Friday, 29 March 2019 06:35

Google's Java use kept Oracle out of mobile space: claim

Google's Java use kept Oracle out of mobile space: claim Pixabay

Database manufacturer Oracle Corporation has told the US Supreme Court that Google's appropriation of code from its Java programming language for use in the Android mobile operating systems undercut Oracle's chances of competing in this sector of the tech industry.

The company was responding to a submission made by Google in January, seeking to have a verdict issued in Oracle's favour in the copyright case between the two companies sent back for a judicial review. In that submission, Google claimed that its use of 37 Java application programming interfaces in Android constituted "fair use".

Oracle's submission on Wednesday US time was relatively brief, weighing in at 46 pages, against the 343-page Google submission. It said it had spent "years and years" writing a software platform that Google had then refused to license and copied into a competing platform "for the express purpose of capturing Oracle's fan base".

Java, Oracle explained, was meant to solve a common problem faced by programmers - having to port applications to different platforms. Instead, with Java, it was possible to write once and run anywhere. But Google had gone against this principle by making Android apps incompatible with Java.

It said the makers of small apps were granted a free licence by Oracle to use Java. "Oracle recoups its investment in the Java platform mainly by licensing it to (1) hardware manufacturers who copy the platform onto their devices (eg., PCs, phones, or tablets) to run the wide variety of apps from app programmers and (2) competing platform developers who want to use Oracle’s programs to commercialise their own platforms," its submission said.

Oracle claimed Google faced an existential threat in 2005. "People with mobile devices were not using Google’s search engine, causing Google to lose significant advertising revenue," it said.

"It [Google] needed to quickly develop a platform tailored to mobile devices that would promote Google search. Google believed success turned on attracting Java programmers to build apps for it."

But in licence talks, Google had rejected the condition that Oracle insisted on for all commercial licensees: to make Android compatible with Java and inter-operable with other Java programs.

"Instead, without any licence, Google copied thousands of lines of Oracle’s declaring code and the structure and organisation of the 37 API packages it considered 'key' to attracting Java mobile-app developers," Oracle claimed.

"Google also undermined 'write once, run anywhere' by deliberately making Android incompatible with the Java platform, meaning Android apps run only on Android devices and Java apps do not run on Android devices."

Oracle also pointed out that Google could have developed a competing platform for its mobile devices as Apple and Microsoft had done. "Google’s theory is that, having invested all those resources to create a program popular with platform developers and app programmers alike, Oracle should be required to let a competitor copy its code so that it can co-opt the fan base to create its own best-selling sequel," it said.

"That argument would never fly with any other copyrighted work. And as Google told the Court of Appeals, '[t]here is no reason to treat software differently'," it said, asking the court to deny Google's petition.

The case between the two software firms has been going on since 2010 when Oracle sued Google shortly after it acquired Sun Microsystems and became the owner of Java, claiming that the search engine company had violated its copyright and patents.

That case ended in 2012 with Google being largely the victor. The presiding judge, Justice William Alsup, ruled that APIs could not be copyrighted.

But an appeal gave Oracle what it wanted: a ruling that APIs could be copyrighted.

In a second trial that ended in May 2016, a jury found that Google's use of the Java APIs in Android was covered under fair use. As expected, Oracle was not happy with the verdict.

Oracle initiated an appeal in February 2017, having indicated after the May 2016 verdict that it would not take a backward step. Prior to that, Oracle tried to get the verdict set aside in August 2016, but was this was refused by Justice Alsup. Later the same year, the database giant filed the necessary papers to prolong the battle.

Finally, on 28 March 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that Google's use of the Java APIs was "not fair as a matter of law". Google had no option but to approach the Supreme Court to seek a review.

Thanks to The Register for a link to Oracle's submission.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

Now’s the Time for 400G Migration

The optical fibre community is anxiously awaiting the benefits that 400G capacity per wavelength will bring to existing and future fibre optic networks.

Nearly every business wants to leverage the latest in digital offerings to remain competitive in their respective markets and to provide support for fast and ever-increasing demands for data capacity. 400G is the answer.

Initial challenges are associated with supporting such project and upgrades to fulfil the promise of higher-capacity transport.

The foundation of optical networking infrastructure includes coherent optical transceivers and digital signal processing (DSP), mux/demux, ROADM, and optical amplifiers, all of which must be able to support 400G capacity.

With today’s proprietary power-hungry and high cost transceivers and DSP, how is migration to 400G networks going to be a viable option?

PacketLight's next-generation standardised solutions may be the answer. Click below to read the full article.


WEBINAR PROMOTION ON ITWIRE: It's all about webinars

These days our customers Advertising & Marketing campaigns are mainly focussed on webinars.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 2 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial.

This coupled with the new capabilities 5G brings opens up huge opportunities for both network operators and enterprise organisations.

We have a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you.


Sam Varghese

website statistics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News