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Sun CEO Explicitly Endorsed Java's Use In Android

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the maybe-he-was-in-on-the-plot dept.

Android 204

An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet writes: 'If you believe Oracle's patent lawsuits against Google for its use of Java in Android, Google has stolen not just patented ideas but directly copied Java code. In short, Google is a red-handed thief and should pay Oracle over a billion in damages. There's just one little problem with this portrayal of Google as an intellectual property (IP) bandit. When Android first came out, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, then Java's owner, greeted the news with 'heartfelt congratulations.' Whoops.'"

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204 comments

Fuck Oracle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881492)

Those assholes killed Solaris and deserve to be taken to the cleaners by Google.

Re:Fuck Oracle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881552)

Those assholes killed Solaris and deserve to be taken to the cleaners by Google.

No, they killed Open Solaris.

Re:Fuck Oracle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881720)

And that is what killed Solaris

Re:Fuck Oracle! (3, Informative)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881876)

No, they killed Open Solaris.

Despite all the things Oracle has done wrong, dropping Open Solaris was probably a good idea. Unless they had some big idea on how to make using Open Solaris less painful than stabbing oneself repeatedly with sharp objects, which I doubt they did. I'm using Open Solaris for a ZFS / Samba file server, but even if I wanted to do almost the same thing again I'd pick almost any other OS. It's a pain to admin, doesn't make sense, and is just downright unpleasant to work with. Only reason I've not abandoned it is the file server is actually working properly for now at least. From a performance standpoint, it's actually doing a fairly good job, I just never want to touch it again.

Re:Fuck Oracle! (1)

ulzeraj (1009869) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882214)

I'm quite fond of my osol iSCSI target. COMSTAR seems quite superior than any other iscsi target I've meddled.
Anyway whith FreeBSD can handle Samba and ZFS. I'd also pick it over osol but I had problems with istgt at the time... and we dropped when the only decent documentation about it was in japanese.

Re:Fuck Oracle! (2)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882386)

I'm just curious, what is your opinion on AIX compared to Solaris?

In my experience, AIX makes Solaris look like user-friendly land.

Re:Fuck Oracle! (3, Insightful)

OneMadMuppet (1329291) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881882)

No, they killed Solaris - not by shutting down the project, but by modifying licensing and support terms to make it unreasonable for most companies to continue to use it.

Java is for goatfuckers (-1, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881506)

All true computer users who are awesome like me prefer programs writtin in LISP because these progems tend to be toring complete and therefore moreuseful mand robust intheir architechters than scripting languigis like JaVa!!!

Re:Java is for goatfuckers (2)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881786)

All true computer users who are awesome like me prefer programs writtin in LISP because these progems tend to be toring complete and therefore moreuseful mand robust intheir architechters than scripting languigis like JaVa!!!

And if you code like you type, You will sound like you have a lisp.

Re:Java is for goatfuckers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881804)

I have two lisps and I use them to kiss ur momma's buttocks. She says i don't do it as good as u do, 'tho. :(

Re:Java is for goatfuckers (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882016)

But if you look closer, you'll find that what had been intended to be a Lisp application was mostly hacked together in Perl.

Development tools in NetBeans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881508)

The article states that Sun was supporting Android with development tools in NetBeans.

Where are they then?

Re:Development tools in NetBeans? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881556)

The article states that Sun was supporting Android with development tools in NetBeans.

Where are they then?

At the top of Oracle's "Can this project and hide it for ever" list made when they brought Sun.

Really? (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881788)

I must be imagining things, then. Because I could have sworn that there are Android projects in my NetBeans projects folder. Ho hum.

Re:Really? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881880)

I must be imagining things, then. Because I could have sworn that there are Android projects in my NetBeans projects folder. Ho hum.

That's interesting, especially if they are samples provided by Oracle

Won't stop Oracle (1)

myurr (468709) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881514)

As they saying goes, never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

If there's a financial gain to be made, and the judge seems to think that Oracle at least have some legitimate claim deep within their case, then this won't change much.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881596)

There is probably some argument, however tenuous, that merely having Sun's CEO publicly praise the use of basically-java in Android didn't actually constitute implicit permission to use whatever java-related patented techniques are at question.

Even if that side of things pans out, though, it certainly makes it a bit harder to make the argument that Google was willfully infringing(which would potentially up the damages significantly), since that isn't exactly the sound of a CEO who is getting willfully-infringed upon...

Re:Won't stop Oracle (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881674)

It doesn't seem very relevant if it happened when Android was first released. Back then, Google was shouting loudly that they were using Java. Schwartz probably read this and said 'well done, using Java is great!' Then, on closer inspection, it turned out that Google was using almost-Java, which is not something they were too happy about.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882164)

Bingo! If you read TFA he is talking about using JAVA or Android, not MS Java...err I mean Davalik or whatever they call the thing. And it just amazes me that fanbois can cheer the exact same behavior they once booed simply by changing the name of the douchebag.

MSFT rips off Java and creates a "kinda sorta Java" which they will use their large base to snatch control away from Java? BOOO. Google rips off Java and creates a "kinda sorta Java" which they will use their large base to snatch control away from Java? YAAY!

Hell just change the names in the papers and the lawsuits read the same, the only difference is the fanboi love for the latter company. But IMHO being a douche is being a douche and just as MSFT was a douche then for cooking up their kinda sorta Java Google is a douche now for ripping a page from gate's playbook and hoping that saying "We do no evil" is a "get out of bad publicity" free card. Considering how much fanboi love they get no matter what they do that may be so. Maybe MSFT should change their slogan to "We heart kittens!" and Apple change theirs to "we love mom and Apple pie!" .

Re:Won't stop Oracle (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882268)

100% crap. MSFT was trying to co-opt the entire language by using their monopoly clout. Google just forked.

Put another way, MSFT was trying to push their changes to affect the master, upon which all future pulls would inherently be affected by what they wanted/controlled.

Google just did a pull into a separate branch. No affect to the Java master.

MS Java was a trojan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882280)

MS Java was a trojan: Microsoft put stuff in the sun.java tree that would have been 100% acceptable in the microsoft.java tree. Why? So that you'd use a construct that would work on 85% of your clients and not on anyone using non-Microsoft products. Why? To ensure the lock-in continued.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882334)

"Hell just change the names in the papers and the lawsuits read the same, the only difference is the fanboi love for the latter company"

Well, and apart from the minor fact that the Sun-Microsoft case was an antitrust complaint, and the Oracle-Google case is a patent/IP infringement case?

Come on, you're usually smarter than this. Microsoft wanted to kill Java because it feared it'd make it easier for software to be developed for non-Microsoft platforms and would hence harm their domination of the desktop. Google used Java because it's the most taught and well known language in the world as well as being prominently used inside Google itself, and so the syntax and features made sense to use for their implementation of a VM. I don't see how you can class wanting to destroy or take over something to be equivalent to wanting to use something.

So yeah, they're almost the same, I guess, if by almost, you mean, completely and utterly different.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882242)

I'd be amazed if the CEO of Sun, the company that created and owned Java at the time didn't actually know what strain of Java or what Google had done to Java in Android.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881690)

Even if that side of things pans out, though, it certainly makes it a bit harder to make the argument that Google was willfully infringing(which would potentially up the damages significantly), since that isn't exactly the sound of a CEO who is getting willfully-infringed upon...

one tiny nitpick... not much harder. Sun just needed to show "oops. we realized our error, so we're now re-communicating with you our accurate position." . At that point in time Google is duly informed and the wishful (dare I say fantasyland) safe harbour has vanished.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882014)

I don't think such an argument would be tenuous at all. Explain to me how expressing an opinion endorsing or suggesting the incorporation of a company's IP constitutes the technical legal details companies must satisfy to make such a thing a reality?

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882194)

There is probably some argument, however tenuous, that merely having Sun's CEO publicly praise the use of basically-java in Android didn't actually constitute implicit permission to use whatever java-related patented techniques are at question.

But your honor, he maintains that at the time he said it he had his fingers crossed! [facebook.com]

Re:Won't stop Oracle (2)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882302)

Even if that side of things pans out, though, it certainly makes it a bit harder to make the argument that Google was willfully infringing

It doesn't mean that at all. Unless his statement is something like, "After a careful technical review to find Dalvik does not infringe any of our patents, I find Google's adoption of Java as their development language to wonderful for the Java and Android communities.", this is a complete fanboy story. It absolutely zero to do with anything.

Bluntly, unless they can prove such a statement was backed by some type of patent review or technical analysis, it means absolutely nothing. Nada. Zero. Now that doesn't mean some lawyer won't be able to manipulate some dumb, unintelligent juror, but aside from that, this story is absolutely meaningless fluff.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (3, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882368)

The University of Oregon has been able to show a picture of Walt Disney shaking hands with the president of UofO, and mentioning in an article how he liked the mascot (which was based on Donald Duck) to settle a lawsuit from Disney on infringement.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881676)

If commentary on Groklaw [groklaw.net] concerning this very subject is any indication of probably outcome, then the case is pretty much already lost because of the doctrine of estoppel. It basically says "we were encouraged and supported in this route by the owners of Java and it became what it became in part because of that. You can't take that back now just because there are new owners." Permission to do what Google has done has already been given before Oracle took over. It seems unjust and childish somehow that it would be possible for new owners of something to step in and suddenly evict others from their intellectual property after they have been homesteading for so long.

The doctrine of estoppel defence is just one of Google's defences in this case, of course... Google will also, as much as possible, render as much of Oracle's IP useless in the process of defending their case. Oracle's arrogant aggressiveness, I hope, will result in a very humbling experience for them and give pause to anyone who wishes to assert software patents in court. The more frequently software patents are invalidated, the less likely new ones are to be approved in the future... and I pray that one fine day, they are simply dropped from the list of things that can be patented entirely.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881718)

If Google has no written permission to use the patented technologies then whoever said whatever does not matter. Sun most likely helped Google because they wanted to sign a patent deal where Google would pay $100M which did not come through.
You can see it from Google's perspective as Oracle being evil and big. Alternatively you can see if from Oracle's perspective as Google being evil and trying to go for a free ride ignoring the current rules of the industry.
The patent system is not good, but everyone must play by the current rules until the rules are changed.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882388)

That would be all fine and dandy and acceptable except for this one small detail: if there ever was that intention from SUN (now owned by Oracle, the plaintiff), then Oracle would have presented that already as proof, solidifying their crumbling case (and would be pretty much a slam dunk).
Guess what, it wasn't presented to the case that intent, so you can pretty much forget that line of defense.

It's not like he wrote that blog post and the very next day sold SUN to Oracle, never being able to leave some memos or emails with intent to follow up on a patent deal with Google. Ouch...

Re:Won't stop Oracle (4, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881794)

If commentary on Groklaw concerning this very subject is any indication of probably outcome, then the case is pretty much already lost because of the doctrine of estoppel.

That is interesting. If this is a valid defense then I wonder why we also find warnings on Groklaw to avoid Mono because of patent concerns. Surely the same doctrine would cover Mono even more than this case, because Microsoft have been way more enthusiastic a simple press release.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (3)

mrsurb (1484303) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882160)

Google has deep pockets and lots of lawyers to defend themselves against Oracle. And even if Google loses this lawsuit, they're able to find the $100 million or so that they need to pay Oracle down the back of the couch.

Mono doesn't have deep pockets and lots of lawyers. A patent lawsuit from Microsoft against Mono would be devastating, win or lose.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882264)

A patent lawsuit from Microsoft against Mono would be devastating, win or lose.

Devastating for Icaza and his pals, but excellent for Linux.
Bring it on MS.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882196)

That is interesting. If this is a valid defense then I wonder why we also find warnings on Groklaw to avoid Mono because of patent concerns. Surely the same doctrine would cover Mono even more than this case, because Microsoft have been way more enthusiastic a simple press release.

I thought that was because Microsoft explicitly licensed the .Net patent tech (via Novell) for Mono. Mono itself is contractually protected (assuming MS doesn't cancel the contract) but forks/derivatives and software written on top of Mono don't directly benefit.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881698)

So, if a woman goes to bed WILLINGLY and HAPPILY with you in which
1) everybody at the bar saw this,
2) the next day told her friends what a wonderful time you had,
3) You continue a happy relationship for 3 years
and then shortly after attending some religious revival, she can declare that you raped her 4 years ago?

And yes, my analogy is about the right one.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881744)

Seems to work in Sweden...

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881762)

nope. That was reported right away, not 4 years later and with a very happy relationship going. Big difference.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (2)

wmac (1107843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881864)

Not that right away. Only after having breakfast with the so called raper (and telling how wonderful the rape was?!)

Besides Sun CEO can say whatever he want's. As long as he (and others who need to sign in order to make a deal official) has not signed an official letter, it does not count.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (4, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881950)

Week of wait + public telling of how great he was in bed on the internet the day after + saving a used condom for a week.

Personally I WTF:d at the condom. That thing must have smelled wonderful when she took it out at police station. Tells a lot about woman's personality that she actually saved that used condom for a week.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (1)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882054)

I personally keep my used condoms in the freezer, it is eaiser on the nose that way.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882104)

You have a separate fridge for it I assume.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (4, Funny)

machine321 (458769) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882226)

I personally keep my used condoms in the freezer, it is eaiser on the nose that way.

I think you're doing it wrong, they don't go on the nose.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881772)

0a) you didn't have a sex permit
0b) you stole her treasure
0c) she still wanted to get married (sold to Oracle) so she put a good face on

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881890)

Thing is, everybody in the justice system would blindly believe her and the man would go to jail. Happens all the time.

Rape-claims has become a weapon against men; largely because even if the conviction gets overturned a few years down the road, she has nothing to fear from it.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882298)

Your analogy is stupid. A civil defense is irrelevant in a criminal case.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (-1, Troll)

yourmommycalled (2280728) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881796)

Nothing like a little bovine excrement from the Linsux's crowd which is where this. steaming pile came from. Because Schwartz "greeted the news with 'heartfelt congratulations." doesn't say or even imply that he gave google the OK to steal Sun's intellectual property. Of course Sun was pleased that google was going to use java in android, that would mean a lot of new revenue for Sun in the form of licensing fees and per unit fees. If somebody announce that they were going to sell a new product that used my technology and patents I'd be thrilled too, UNTIL I FOUND OUT THEY REFUSED TO PAY THE LICENSING FEES AND WERE STEALING MY TECHNOLOGY. I'm not a big fan of Oracle, but googlescrewed the pooch on this one.

Re:Won't stop Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882158)

The "Linsux's" crowd?

Do you mean the crowd that says Linux sucks and who blow the horn of OS vendors who are out to lock users in a proprietary system, preventing freedom or do you count yourself as an enemy of freedom youself and make clever wordplay putting down the free software kernel Linux?

Re:Won't stop Oracle (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882252)

The thing is Android never claimed to be Java, doesn't use Sun code (even the GPLv2'd standard edition which appeared before Android) and is therefore not stealing anything. Indeed from the very outset it has explicitly been labelled as not Java. The only thing Java about it is the language you write apps in. The code is compiled and then munged into Dalvik byte code which runs on a Dalvik VM and has no commonality with J2ME or the JVM at all. It doesn't even use the Sun system libraries, preferring to use Apache Harmony equivalents.

It's kind of hard to believe that Sun's CEO didn't know this. He must surely have known that something was up if only from the complete non-involvement of Sun in the Open Handset Alliance. Perhaps he made assumptions that J2ME was so entrenched it couldn't possibly go ahead without Java. Perhaps he saw two J2ME VM providers on the list of members and thought Java was a shoe-in. That's all reaching of course. Even commenters on his own blog seem confused, asking why Sun isn't involved and speculating that Google are going to do a run around. And certainly within a week when the SDK came out it was clear that is exactly what they had done.

Patent Trolling 4tw. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881534)

Schwartz even looks like a pretentious IP troll. Also, I'm shocked that ZDNet took some time off from bobbing for Jobs' apples.

Even worse (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881626)

Even worse, according to Wikipedia, when he resigned from Sun he announced it as a haiku on Twitter:

Financial crisis
Stalled too many customers
CEO no more

.... an obvious IP ripoff from BeOS!

(Yeah, yeah, I know, I shouldn't feed 'em...)

Re:Even worse (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881680)

I'm honestly kind of surprised that a gang of laid-off Sun employees didn't corner him in the parking lot and beat him to death with a SPARCstation for doing that...

Re:Even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881774)

You think any laid off Sun employee has ever come within 100 feet of Schwartz? Pony-tail gave away the store and ignored the talent.

Re:Patent Trolling 4tw. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881640)

In hindsight, it's a strong indicator that Schwartz's previous experience with positioning a company for buyout (Lighthouse Design, acquired by Sun) was deemed a good fit in 2004 to get a buyer for Sun. His current company is dead-before-arrival but you can be it will eventually be purchased as well.

This is actually why they held off on suing Google - primary goal was to get a buyer for Sun.

congratulations, now pay me. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881560)

Schwartz offered a public "congratulations" and privately Sun notified Google they would need to license it.

Just exactly how does his public congratulations waive any right of payment. In fact it doesn't even address it. Cheers to the ignorant, wishful thinkers that believe this is any way, shape or forum constitutes a license waiver.

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881590)

... and privately Sun notified Google they would need to license it.

Citation needed. As far as I know Sun did not ask for any licensing until they were brought by Oracle, which was much later than the statement of congratulations. This is why the article says the principle of estoppel (you can't imply that something can be used for free then charge) might apply.

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881672)

Okay, twice can't just be a typo. "Brought" is not the same word as "bought".

I gave up on trying to correct the internet a few years ago, and even on Slashdot for a while. But seriously, if you're using words like "estoppel", you should know the difference between bought and brought.

Yes, I'm not in a good mood today.

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881870)

Okay, twice can't just be a typo. "Brought" is not the same word as "bought".

I gave up on trying to correct the internet a few years ago, and even on Slashdot for a while. But seriously, if you're using words like "estoppel", you should know the difference between bought and brought.

Yes, I'm not in a good mood today.

I'm slightly dyslexic. I know when to use cut and paste (for words like estoppel), but other words catch me out, particularly homophones - which bought and brought are in my non-rhotic accent.

And yes I coppied and pasted "homophone"

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882114)

homophones - which bought and brought are in my non-rhotic accent.

No they aren't. The rhotic/non-rhotic distinction applies to an r following a vowel, not before it.

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882270)

homophones - which bought and brought are in my non-rhotic accent.

No they aren't. The rhotic/non-rhotic distinction applies to an r following a vowel, not before it.

Meybe its my idiolect then. I do understand the difference between the concepts of "to buy" and "to bring" though.

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881776)

Schwartz offered a public "congratulations" and privately Sun notified Google they would need to license it.

You'd think the article would mention that if it were true, so: "Citation needed..."

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

wmac (1107843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881922)

Could you tell us then why Google approached sun to obtain license (and received a $100 million quote)?

Re:congratulations, now pay me. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882126)

Because paying off patent trolls is distasteful - but it can be cheaper, quicker and easier than fighting them.

Is Fanfare a legal agreement? (3, Interesting)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881592)

Definitely puts Oracle in an difficult position but does the current owner of a company assume the liability of "word-of-mouth" statements by a former owner? What's more, are they actually a legal binding agreement? I like Oracle about as much as I like Microsoft and Apple, but it seems to me that what it comes down to is Google would need to produce an actual legal document signed by Sun to make anything matter out of this.

Re:Is Fanfare a legal agreement? (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881662)

yep, CEO's make silly PR based statements all the time only to immediately turn that around into a law suit just weeks later if licensing or negotiations change. While it certainly hurts Oracles case it isn't really damning evidence in itself.

Re:Is Fanfare a legal agreement? (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881678)

It's not nearly as good as a real patent license, but if you encourage someone to do something and then sue them for it, they can argue "detrimental reliance", that you had suggested it was fine for them to do something and they had relied on that representation--- and therefore, even if the use turned out to be unauthorized, it might not be equitable to allow damages to be collected in that case.

Contract Law (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881848)

I am not sure about the US, but in the UK if a director of a company makes an oral statement on a commercial matter it has the same force of law as a written statement, provided there is independent evidence if (s)he subsequently retracts. Subsequent purchase of the company does not invalidate any contracts which do not have an appropriate invalidity clause.

When in the past I have addressed customers as a director, I have always been careful to state that either no oral comments I made would be legally binding, or I would have to refuse all questions on technical or commercial matters, for this very reason. This is exactly the same as a politician speaking "off the record".

No, but it isn't irrelevant either (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882022)

Statements matter in court. You can't go and say one thing, and then act in an opposite manner and expect a court to be ok with that, particularly when you are talking damages. So no, this won't make everything go away, if it would have it probably would have already gone away. But it does weaken Oracle's case.

Oracle's argument is basically that Google is evil, stole their tech, and owes them a bunch of damages because of that. Google is trying to show that isn't the case. things like this help.

Also something to keep in mind, not directly relevant here but related, is that in many jurisdictions verbal contracts are legally binding. For important things people use signed contracts to keep things from being "he said she said" but verbal contracts are binding and enforceable. You can't make a contractual promise then back out.

That's not what happened here, but somewhat related.

Part of Google's defence (5, Informative)

kai_hiwatari (1642285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881600)

Google has already submitted the said blog post as part of its defense http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/3:2010cv03561/231846/103/0.pdf [justia.com] (Exhibit M) So, this is not a new development and unlikely to change anything.

Re:Part of Google's defence (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881740)

So, this is not a new development and unlikely to change anything.

The Assclown vs. Google legal proceedings haven't progressed far enough for summary judgements, which is when I expect this to be used. This is something that would cause any sane legal system to stop in its tracks and dismiss the case with prejudice.

Go, Oracle, Go! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881610)

Oracle is doing us all a favor. By confronting Google head-on with software patents they are forcing Google to decide how to fight in this war. Do they collect patents like HTC is doing, and try to join the emerging smartphone patent cartel? Or do they continue to push for an open platform that breaks the cartels? It will have to be one or the other, the middle road isn't sustainable (they will continue to be sued over and over).

In 2007, Google had exactly 1 lawyer, world-wide, who was concerned with patents. They believed software patents were not relevant to their business except as useful tools to protect their search / indexing algorithms.

Today, it's clear we're in a war over whether the future of mobile computing is open, or locked down like mobile phones have always been. The only way to win such a war is to bring enough money into play to affect the law on patents, and that means, today, Google. It's like the USA reluctant to enter WWII.

So, I really hope Oracle continues to hurt Google with this.

Surprised Google is in litigation over this (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881614)

I think Google probably is in the right, but I'm surprised that Google seems to be in 'bet the company' litigation over this, bearing in mind the runaway success of Android and its upside as far as Google is concerned. $100million bucks for billions in return seems like a small price to pay.

Re:Surprised Google is in litigation over this (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881708)

It's nice when a company values principles over money. It's nice when someone stands up to the bully.

Like you say, they're probably in the right legally.

Thumbs up to Google. They're one of the few mega-companies that I still respect, and whose products I still want to use.

Re:Surprised Google is in litigation over this (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881730)

Perhaps. On the other hand, the company they're betting isn't Google. It's all the companies selling Android devices that will have to basically start from scratch if there is an injunction....

Re:Surprised Google is in litigation over this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881738)

Oracle is Larry Ellison. The chance of this being only about $100million pocket-change is probably zero. It'll be about a larger maneuver to destroy Google. Whether Google has figured out the exact strategy is unknown, but they're at least aware of the threat. We're only seeing a small portion of a chessmatch here.

Re:Surprised Google is in litigation over this (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881812)

Is it wise to cave, though?

Bearing in mind that a number of handset manufacturers are already paying a significant chunk to Microsoft for infringing Microsoft's patents, if Google were obliged to charge handset makers a "patent license fee" for every device they ship (which I can well see being the only practical way of recouping this sort of cost), Android suddenly looks like a very expensive platform.

Re:Surprised Google is in litigation over this (1)

ygslash (893445) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881884)

...but I'm surprised that Google seems to be in 'bet the company' litigation over this... $100million bucks for billions in return seems like a small price to pay.

You're right. Patent litigation almost always ends up with some kind of royalties settlement.

When it goes to court, usually it just means the defendant believes that the patent owner is demanding much more than the patent is worth. As weaknesses of the patent claim become exposed during trial, some of the monetary risk gets transferred from the defendant onto the claimant. As soon as one of the parties feels that the risk is not worth it anymore, they take the current settlement offer.

In this case, we all know Sun's strategy at the time of trying to get Java out there and make it as ubiquitous as possible. It's much more than just this blog post - Sun was going to a lot of trouble to make people feel that they don't have to worry about these kinds of patent claims. I'm sure we don't yet know all the details of what went on behind the scenes between Google and Sun at the time when the Android concept was born.

I'm also not sure what other tricks Google has up their sleeve. But if they can successfully convey some of the feeling of that atmosphere to the court, it will certainly help their result.

Re:Surprised Google is in litigation over this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882034)

well, sun ran a mobile project, some guys left, android appears. you figure it out.

Not much differently than MS (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881642)

MS used to push stealing from them. As they said, a stolen item from me robs my competitor of money. This was how they destroyed Borland. Now, where life gets interesting is how will the courts see this? Sun was NOT out to illegally destroy a competitor. They were happy to have Google use it. Hopefully, this destroys Oracle's lawsuit, while still allowing Google''s counter claims to continue forward.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881644)

I don't think it's binding. Sun sold its patents effectively (with everything else), so whatever Sun CEO may have said previously is not words of patents' owner anymore. So there.

Doesn't have anything to do with legalese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36881658)

Well, of course the Sun CEO was happy. Just like Microsoft is happy that millions of chinese are pirating Windows rather than installing Linux.

Amongst our weaponry are... (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881844)

Estoppel by record—This frequently arises as issue/cause of action estoppel or judicial estoppel where the orders or judgments made in previous legal proceedings prevent the parties from relitigating the same issues or causes of action,
Estoppel by deed (often regarded as technical or formal estoppels)—Where rules of evidence prevent a litigant from denying the truth of what was said or done
Estoppel by silence—Estoppel that prevents a person from asserting something when he had the right and opportunity to do so earlier, and such silence put another person at a disadvantage.
Laches—estoppel in equity by delay. Laches has been considered both a reliance-based estoppel, and a sui generis estoppel.
With apologies to Cardinal Fang.

Sigh. Enough already (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#36881938)

Google has stolen not just patented ideas

That's clearly bullshit, because ideas aren't patentable. Implementations of ideas, i.e. inventions, are. Expressions of ideas, e.g. novels, artwork aren't - but they can be copyrighted.

Not the whole story (5, Interesting)

realinvalidname (529939) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882124)

It's unfortunate that Schwartz's blog is gone, and that ZDNet didn't drill down a little more carefully to check dates on things. I was working with Sun on the java.net site at the time, through a contract with O'Reilly. As I recall, the story is actually somewhat worse. The rumor mill reported that Android would be using Java, and Schwartz went off half-cocked and praised Google for the "Java/Linux platform". Writing for java.net [java.net], I said "But I didn't end up putting this on the front page, because I just couldn't source the Java angle well enough (no offense, Jonathan, but you did say ZFS would be on Leopard...)." (that's the current editor's headshot on the page, not me, BTW).

Not too much later, Google laid out the details of Android, including the Dalvik VM, which meant that Google was only using Java the language (which it didn't have to license) and not Java the VM (which it would have had to). What I heard through the back channel was that Sun was pissed, believing it had been stabbed in the back. This made for a very awkward scene at Sun's mobile-focused "ME Developer Days" a few months later in January 2008: the Sun people had clearly been told to not talk about Android or acknowledge it in any way, which led of a few awkward moments of dancing around the elephant in the room. The first night of the conference, the Java Posse stopped by for dinner, and upon seeing Dick Wall (who at that time worked at Google), the first thing I said to him was "man, are they pissed at you guys."

Relevant dates and links:

  • November 5, 2007 - Google announces Android [blogspot.com], doesn't mention Java
  • November 5, 2007 - Later that day, Schwartz posts blog praising Android as "Java/Linux platform"
  • November 12, 2007 - First release of Android source, Dalvik revealed. This blog [betaversion.org], written that day, has a pretty good explanation of the fast one Google pulled on Sun. "How did Google manage to get Sun to license off a platform that could very well kill their own? Turns out, they didn’t: their move was even smarter than Sun’s."

Anyways, assuming my recollection of events and this timeline is accurate, Schwartz's blog should not be taken as an indication that Sun knew about and approved what Google was doing with Android. What it does prove is what a lot of people knew then but wouldn't say: Schwartz was a clueless loud-mouthed buffoon who happily fiddled away on his blog as SUNW burned.

NetBeans was going to have support for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36882130)

Damn. I wish that actually happened. I have to say, I am not a fan of Eclipse.

Which evil corporation do you support? (0)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#36882310)

Google, which sells its users' eyes (and other personal info) to advertisers, or Oracle, who doesn't sell anything without an humongous price tag?
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