Former Sun CEO backs up Google’s claim, Java was ‘free and open to use’


The Oracle v Google case continued yesterday with another full day of testimony. It continues today, with former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz taking the witness stand to give his side of the story. During questioning by Google’s lawyers, Schwartz confirmed that Java and its APIs were “free and open to use.” He explained that by making Java free, it allowed the company to expand its reach, allowing Sun to sell its products to a broader client list.

“It was in our interest to do so,” Schwartz continued. “If you were using Java, then everything else that Sun sold, we could sell to you. If you were using Microsoft Windows, the dominant operating system, then we had nothing to sell you.”

Schwarts also explained that Sun Microsystems was even forced to compete against the GNU Classpath project, an open source Java product which used its very own API. While Sun MIcrossystems wasn’t happy that its programming language had spawned a competitor, no licensing was needed and no legal action was taken by Sun against to stop the GNU Classpath project.

On cross-examination, Oracle’s lawyer did his best to discretion Schwartz’s testimony by highlighting internal emails in which Schwartz referred to Android as a “horrible product” and that Google may have been “playing fast and loose” with Java’s licensing terms. In response, Schwartz indicated that his internal communications were speculative and that Sun Microsystem’s public view on Android was summed up in a blog post that he shared on Sun’s website what Android was released.

So far, Google and its lawyers have set up a pretty solid defense. With Sun Microsystems’ former CEO backing up Google’s claims, we’re not sure what compelling evidence Oracle might have to convince the jury that Google needs to pay licensing fees for the use of Java in its Android operating system.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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