For those unaware, an extremely important court battle for Google began this week. While the overall outcome of the case will determine the eventual importance, it is likely to be a verdict that will matter to Google one way or the other. This is of course the battle over Android’s use of Java. As has been widely reported, this is an issue that has been on the cards for a long time and has already been to the courts once before, forcing this latest retrial. The issue being that Android made use of Java without having to pay for it. The latter aspect (paying) being the real crux as Oracle is now looking for their fair share (to the tune of $9 billion) while Google maintains the use of Java was free to use. Aspects both companies have been arguing today.
In fact, when it comes to Google’s reasoning, as well as drawing on the fact that Java was considered to be open and free material, it seems they have also made the point that the impact of Java on the Android that now exists, is minimal. According to the information coming in, Robert Van Nest, representing Google summed up this point by stating Java’s lines of code is equivalent to "less than one-tenth of one percent" of the overall coding that makes up Android. Elaborating on this point further, Van Nest did not seem to want the ‘true hard work’ that has made Android the operating system that is now is, attributed to Java’s input by noting that Android has become an aspect which stands for innovation and “was beyond anything any of us had ever seen before.” As Van Nest also stated, "Google engineers spent several years and hundreds of millions of dollars to create Android using Google know-how."
While this is an aspect which could be argued either way, what could be far more important is that during these early stages of the trial, Van Nest played to the jury a 2009 presentation in which Oracle Founder, Larry Ellison, could be seen commented on Android’s use of Java and how as a company they are "flattered". An aspect which Google is looking to use as confirmation that the use of Java was not only understood by Oracle, but welcomed. Further noting that the actual Java used by the Android team was one which was first and foremost built for desktops. Adding that it is Google’s intervention and implementation which changed it to become a workable element for smartphones. In short, not the content that Oracle is seeking money for, but an improved, almost different and consumed version of Java. It is likely that aspects like this will play a significant role in determining whether this was expected (at the time) to be something which was free to use or whether Google is liable to pay for the licensing of Java. Of course, as the case continues there will inevitably be much correspondence seen, video clips shown and anything else which either of the legal teams can find to justify their arguments.