CEOs of Oracle, Google square off in court over Java

Los Angeles Times


A lawyer defending Google told jurors that Oracle explored taking on Google in the smartphone market but decided to sue its would-be rival instead."They want to share Android's profits without having done a thing to bring that about," Robert Van Nest said.Page began his testimony later in the day. He's expected to resume his testimony Wednesday.

UC Berkeley law professor Robert Merges said Oracle is looking to cut itself into the lucrative smartphone market with the Java technology that Sun Microsystems created in the mid-1990s to write programs that work on different operating systems and devices.

"People have been whispering for years that Google has built a great business on other people's technology," Merges said. "But Larry Ellison doesn't beat around the bush. He has never minded stepping onto center stage."

Google says it devoted hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of engineering hours to Android, and that former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz will testify that he supported Google's use of Java. His testimony will bring to the surface an underlying tension in Silicon Valley between brainy programmers who build the technology and the deal-making executives who want to profit from it.

"Sun was a fairly altruistic company in their views about intellectual property assertion and ownership," Merges said. "Some people will see it as a sad day that the Java system built by people who wanted to have it used very widely and weren't thinking about monetizing it has now become a big fat corporate asset." 4/17/2012