a potentially condemning Google e-mail, Tim Lindholm, is being asked in hopes of pushing him to admit Google ignored needed patent deals.

Google mobile VP and Android creator Andy Rubin should also appear, and a chance exists that Oracle will voluntarily put its CFO Safra Catz on the witness stand to talk about the reasons behind acquiring Sun and how Java is licensed. An earlier CEO of Sun's, Scott McNealy, would discuss Oracle's takeover and Java licenses.

Unusually, both Google and Oracle want to bring in Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Google wants him to detail negotiations over Java licenses, its business strategy, and its "defensive" use of patents and copyrights. The company hopes to show Ellison abusing lawsuits and royalty demands. Oracle wants him to testify, however, to show how valuable Java is to the company and the damage from Android's alleged misuse.

Google's best weapon may become former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. He openly endorsed Android's use of Java at the time it was new. The Android developer may want to show that Sun didn't feel a need to license Java and that Oracle was betraying this in the name of a cash grab.

With Google so far having already produced evidence that it knew what it would cost to license Java but went ahead regardless, the company may have little choice but to reach a settlement or mitigate its losses at trial. Oracle wants $2 billion or more in back licenses and might try for more, while Google wants to minimize it to at most a few hundred million and to make it a one-time payment rather than a by-device license. A trial is due to start October 31, but it may miss that date due to a densely packed schedule. [via Florian Mueller]

by MacNN Staff



  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The cost of "free"

    Oracle wants $2 billion or more in back licenses and might try for more, ...

    $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility. That's 1.5 years of Google profits. And soon $2+ billion in back licenses plus billions more in ongoing license fees. Too bad Google only makes $6-$10 per year from the average Android user.

    Even worse news for Google: Amazon has frozen Android development in the tablet space. The Kindle Fire creates yet another proprietary, closed fork of Android. It will crush all other Android-based tablets because of its low price, and it will happily co-exist with iPad. And that will bring developers to the Amazon fork. Because, for once, there will be an Android tablet that can actually generate revenue for them.

    Amazon has replaced Android's "profit layer" with their own app store and advertising. This is the ultimate price of "free": a more stable, more profitable, more developer-friendly fork that freezes out all other Android forks. Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and all post-2.3 iterations of Android (whether closed or open) will be ignored in the tablet space. Tiny market share + useless copycat features + unprofitability = failure.

    There is room at the low-to-mid range of the market for the various Kindles. There is room at the mid-to-high range of the market for the various iPads. But there's no room in between. No room for any wannabes. Game over RIM, HP, Samsung, HTC, Acer, ASUS, Sylvania (!??!?)...

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