Oracle and Google have been in an ongoing war in and out of court over Google’s use of Java for quite some time. Java, the most popular programming language in the world, powers the backend of Android. Even to this day, using the Android Software Development Kit requires installing Java on your computer. Most core parts of Java, however, has been freely available for development use since about 2008. The argument falls to the parts of Java that aren’t free, especially those contained in the Dalvik Virtual Machine, which had been Android’s core up until the introduction of the Android Run Time in Android 4.4 KitKat.
Dr. James Kearl, an expert hired to have a look at the case determined that Google could be on the hook for “no less than $8.8 billion”. In light of this, Google has filed a formal contest, viewable via the source link. Google asserts that the calculations have a large margin for error, mainly due to a face-value interpretation of an idea that Oracle had of how to figure the amount that Google may owe based on usage of the code within Android compared to the profit that Google received as a direct result of Android. They also said that many of the figures and ideas that Kearl came up with were based on facts not relevant to the case or based on flawed or inaccurate information.
While the figure is a bit lower than the previous $9.3 billion that Oracle sought, it is still more than sky-high enough to deal Google a serious blow, should Oracle win. The case will be headed to court in the near future, where a jury will get the final call on whether or not Google was in their rights to use the parts of Java incorporated into Android without paying. With Java being such a sweepingly popular language, a win for Oracle could set a precedent that could lead to a string of huge paydays for them, at the cost of most of the tech world. To date, no Java-based project has acquired quite the scale or profit of Android, though it likely wouldn’t be difficult to find similar cases where parts of Java not freely licensed were used and profited from without payment.