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The Oracle Lawsuit Will End with Google Owning Java

By Cameron McKenzie

29 Oct 2010 |

Will The Oracle Lawsuit End with Google Owning Java?

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Very little has been spoken about Oracle’s patent infringement lawsuit against Google in the past few months. However, right at a time when Java professionals were beginning to hope that perhaps the whole legal battle might be settling down and fading into the background, Oracle has updated their legal filings. The following quote comes from an amended version of Oracle’s lawsuit against Google:

"In at least several instances, Android computer program code also was directly copied from copyrighted Oracle America code. For example, as may be readily seen in Exhibit J, the source code in Android's "" class is nearly identical to '' in Oracle America's Java, not just in name, but in the source code on a line-for-line basis."

Why is Oracle pursuing this?

One content item sorely missing from any Oracle documentation is why Google is being pursued so aggressively. 

While the Enterprise Java Platform remains pervasive, valiant efforts in the past by Sun to promote mobile device and client side Java development never gained any traction, and this is a problem.

To stop it from becoming this century’s Cobol, Java needs to capture the imagination of the youth, and right now, that means mobile device development. Every kid in college wants to write something for their iPhone or Android device, and the fact of the matter is, the only company succeeding in that space as far as Java is concerned is Google. With this lawsuit, Oracle isn’t just refusing to hold onto the lifeline Google is throwing them, but instead, they’re trying to use that very lifeline to actually strangle their rescuer.

An out-of-court settlement

The only real strategy that makes any sense here is that Oracle is strong-arming Google into actually taking Java off their hands. There is little doubt that the Oracle lawsuit has legal, if not technical, merit. If this lawsuit goes to court, Oracle will end up with a settlement in the high hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions. Of course, this whole thing won’t go to court. Court isn’t the end game of this lawsuit.

"With this lawsuit, Oracle isn’t just refusing to hold onto the lifeline Google is throwing them, but instead, they’re trying to use that very lifeline to actually strangle their rescuer."

The big end game here is Java ending up in the hands of Google.

The end-game: Google owning Java

As a settlement of this case, Oracle will agree to be paid a hefty sum of cash, not for the patent violations, but for Google to purchase Java itself; in turn, the lawsuit gets dropped. Since Oracle has the enviable position of negotiating a price for Java with a billion dollar patent lawsuit pending, Oracle will end up getting a price for Java that will no doubt make Larry Ellison and the other Oracle shareholders happy. On top of that, Oracle ends up with everything they wanted from the Sun acquisition, namely the coveted Sun hardware, while at the same time, getting rid of the Java hangover. By selling Java off to Google, Oracle gets rid of the responsibility of stewarding the Java platform, while also unloading the impossible task of trying to make everyone in the Java community happy.

A win-win situation

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Google gets to put an end to the lawsuit craziness simply by using their deep pockets to buy their way out of the problem, Oracle gets to focus on their core technologies and strategies, and the Java community gets to move forward with confidence in the Java platform as being not only the strongest enterprise computing solution, but as being the future of handheld and mobile device development as well. And the sooner this all happens, the better.

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