Oracle Asks To Extend Case Covering Android Dominance

Oracle launched a lawsuit against Google in October 2010 because Android, Google's emerging mobile operating system, contained parts of Java technology, which Google had not licensed from Oracle. By way of a back story, Java is a computer language originally developed by Sun Microsystems starting in 1991. The Java system contains the language, virtual machine and system libraries for use with the machine. Android was originally started in 2003 and was quickly acquired by Google; when Android was released as a beta in November 2007 it contained a number of Java technologies but critically, not the Java run time, as Google uses its own proprietary run time. At the time, Sun Microsystem's Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Schwartz, said this about Google's use of Java technology: [Google had] "strapped another set of rockets to the community's momentum — and to the vision defining opportunity across our (and other) planets." At the time, Sun is reported to have negotiated for a possible partnership and licensing deal with Google but no agreement was reached. And this did not seem to matter until Oracle bought Sun in early 2010. Oracle and Google continued their Java talks but no licensing deal was struck and later that year, Oracle sued Google because of their unlicensed use of several Java copyrights.

When Oracle filed their lawsuit in October 2010, the latest version of Android available was 2.2 FroYo (Frozen Yoghurt); Google released Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the accompanying Samsung made Nexus S in December that year. Since then, Android has evolved in leaps and bounds and Google has fought the Oracle case for almost five years. In 2010, Android was still a relatively new platform to the world but was rapidly gathering strength, maturity and momentum. Earlier this year, Google were ordered to pay Oracle approximately one billion dollars for using Java technology. Now, however, Oracle has asked a US judge for permission to update its copyright lawsuit against Google to take into account Android's market share, as the world leader in the mobile device operating system market. This move suggests that the litigation is far from over: Oracle's claim is that Google has continued its copyright infringement through updated versions of Android, which is harming Oracle and benefiting Google. Oracle wrote to the judge: "The record of the first trial does not reflect any of these developments in the market, including Google's dramatically enhanced market position in search engine advertising and the overall financial results from its continuing and expanded infringement."

Google has long maintained that it should be able to use the Java technologies without paying a fee, but it seems that Mountain View's battle with Oracle is not over yet. The original case took over four years to conclude; let us hope that today's announcement does not extend matters another four years.

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About the Author
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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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