During hours of unrelenting cross-examination today, Andy Rubin, Google’s former Android chief, was on the stand in the Oracle v. Google trial defending how he built the mobile OS.
Rubin’s testimony began yesterday. He’s another one of the star witnesses in this second courtroom showdown between the two software giants in which Oracle has said it will seek up to $9 billion in damages for Google’s use of certain Java APIs in the Android operating system. Since an appeals court decided that APIs can be copyrighted, Google’s only remaining defense in this case is that its use of those APIs constitutes “fair use.”
The “API’s are copyrightable”-ruling is one of those rulings we will look back on decades from now and point to as “that’s where it all went wrong”, much like how we now look back upon disastrous rulings like Citizens United or the slew of bad rulings that legitimised software patents.
And we have the despicable Oracle to thank for that. As I’ve pointed out before, it’s no coincidence that the three-pronged legal attack on Android – from Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle – all started at around the same time, and that Larry Ellison was a very close friend of Steve Jobs.
When all this stuff hits the fan even harder, you know who to thank.