Clash of the Tech Titans: Oracle Sues Google

"Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property"

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Business software giant Oracle has filed suit against Google over its popular mobile operating system, Android. In Silicon Valley, copyright and patent infringement suits are a dime a dozen. But rarely do deep-pocketed companies like Oracle mount such aggressive (and inevitably protracted) suits against Google. Here's what technology analysts and bloggers are saying about the suit:

  • What's This All About?  Dan Goodin at The Register explains: "The complaint asserts seven patents to various technologies associated with Java, in addition to copyrighted code, documentation, specifications, libraries, and other materials that comprise the platform. Attorneys said the intellectual property is infringed by various Java applications that make up the Android stack and run on a Java-based object-oriented application framework."
  • What Does Oracle Want?  "Oracle's motivation was probably Android's recent success in the smartphone market," writes James Niccolai at Computer World. "Oracle alleges that Google was aware of its patents and 'willfully and deliberately' infringed them. It also says Google hired some of Sun's Java engineers. It wants the court to block the alleged infringement and award it damages."
  • An Epic Clash of the Titans, writes Sam Gustin at Daily Finance: "The conflict could shape up to be a massive battle between two of Silicon Valley's richest and most powerful companies. Google, of course, is a $120 billion behemoth that just spent $100 million to defend itself against Viacom -- a case which continues. And the search giant is sitting on a cash hoard of $26.4 billion. Oracle is a $115 billion company with cash reserves of $10 billion. And Ellison, of course, is one of the richest men in the world, personally worth about $30 billion, give or take a few billion. Needless to say, both sides can afford a protracted legal battle. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that the case could be settled out of court -- and if Oracle's claims are strong, Google may be forced to pay a non-trivial amount."
  • This Is Definitely Oracle's Style, says Rob Enderle, a Silicon Valley tech analyst: "I think this showcases a new tougher era for Java and this is something that Google likely should have anticipated because Oracle is aggressive about protecting its patents. It also suggests that any other company that is using this stuff without a license is likely to get a call from Larry's lawyers."   
  • Google Leaders Were Deeply Involved With Java, notes Tom Krazit at CNET: "Google CEO Eric Schmidt led the team that developed Java at Sun prior to becoming CEO of Novell, and later Google in 2001. Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of operations and a Google Fellow, also played a significant role in Java's development in the 1990s, and apparently other Sun engineers have joined Google in the intervening years."
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