We’re far from done with the Oracle v. Google lawsuit. The search giant has responded to the lawsuit, and Miguel De Icaza has provided a very interesting insight into the case. His report has been confirmed by James Gosling, known as the father of Java who left Sun right after the merger. Icaza speculates that the potential to monetise on Java by suing Google was pitched by Jonathan Schwartz during Sun’s sales talks with Oracle. Oh boy.
Google has provided TechCrunch with a statement regarding the lawsuit, and in it, Google makes it clear they’re going to fight with all they’ve got. “We are disappointed Oracle has chosen to attack both Google and the open-source Java community with this baseless lawsuit,” Google states, “The open-source Java community goes beyond any one corporation and works every day to make the web a better place. We will strongly defend open-source standards and will continue to work with the industry to develop the Android platform.”
A rather generic statement, but alas, it’s nice to know Google’s going on the offensive. A much more interesting story comes from Miguel De Icaza, who details the events leading up to today’s lawsuit – better yet, his story has been confirmed by James Gosling, the Father of Java who left Sun right after the completion of the merger – one of the many Java engineers to leave the company during that time.
According to De Icaza’s version of the story, the two companies could not reach an agreement over Java Micro Edition licensing. “There is very little public information on the Google/Sun split over Java ME and the creation of Dalvik,” De Icaza writes, “The rumors on the grapevine were that Google and Sun could not reach an agreement over the Java Micro Edition licensing. Sun wanted to sit in the middle between Google and the handset OEMs, while Google wanted to create a free-for-all operating system.”
This eventually led to the creation of the Dalvik virtual machine – which is explicitly incompatible with other Java virtual machines instructions. In a final insult to Sun, Google created a translator to recompile Java code into code Dalvik could work with. This didn’t sit well with Sun – they lost a major licensing deal, and to make matters worse, Google had made a competitor to Java ME. A double loss for Sun.
In late 2008, Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz was holding sales pitches for his company all around Silicon Valley, but due to the open sourcing of Java, its value had decreased rather sharply. James Gosling mentions on his blog that during negotiations with Oracle, there was a lot of interest in the Java/Google patent situation.
“Oracle finally filed a patent lawsuit against Google,” Gosling writes, “Not a big surprise. During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer’s eyes sparkle. Filing patent suits was never in Sun’s genetic code. Alas… I hope to avoid getting dragged into the fray: they only picked one of my patents (RE38,104) to sue over.”
So it appears that, as De Icaza points out, Schwartz’ spirited anti-patent lawsuit speech in relation to Apple suing HTC was nothing but hypocrisy. Schwartz lamented the practice of buying companies simply for their patents you can use to sue with – and yet if this is all true, that’s exactly the scenario that he was participating in at Sun. Liar, liar, your pants is on fire.