Feds should watch Oracle lawsuit against Google

Issue involves patent rights on Java

Oracle is suing Google over the use of Java in Google's Android operating system, according to press reports. Android, which powers a new breed of smart phones, has been rapidly gaining ground on rivals Apple and Research in Motion, makers of the iPhone and BlackBerry, respectively.

As federal employees bring smart phones to bear on their jobs with increasing frequency, the outcome of the dispute could have an effect, especially considering the rapid growth of Android-based phones. Starting with practically no market share a year ago, the OS now holds 13 percent of the subscriber market and has been outselling the iPhone in recent months.

The heart of the dispute involves Oracle's rights to Java. "In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," said Oracle spokeswoman Karen Tillman in a written statement, as reported by IDG News Service.

Oracle filed the suit Aug. 12 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Read the actual complaint here.

According to a report on Cnet, Google's use of Java has rankled Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle, from the beginning of Google's development of Android in 2007.

"Google's Java implementation is different than the one advocated by a Java standards group, which worried those tech industry veterans who remember the problems that Microsoft caused for Java by following a similar path on Windows," wrote Cnet's Tom Krazit.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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Reader comments

Tue, Aug 17, 2010

I do not believe that Google has ever claimed that Android is a Java operating system. They created their own JVM that was suited to the smartphone technology that they envisioned. Could they have used a standard JVM?

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 Metro DC Area

Maybe somebody should look the deal that Scott McNealy of Sun made with Eric Schmidt of Google about four (4) years ago that permitted the technology transfer from Sun to Google. = There was a lot of press on this deal although there were also a lot of questions regarding what was really being transferred. This could be an indication of what was agreed to before everybody spends a lot of money with the lawyers. Scott M. and Eric were good friends going back to the time that Eric worked for Sun.

Mon, Aug 16, 2010

Come on. Google is clearly forking Java. How is that supportive of open source? Why is Oracle's defence of the Java community an attack on open source and Google's is not? Is the truth is somewhat more complex than WashingtonTech can handle?

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