Former Sun CEO: Google didn’t need licenses to use Java APIs for Android


An interesting testimony was made today in courts where Oracle is facing off against Google. Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who resigned from the company once Oracle bought it in 2010, says Sun didn’t have a problem with Google using Java APIs without a formal license. At the same time, he said they didn’t like what Google was doing.

They originally wanted Google to sign on with them and call any products with Android on it “Java phones,” something I’m sure many of you remember seeing advertised on the back of phone boxes back in the mid-late 2000s. Google declined, of course, but that didn’t stop them from using Java’s APIs anyway. Any company would be peeved, no?

Well, they were. But they thought it was good business not to get into a fist fight with the search giant, citing Nokia’s battle against Apple as a prior example. So what is he saying?

Sun knew about it, and they didn’t like it, but they turned the other cheek and they weren’t going to have any problems. That’s unless, of course, Google were to use the Java name to advertise their products without Sun’s permission. They never did, and that was that. This could be a very huge testimony for all things considered.

While what they were doing wasn’t formal, Sun felt it wasn’t severe enough to enforce their licensing policies at the time and that could go a long way in backing Google. We’re not sure that it’s enough to put this case away, but it’s definitely one of the biggest, if not the absolute biggest, testimonies so far. The ball’s in your court, Oracle. [via CNet]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. so what your saying is….originally java didnt have an issue. now they are just crying after the fact to be asshairs?

    1. Kind of. Originally, Sun didn’t have an issue (except the minor annoyance described in the article), but when Oracle’s money-grubbing hands purchased Sun, that’s when they suddenly had a major problem.

    2. Not quite. Sun, the original company behind Java, had some problems with how Google was using the Java APIs, but felt the problems weren’t huge enough to go to legal war over. Another company, Oracle, bought Sun and everything they maintained/were developing (including Java). It’s been Oracle who’s had the problems and been doing all this crazy legal BS.

  2. Good to see this. I’m still scratching my head about how Oracle (AKA
    Sun) can share something for free, then charge for it later.

    It would be like Google theoretically suing Amazon because the Kindle Fire forked Android and made a ton of money.

    1. or like those 100 books you borrowed from the library 5 years ago now the library would like for you to pay for them.

      1. That’s not the same thing at all. When you borrow books no one else can read those specific books at the same time as you.

      2. When you check out a book you agree to return it one a certain date or pay a fee per given time overdue. It’s part of the paperwork you signed when you got the Library card (which in this case would be like a license) 

        A more apt library example would be a person walking in, grabbing 5 books, walking up to the desk and asking the head librarian if he can just have them. The librarian says nothing but just nods and waves him toward the door with the books. 5 years later the cops show up saying the books were stolen. The defense is that the librarian said you could by noding and waving you toward the door after asking, but noding isn’t a legal way to agree, so now the new head librarian wants the books back.

  3. Just so you know from a legal standpoint that doesn’t mean jack sh*t.  It may lessen the damages awarded but it doesn’t change the standpoint of whether there was infringement.  The initial reaction to the infringement isn’t what is going to prove culpability.  I am not saying that Google did anything wrong btw, just stating that this testimony, although from an observer’s point of few seems important, from a legal standpoint it means nothing for the ruling.  At the most it will affect compensation.

    1. Disagree that it means “jack sh*t” from a legal standpoint.  Even if everything pans out in Oracle’s way and Google still infringed or misappropriated Oracle’s (Sun’s) IP, this admission sets a strong foundation for acquiescence.  Whether Google can prove all the necessary elements of the defense is another thing, but the admission certainly has legal significance.

      1. Exactly, how can a company be 100% aware of infringement, have been in discussion with the suspect company and let it slide PURPOSELY for any reason and then turn around and sue? I know Sun isn’t the one suing but that should be as legally binding as a verbal discussion and Oracle should get nothing. Now, maybe Google should be foced to lisence the API’s for future use but I don’t thinks Oracle is entitled to anything. Thats my opinion anyway.

  4. Larry Ellison is from the same mold as Steve Jobs so what do you expect.

  5. Ass hair is a strong word. They are really just being dingleberries.

  6. Just think, we could have had the jPhone.

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