Daniel Eran Dilger at the intersection of Technology & the Liberal Arts
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How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once

Daniel Eran Dilger

Another major war is exploding in the tech world, but alliances have shifted in interesting enough ways to ensure that this will be one of the most fascinating events ever to hit the technology world.
At issue is Oracle’s patent lawsuit against Google’s Android. Unless you look closely, this might sound like either a run of the mill patent shakedown or just an infringement case where Google will have to pay lots of money.

It’s far more interesting than that.

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain

Think of Apple’s recent skirmishes with Adobe or HTC: media wonks always like to personify the company as the corporate representation of Steve Jobs, turning every engineering decision or intellectual property issue into simply a flippant or arrogant grudge maintained by the biggest personality in the tech world.

Well we can do the same here, because Oracle’s Larry Ellison isn’t just more eccentric than Jobs (Ellison lives as a fantasy samurai in a medieval Japanese villa; Jobs just wears a turtleneck), he’s also Jobs’ long term friend, neighbor and business associate. Since the 1990s, Jobs has frequently referred to Ellison as his “best friend” and “idol,” while Ellison has been a long term enemy to Apple’s arch-rival Microsoft, acting as one of the few CEOs with the balls to testify against the company at its Monopoly trial.

On the surface, one could make the case that Oracle is stepping in to partner with Apple in striking down the Microsoft-like advances of Google’s broadly licensed Android monoculture. However, Google isn’t actually aligned with Microsoft, and is instead helping Apple kill off Windows Mobile and the Windows/Internet Explorer monopoly, confusing the direction of knee jerks by Windows Enthusiasts following the case.

Major developer turns attention to Google’s Android

Not an open and shut case

In addition to being outside the convenient definition of a Microsoft vs non-Microsoft war, Oracle vs Google also fails to fit into the customary pattern of Open vs Closed.

Recall that when Adobe flipped out on Apple for not holding up the release of iPad to wait for the still non-functional mobile version of Flash, it was portrayed by the ignorant media as a clear cut case of the “closed” Apple stifling innovation by not embracing the “open” Flash, even though Adobe’s proprietary Flash isn’t open at all.

All of the clever but dishonest rhetoric filed in support of Flash did manage to blind the tech-liberal fringe into vociferously opposing Apple’s plans to promote web standards in place of a proprietary web plugin however. It appears the same bunch are being deluded into thinking that Google is the open side of this new conflict, and that Oracle is the big, old and closed company they should vilify in their blog comment advocacy.

In reality, Oracle is a major proponent of open software, pushing Linux and taking a stand against the notion of software patents themselves. Yes, that’s right, the company filing the year’s biggest software patent infringement case is also a major critic of the idea of software patents in general. When somebody points a gun at you, you point one back even if you don’t like the idea of guns. You might even shoot first.

Oracle likes Linux so much that it funds Btrfs, a GPL licensed, futuristic and advanced new file system that supports pooling, snapshots, checksums, and other features that sound a lot like Sun’s ZFS, which Oracle now also owns. The difference is that Oracle didn’t mire Btrfs in legal quandary the way Sun did with ZFS before Oracle bought them.

That fact not only highlights that Oracle is just as “open source friendly” as Google, but that it’s also more responsible in developing open source software in such a way that it doesn’t recklessly expose itself to being sued the way Sun did, or the way Google did.

Adobe’s Flash monopoly game against Apple
Groklaw – The Oracle-Google Mess

How Google shot itself in the face

Speaking of Sun and Google, the matter at issue with Oracle is that Google took Sun’s Java and modified it to the point where it thought it wouldn’t have to pay Sun to license Java within Android.

Google could have taken the open version of Java released under the GPL and done just this, but it didn’t. Instead, it developed its own code to make a Java clone that wasn’t really Java, and therefore neither bound by Sun’s commercial licensing nor the terms of GPL-Java. The problem is that Oracle is claiming that Google’s Java clone infringes upon Sun intellectual property, which Oracle now owns.

Oracle’s purchase of Sun was likely done in part to get the Java intellectual property that could be used by Oracle to stab Google in the face. And yes, Oracle isn’t just after money, it’s after blood. In its complaint, Oracle does’t just demand monetary infringement damages, it’s seeking to have any code that is found to infringe upon Oracle’s copyrights “impounded and destroyed.”

How Oracle is shooting Google in the face

That’s going to result in a dark cloud over the already dismal climate of the Android software platform. Sure, users are buying Android phones now in the US on Verizon, but that’s largely because there are no other phones for Verizon to sell. There are no popular Symbian CDMA phones, Windows Mobile has fallen into a black hole waiting for Microsoft to resurrect its platform as “Windows Phone 7,” Palm has been taken inside HP where it will likely die under the non-direction of its missing chief executive, and RIM’s BlackBerry is growing long in the tooth. What on earth is Verizon supposed to be selling?

Once the iPhone and other platforms reach Verizon over the next six months, Android’s sales will scale back down domestically, and all the platform will have to recommend itself is a lot of adware, malware, copyright violations and fraudware pushed underhanded developers looking to bilk an audience in a market with no curator. On top of all this, it will also have a top software maker seeking to eviscerate its core development platform, necessitating a significant reworking of what Android even is. Who wants to invest in development for that? Especially if all your work is just going to be pirated by all the Android freetards.

People freak out about the “threat” Apple is exposed to when somebody claims a name it may use (like iTV – anyone else think Apple might instead call it the “iPod TV” instead, duh?), but imagine if Microsoft suddenly claimed that Apple had stolen the entire kernel from Windows to make Mac OS X and that it wanted the company to write a new one going forward. That would be a more significant problem than a name argument. Well that’s exactly what Oracle is demanding here: Google, hand over Android’s brain and start over writing a new one. And good luck with that.

Inside Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone OS as software markets

But Google doesn’t ever make mistakes!

The likelihood of Android code infringing upon Oracle’s acquired Sun intellectual property is rather high, given that Google’s current CEO Eric Schmidt led the team that developed Java at Sun before arriving at Google in 2001, and that Google hired up plenty of Sun engineers. How exactly did these people manage to ‘clean room’ Android?

Oh, you might naively say, but wouldn’t a company like Google do all sorts of due diligence to prevent even the appearance of infringement? Seriously? We’re talking about the company that bought On2 and rushed its MPEG-4 aping VP8 into a “new” alternative WebM codec over the course of just a few months, assuring everyone that the ISO patent pool covering every stitch of the state of the art in video compression and delivery wouldn’t’ be an issue at all. The same company that cloned the iPhone without much regard to Apple’s patents, enabling the iPhone maker to immediately launch a lawsuit involving at least 20 patents at Android maker HTC.

Google doesn’t even have any experience in creating software platforms, having only ever launched a series of web apps and services that are supported by its single revenue machine: paid search, an idea that it appropriated from Overture! Recall that, in a “this all happened before” kind of way, Yahoo bought Overture and then used its new aggrieved subsidiary to demand 2.7 million shares of Google to license the rights to paid search. Google is nothing but a series of infringements snowballed together.

Why Does Microsoft Really Want Yahoo?

Anyone who thinks Google looks before it leaps has forgotten that Google only ever leaps, buying up regular new companies on a schedule rather than with a strategy, and blowing out one failed project after another (Answers, Base, Buzz, Catalogs, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Knol, Lively, Notebook, Orkut, Sidewiki, the Nexus One, Google Video, Wave, ad naseum). Google acts like a white trash family who won the world’s largest lottery, which is why it behaves just like Microsoft. Some companies actually early their revenues in a competitive marketplace, and have for generations of technology, like say, Apple.

Google I/O 2010 takes on Apple with PlaysForSure strategies

The software patent war to end all wars

If Oracle is successful in its bid to “impound and destroy” the heart of Google’s Android, it might result in more than just a massive upheaval of the smartphone industry and a congratulatory high fiving between Jobs and Ellison. It might also result in a concerted effort by Google to join Oracle and other tech giants to decommission the nuclear threat of software patent proliferation in the future.

That would have even a bigger impact on the tech world going forward. Without the squabble over Google’s Dalvik flavor of Java inside Android, there likely wouldn’t ever be enough at stake to devote sufficient political will and financial capital to ending software patents.

Back in 1994, Oracle testified at a United States Patent and Trademark Office hearing on software patents:

“Oracle Corporation opposes the patentability of software. The Company believes that existing copyright law and available trade secret protections, as opposed to patent law, are better suited to protecting computer software developments.

”Patent law provides to inventors an exclusive right to new technology in return for publication of the technology. This is not appropriate for industries such as software development in which innovations occur rapidly, can be made without a substantial capital investment, and tend to be creative combinations of previously-known techniques.

“Even if patent law were appropriate for protection of software, due to the large volume of recently-granted software patents and the rising number of new applications, the current patent process would continue to be troublesome for the software industry. Software patent examinations are hindered by the limited capability of searching prior art, by the turnover rate among examiners in the Patent and Trademark Office, and by the confusion surrounding novelty and innovation in the software arena. The problem is exacerbated by varying international patent laws, which both raise the cost and confuse the issue of patent protection.

”Unfortunately, as a defensive strategy, Oracle has been forced to protect itself by selectively applying for patents which will present the best opportunities for cross-licensing between Oracle and other companies who may allege patent infringement.“

The company went on to outline what the USPTO could do to improve upon software patents even if it did not follow Oracle’s advice in ending software patents entirely. These suggestions included ”vastly improving“ prior art capabilities of PTO records ”to confirm effectively the novelty and non-obviousness of software patents,“ speeding up the patent review process so that the patents are not in wide use or obsolete by the time they are granted, ensuring examiners are skilled in computer science and software programing, and setting standards of novelty and non-obviousness governing new patent applications.

None of those recommendations seem to have been implemented by the USPTO in the 16 years since.

1994 Oracle Testimony on Software Patents

I’m going on a trip through Europe next month. Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, San Sebastian, and Barcelona for two weeks, then Prague and a few other places after that through the end of September. Any suggestions?


1 daveynb { 08.14.10 at 3:36 pm }

“…Any suggestions?”
Yes, be careful!
And keep in touch!

2 Pooter { 08.14.10 at 4:02 pm }

If you’re into wine, I recommend stopping off in Northeastern Italy (Friuli Venezia Giulia) region — some of the best wines in Italy that don’t get exported much, a climate very much like Seattle between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps. Venice might be a bit dodgy, that’s best done in non-peak tourist months, but Vienna should be on your way too if you’re taking the train to Prague. Let me know if you want me to hook you up with any computer-savvy Italians around the Udine region (a couple hours north of Venice, on the train route to Vienna/Prague).

3 Mike { 08.14.10 at 4:45 pm }

Jesus, you make it sound like a conspiracy theory. I’m not quite sure what the motive of Oracle would be to destroy Android, nor have you given one. Sure, I can believe that they (Google) have infringed on Oracle’s copyrights and software patents. I can even believe that Oracle could potentially kill off Android with this suit. But to say that Oracle is not after just the money is probably BS, unless you give me more than hand-waving to justify why. And the other beneficiary of killing off Android would actually be Windows Phone 7, ironically enough. Since phone manufacturers aren’t likely to have the expertise to compete with Apple and write their own sophisticated OS in a couple years, who else would they partner with? Symbian? Clearly not, that’s on it’s way down. There just aren’t any choices left for those manufacturers, they’ll partner with Android and Windows Phone 7, even if it’s to their detriment in the long run (because Microsoft has expressed the intent to lower hardware profits to the bare minimum just as on the PC).

Frankly, lots of people will continue to buy other phones simply because they’re CHEAPER and available on other carriers. But obviously one of those reasons will disappear over time with or without the help of Oracle, so I can’t see how this has a direct impact on Apple. More likely it has an impact on Microsoft, because that means Android is one less effective competitor to compete against its OS for attention with phone manufacturers.

The software patent thing is unlikely to change… it hasn’t changed when Microsoft sued Linux (and lost with the SCO debacle), so if a major event like that doesn’t change the system, I doubt this one will. Of course, the future is unknown, so it could, but there are definitely reasons to think that it most likely won’t be reformed.

4 ShabbaRanks { 08.14.10 at 4:51 pm }

Not read the article yet, will do soon. Just wanted to say that I’m glad you’re back.
Heal hand… heal!

5 stormj { 08.14.10 at 6:19 pm }

This article is a great catharsis for me after months of reading Apple bashing and Google triumphalism. You so totally nailed it: like a white trash family that won the lottery.

Though you really should consider writing your blog on a Wave.

6 db { 08.14.10 at 6:30 pm }

San Sebastian has the best food of Spain, two beaches and WAVES. They can be really high. Lots of surfers. Beach for Surfing is Gros. La Concha is great for the kids. It is more protected. Old town with it their TAPAS is world famous. Best vine.
Like Sahbba said: Heal hand, heal.

7 danieleran { 08.14.10 at 6:33 pm }

@Mike: a conspiracy theory is a complicated explanation involving many parties acting in concert. Not sure what gave you that impression, perhaps you just pulled out a boilerplate DED complaint from the AI files.

The rest of the world is using Symbian. The US is using Android because it’s available an convenient. Getting embroiled in a lawsuit will certainly impact that.

The SCO lawsuit wasn’t related to patents, it was entirely copyright. Same with the Apple look and feel lawsuits. This is a major patent case used offensively. It is new.

Oh and be nice dude. I don’t want my comments section turning mean and rude like AI. Let’s keep it smart and classy. Thanks

8 Mark Hernandez { 08.14.10 at 7:53 pm }

Hey everyone, if you haven’t clicked on the Groklaw link and read that page, please don’t pass it up!

Daniel’s posts always try to pound in our heads that most people’s view of what is happening in our industry is viewed far too simplistically. The people in the tech blogs constantly oversimplify, yet think they’re explaining to us what’s really going on.

The geek on the street hasn’t a clue as to what the tech giants really know about and deal with behind the scenes. Daniel always seems to show us that the world is much more involved than we perceive it to be, and geeks are often the worst when it comes to understanding and discussing complex issues.

9 Mark Hernandez { 08.14.10 at 7:59 pm }

There are parallels here to what is happening with the gay marriage issue in California. Whenever lawyers or a legislature deals with a gay rights issue, they always rule in favor of gay rights because they are able to deal with the complexity of the arguments. But in ALL 31 of the states that put gay marriage to a public vote, the populace voted against it. The parallel here is related to the complexity of the issue, and taking advantage of those who cannot deal with the least bit of complexity and react out of irrational fear.

Likewise, we are about to watch all the geeks and tech pundits get it wrong. All the chickens in the hen house are about to start going crazy and think the sky is falling, which is probably what is hoped for by a certain industry giant. :-)

10 dchu220 { 08.14.10 at 8:01 pm }

Hope your hand gets better soon. I’m sure a lot of us were wondering whynthere weren’t any updates.

11 sprockkets { 08.14.10 at 9:01 pm }

“Some companies actually early their revenues in a competitive marketplace, and have for generations of technology, like say, Apple.”

earn instead of early?

12 bft { 08.14.10 at 9:21 pm }

“Google acts like a white trash family who won the world’s largest lottery, which is why it behaves just like Microsoft.”

Love it. Nice to see that the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson lives on!

13 dperez82 { 08.14.10 at 9:48 pm }

If you are going to be in Barcelona, you have to see La Sagrada Familia. The architecture is amazing – http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/

14 Tomas Kolar { 08.14.10 at 9:55 pm }

Hm, I didn’t think about this affair in that way “…to decommission the nuclear threat of software patent proliferation in the future.”. Intriguing idea in any case.

About the suggestions – what are you intrested in Prague, I can give you some tips. You can also visit Český Krumlov on the way from Vienna to Prague, it’s small medieval city. If you are interested in nature, there is a basin full of ponds near Č.K. called Třeboňsko – really nice area.

15 brew57 { 08.14.10 at 10:21 pm }

I know Larry may want to help out a friend, but looking out for it’s business interests, wouldn’t Oracle be more likely after trying to extract royalties and thus participate in Android’s success? I am sure Android hardware vendors, given alternatives, would gladly pay, say $10 per device? That would mean a few billions down the road for Oracle. They are much more likely after the $$ then anything else.

16 NickAttwood { 08.15.10 at 12:15 am }

If you are going to Barcelona, you should take a trip to Girona, an hour north…magical.

17 bartuch { 08.15.10 at 1:14 am }

Any suggestions? Well, being in Prague, you should take a look at Cracow or Wroclaw, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland. I think you can get there by local airlines very fast.

18 vlcn500 { 08.15.10 at 2:21 am }

Glad to have another article! Registered with “any suggestions…”, of course I do. Marry me damn it!

19 dchu220 { 08.15.10 at 3:33 am }

It’s also about competition for Oracle’s Java ME (the mobile version of Java). In a way, Android is creating a fork in their Java platform and taking away revenue from companies who would normally license that platform. It is Oracle’s best interest to keep their platform congruent as well.

20 Corrado { 08.15.10 at 3:57 am }

Hello Dan,
Regarding your travels: Italy is great in September. Wonderful food and even better wine. DO NOT ride a motorbike, in fact just don’t drive anything and remember that pedestrians are just a moving target, but it is a great place.
I just want you to know that your writing is keeping me not only informed, but sane also. I learn a lot.
Cheers and enjoy your vacation.

21 Gutscheine { 08.15.10 at 4:08 am }

it was a pleasure to read this post. You are one of the few informed people that don’t follow mindlessly the media’s FUD. It’s really a shame to see that so many people who should know better think Google are the “good” guys.

22 Ludor { 08.15.10 at 5:10 am }

With my narrow, simple view on the world, I’d say there’s only a slim chance of war between Oracle and Google – and we do dream of disruption, don’t we? Aren’t matters like these mostly settled by compromise that somehow permits business as usual? But it’s an intriguing thought, admittedly.

You’d also wonder, if Oracle were to break Android’s back, if Microsoft would be able to get back into the mobile game at all with Windows Phone 7. (As Daniel has often said, they’re not really good at selling to consumers. But maybe they’re getting better?)

Also Daniel, I realized recently that you occasionally employ horror movie metaphors in your analysis. Let me say that it works excellently.

23 Geoduck { 08.15.10 at 5:28 am }

Your European trip I’d suggest staying south. You might think about Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, the list goes on and on. While you’re in the area a swing through Greece, The Parthanon, Delphai, Olympia, maybe Crete. It’s warm, the people are friendly.

24 synopsi { 08.15.10 at 5:42 am }

@daniel: we’ll very happy if you’ll come to visit us to Bratislava (Slovakia) near Vienna. You can contact me at my email, i can suggest you an hotel and introduce you to a IT community here.

25 === popurls.com === popular today { 08.15.10 at 6:28 am }

=== popurls.com === popular today…

yeah! this story has entered the popular today section on popurls.com…

26 jkb { 08.15.10 at 6:57 am }

Madrid sucks, but there are many day-trips you can take from there: Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia. Segovia has a long-ass aqueduct in the middle of town and a cool castle.



Don’t forget to order the roast piglet.

27 RNKLN { 08.15.10 at 7:14 am }

@sprockkets: Probably Daniel wrote it on his iPhone with autocorrect on.

There’s a lot of interesting cities in Europe (i’m from Amsterdam myself, aka Sodom and Gomorra). Daniel has made a good choice. I visited San Sebastian a long time ago, and i still remember the beautiful beach.

28 primerib { 08.15.10 at 10:13 am }

Daniel welcome back! Nice to hear from you on your own blog again, and hope you heal soon. As for Europe, Barcelona is my favorite city in Spain, but if you want something cool but different, check out the Baleares islands (specifically Ibiza and Mallorca.) The scene in Ibiza should still be pretty good that time of year, and Mallorca is a calm, beautiful, and relaxing place. (Also there’s a city there called Inca which is known for its leather factories, and the prices are dirt-cheap compared to what we pay in the U.S.) While you’re in Barcelona, if you get the chance head over to a restaurant called “Moncho’s Barcelona”, at 44-46 Travessera de Gràcia. They give you a ton of really good food at an unbelievable price. (I have to say it’s been several years since I’ve been there, but the prices should still be low.)

I’ve always called Europe my home away from home, but I’m currently doing a stint in Asia, and hearing all the great European travel suggestions from your readers is making me “home-sick…”

Hope you have a great time!

29 Geoduck { 08.15.10 at 10:24 am }

One more suggestion:
I found Brussels quite uninteresting but it is is in the middle of everything. We took day trips to Cologne, Brugge, Delft, Waterloo, Bastogne and such. Not sure what the deal with Brussels itself is but when the biggest tourist attraction is a statue of a kid taking a leak it’s not a good start.

30 ssge { 08.15.10 at 10:52 am }

The end of all patents will mean that Android can ship as is, no?

I suppose it would work like that in Upside Down Land, where cause and effect are reversed. – Dan

31 radumas { 08.15.10 at 11:52 am }

My first impression of this suit is that Larry is doing Steve a favor.

It’s more likely that since Oracle has a bag of assets from the Sun purchase that it needs to protect. The tried and true method of protecting assets is to threaten nuclear war on anyone encroaching on your territory in full expectation that there will be a payoff and a licensing arrangement that validates the owner’s rights.

Oracle doesn’t gain anything by killing Android, but does by threatening to kill it.

[Oracle certainly gains from killing Android. Oracle now owns Sun's Java ME, the mobile platform Android supplanted. - Dan]

32 trenebulax { 08.15.10 at 12:09 pm }

Hi Dan,

I live in Gent, Belgium. Quite close to Brussels/Brugge/Paris/Amsterdam/Koln etc. Don’t spend too much time in the south. The north has a lot to offer. Copenhagen, Stockholm, Moscow, Oslo,London,Berlin,etc . Try to read up on some history of Europe (unless you knowledge on that subject is already at acceptable level). It will make your trip a lot more valuable. It all depends on your interests of course…

Great article btw.



33 radumas { 08.15.10 at 2:19 pm }

[Oracle certainly gains from killing Android. Oracle now owns Sun's Java ME, the mobile platform Android supplanted. - Dan]

au contraire: a dead subject pays no tribute. Better outcomes for Oracle are for Google to acknowledge Oracle owns the software and pays tribute OR Google switches to the real Java and pays tribute.

The “pays tribute” is part of the outcome Oracle needs. Another part involves Schmidt admitting he’s Larry’s beyatch.

34 ericgen { 08.15.10 at 4:33 pm }


Actually, I believe that Dan’s point is that Oracle does actually benefit from killing Android. If all of the Android handset makers no longer have Android to use (and, if Oracle wins, they will also all have large liabilities owed to Oracle), then the handset makers’ simplest path might be to license Java ME from Oracle. Oracle could also make this much sweeter for them by ‘forgiving’ some or all of their accumulated liabilities from having used Android, pending, of course, a large continual purchase agreement for Java ME.

Google’s unlikely to license Java ME from Oracle and then give it away free to the handset makers. But, the handset makers will still need an operating system and they’ll have to buy it from someone. And, if Oracle wins, Google will end up paying for each and every copy of Android that they’ve been boasting as having been activated.

Oracle would get an immediate large sum from Google just for all past usage of its IP. And, it would get a continuing revenue stream from all of the Android handset makers for their use of Java ME. If Oracle wins, Google loses big time and the handset makers go back to having to make regular payments for the OS.

It’s still a big ‘if’ for Oracle to win, but there’s clearly incentive for them to try.

35 navalopera { 08.15.10 at 4:35 pm }

Good article! Worth the wait. Write again soon!
In Paris, check out the little-known technology-freak’s heaven: Musée des Arts et Métiers.


36 Caccia { 08.15.10 at 5:06 pm }

if you’re into seafood, don’t miss the Paradeta restaurant in Barcelona. Also, you definitely need to try the local paella, my advice is to order one at Salamanca.
Here’s a map link, they’re both in areas worth visiting.

37 radumas { 08.15.10 at 5:43 pm }

the scenario you depict is an example of what I describe. After Larry has had his way, Android will continue to exist, the Android phones continue to exist, and Oracle has inserted a tube into the blood flow of that platform to suck money out without completely killing the host.

A protracted suit will benefit Apple in creating FUD around Android, and drive people to iPhone.

38 donarb { 08.15.10 at 6:19 pm }

There’s another part of this story not mentioned. Microsoft sued HTC over their Android phones and has licensed technology to HTC. The figure is reported to be $10-$15 per phone. If Oracle prevails, maybe HTC could license Java for less than what they’re paying Microsoft.

39 wolfy_ { 08.15.10 at 7:31 pm }

Yes, in Lisbon go to Bairro Alto at Friday night or Saturday night. The good stuff starts after de mid night

40 ericgen { 08.15.10 at 7:37 pm }


I’m not sure Android would still exist if Oracle wins. Why would Google be willing to pay Oracle a license fee for every Android license and then give it away for free? Are the ads they sell going to make up for paying for each license?

If Google isn’t subsidizing the OS cost for the handset makers, why wouldn’t they just go ahead and license Java ME?

Right now the handset makers are getting Android for ‘free’. Yet, it may turn out to be a very expensive ‘free’. Why wouldn’t they go ahead and cut their exposure by licensing Java ME? Particularly if they have to, or believe that they’re going to have to, pay for Android.

41 earneson { 08.15.10 at 8:29 pm }

For cultural activities, I’d suggest:
Paris: Palace of Versailles, Sainte-Chapelle
Madrid: Palacio Real, Museo del Prado, Royal Tapestry Factory, El Escorial
Barcelona: Montjuïc Castle

Food: menu del dia at lunch time

In over 40 days in various places in western Europe, the only 2 times I observed/encountered pick-pockets were the metros in Madrid and Barcelona.

42 vlcn500 { 08.15.10 at 9:24 pm }

One quick question… let’s say Android is stopped. Will the chinese products using it continue to flood the market regardless?

43 jaypres { 08.15.10 at 10:42 pm }

After all the dust settle, Google will be back to a search company again.

44 Mike { 08.15.10 at 11:13 pm }

Daniel, I love your articles, so much so that I actually probably am one of the few that donate yearly. I just don’t see how it impacts Oracle to sue Google, besides monetarily. And no, I didn’t pull any sort of complaint from AI, I simply thought so because you said that Oracle was going for blood. I’m simply asking why you think that.

But I agree completely that Google will be affected hugely by this suit, regardless of how it plays out.

45 Mike { 08.15.10 at 11:18 pm }

Well that and it sounded like a conspiracy theory because you said Oracle’s CEO and Steve Jobs were very good friends and then there was this quote:
“If Oracle is successful in its bid to “impound and destroy” the heart of Google’s Android, it might result in more than just a massive upheaval of the smartphone industry and a congratulatory high fiving between Jobs and Ellison.”

Maybe I need a bit of a history lesson here?

46 WaltFrench { 08.15.10 at 11:45 pm }

“And yes, Oracle isn’t just after money, it’s after blood.”

As a shareholder of Oracle, I’d be pretty upset if I thought you had a shred of evidence to support what you are saying.

Oracle just spent about $7 billion to buy Sun, much of it for its patent portfolio. No CEO would be so deranged as to believe that he could get away with spending shareholder money to go on a scorched-earth campaign that has the risk of utterly destroying its reputation and client goodwill.

Oracle may want just to share in Android’s success; $10 per copy sounds a bit rich because that would drive everybody to WinPhone7, which will have a similar price point. That wouldn’t be terribly profitable for Oracle, who could have a 8- or 9-figure legal bill for this. Or, they might think that their JavaME business, which has had something like a $700 million/year falloff, would come back if they simply drove Android out of business; that’d be more foolish than I’d imagine, too.

Frankly, I’m having a problem seeing an outcome that’d be worth the certain cost, alienation of their large open-source business customers, and risk of failure. There must be something more, but I don’t think the pound of flesh is it.

47 Mark Hernandez { 08.16.10 at 4:17 am }

No one has mentioned how many years this legal engagement is going to take, and if it takes years, a lot can happen in that amount of time.

48 Mark Hernandez { 08.16.10 at 4:21 am }

I think most people agree that the Android platform will eventually “outnumber” the iPhone platform, if it hasn’t already. There are many different metrics, e.g. activations per day, apps in the app store, handsets sold, etc. And it gets complicated because Apple will have to “change the conversation” from quantity to quality somehow. But the fact remains that the common person, the “customer” will likely never be reprogrammed away from their conditioned response that “he who has the most must be better.”

49 gctwnl { 08.16.10 at 7:39 am }

“Google is nothing but a series of infringements snowballed together.” – funny.

“one failed project after another (Answers, Base, Buzz, Catalogs, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Knol, Lively, Notebook, Orkut, Sidewiki, the Nexus One, Google Video, Wave, ad naseum).” – very funny. By the way, it is “ad nauseam”

Wrt suggestions: come have a beer in The Netherlands (close to Aachen, Germany, the old capital of Charlemagne), feel free to stay a few nights and hike in the very nice countryside we have here.

Near Barcelona: Figueiras has the Dali Museum (he was born there). In Paris: go to Ile St-Louis, there is a fine Alsacian cafe/restaurant there where they have a very good Alsacian ‘choucroute’ (Sauerkraut), but that last only if you’re not vegetarian.

50 ChuckO { 08.16.10 at 7:48 am }

Mark Hernandez 47,
A few problems with your arguments as they are very popular when people discuss iPhone/Android:
1. Those Android sales are across multiple vendors (Motorola,HTC,etc.) so the profits are spread out as opposed to Apple and iOS where iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, etc. sales all help
support each other which is especially important with Apple’s love of owning as much of the platform as it can will have serious repercussions for Android makers over time as they will have less profits to reinvest in competing against Apple’s innovations.
2. Smart phones will probably be much less “sticky” than the iPod meaning people will be more likely to switch platforms over time. This is probably more true for Android than iPhone as iPhone is the most likely to be a “sticky” smartphone platform for the same reasons people have stuck with the iPod.

51 ircmaxell { 08.16.10 at 8:09 am }

Ok, first off I think you’re off base on a lot of these points.

Before I go into that, I want to correct one misconception in the comment threads. JME is not an operating system, it’s a runtime environment. So manufacturers just couldn’t “license JME instead of Android”, they’d need to build an OS on top of the licensed JME… And that’s no small feat…

[So is Android an OS, or is it "just" Dalvik on top of Linux? What about Danger, which is a modified Java ME on top of a custom kernel? Or BlackBerry OS, which is just Java ME on top of some custom kernel? And what about JavaME on top of Symbian? What is your point, that Android's Dalvik can't be replaced with a legitimate JVM, or that it takes some work? And who are you refuting? When you step into comments saying people "are off base," you inherit some necessity to say things that make sense. The fact that modifying Android to be properly licensed by Oracle is "no small feat" is exactly the point. It wouldn't really be today's Android anymore, just another JVM+Linux. - Dan ]

Oracle is not a major proponent of open software. It has killed Open Solaris. It tried to kill MySQL when it purchased InnoDB in 2005 (and since then very little development progressed for that engine). Heck, the vast majority of its “open source projects” are directly related to the usage of its commercial products, and are only open-source due to derivative works licensing issues (Such as the PHP connector for OCI).

[The vast majority of all open source projects within any commercial entities are directly related to the usage of commercial products. That doesn't mean that Apple and Google aren't proponents of open source, so why do you say the same of Oracle? When exactly did Google begin open sourcing its own core value engines? It hasn't, and never will. Companies only ever open source their crap and the things they can't make any money from directly (see QTSS and WebKit as examples at Apple), unless they are ideological pinheads like the leadership of the former, failed Sun. ]

Your rational that the only reason Android is selling so well is that it’s the only smart-phone on Verizon is flawed as well. Android is the #2 selling smart phone in the US. Are you trying to say that the #2 (and not THAT far behind #1) product is only because “something better isn’t available”? I’m sure that it has something to do with it, but I’d put money that Android will still be in the lead if the iPhone comes to Verizon (At least in the long term)…

[What is flawed exactly? The only market where Android is leading is one where there is a technical barrier preventing 3 out of 4 major carriers from selling the iPhone. People who can't or won't switch to AT&T are not choosing against the iPhone, they're unable to choose the iPhone. Android offers no real cost/value advantages in smartphones (certainly none that are visible, given subsidies) and has done nothing to take market share in tablets and media players, where Apple has a wide lead. That's for Apple to lose, but Android isn't going to take over because of Fate.]

I think this is less about Oracle looking to go out and destroy Android than it is about Oracle looking to go out and destroy Dalvik. If they do that, they can set the stage to go after every single third party implementation of the core and demand huge royalties (And there are quite a few implementations, by some very large companies). Android is just the first target. They are trying to set a precedent for future attacks. Heck, Dalvik even uses a completely different architecture from the Sun JVM…

[And how well would the whole Android thing work out if Dalvik is destroyed or replaced? That's the point, obviously.]

One other thing you have to realize is that none of the patents that Oracle is suing over have anything specific to Java. In fact, most of those patents deal with pretty generic programming methodology… I’d bet that there are a lot of “infringing” projects out there (I can think of a few off the top of my head, backed by some of the largest fortune 500 companies).

[How does that matter in regard to the suit against Google? All that matters is where the gun is pointed, not who else the gun could be pointed at. After splattering some blood, the industry may begin looking at software patents as an undesirable thing, an idea I expressed in the TITLE and then expanded upon in the ARTICLE. But thanks for pointing out that I "have to realize" this. Maybe you should try being less knee-jerk argumentative and just express your opinions rather than trying to suggest I don't understand what I wrote. Comes across as very annoying.]

Statements like “The same company that cloned the iPhone without much regard to Apple’s patents” really show the true colors of your post. That statement is horribly wrong on multiple levels. First Android is not a “clone” of the iPhone. In fact, about the only 2 things that could be considered clones are the fact that it’s a phone, and the fact that it uses installable apps. Just about everything else is different. Not to mention that Android was in development before the iPhone was even announced (So how could it be a clone short of espionage).

[Wrong: Android prior to the iPhone was a clone of Windows Mobile/Palm/BlackBerry. Once the iPhone shipped, it suddenly became a touch-oriented device that aped the iPhone down to the last detail, from form factors to business models. The only thing Android didn't copy was Apple's attention to security, esthetics, and platform sustainability. Saying that Android was in progress before the iPhone is laughable, because Android is just Danger 2.0. It's a SideKick morphed into an iPhone clone, with all the morphing taking place right after the iPhone was unveiled. ]

And as for those patents, most of them are not related to the iPhone at all, but generic programming constructs and hardware related systems. And if –as you say– Google infringed so bad, why did Apple sue HTC? Why wouldn’t they sue the infringing party (Google)? Oh, and nearly 3 years after the launch of Android is “immediately”?

[Apple sued HTC because that's where the money is in handsets. Suing Google wouldn't make any sense for Apple because Apple sells phones, not software. Oracle sells Java VM. Don't make me lay the rest of this all out for you. And no, HTC didn't ship any significant number of Android phones three years ago. They only started selling any meaningful number of phones last winter.]

You have some semblance of a decent idea in the post. But then you litter it with so much blatantly wrong information and personal opinion that it completely destroys any point that you might have been able to make.

[Next time I say something wrong, feel free to point it out, but you haven't done so yet, so hold on to your hubris until you can.]

Make no mistake about it, Oracle is trying to shut down the competition for the Java market. That’s it. Whether Google did anything wrong or not is besides the point (Don’t get me wrong, if they did something wrong, they deserve to pay)… The point of the matter is that Oracle sees threats to its future in the alternative JVM implementations, and is targeting the most popularly used one (And the most publicized one) for takeout. That’s all this boils down to…

[If you infringe someone's IP and get caught, you're not "competition being shut down," you're a wrong being righted.

Also, copy and pasting in Google fanboy FUD about Oracle threatening "alternative JVM implementations" is rather silly, as there are lots of alternatives (BlackBerry, Danger, GPL-JVM) that are not illegitimate that Oracle isn't seeking to "shut down" because it has no power to sue them for IP infringement they did not commit. - Dan]

52 sven.iv { 08.16.10 at 10:28 am }

By all means Croatia.
In a nutshell, it is Italy minus the crowd.
And way more affordably priced.

Enjoy the summer, wherever you end up!

53 OlsonBW { 08.16.10 at 12:39 pm }

How about Ephesus in Turkey or Dobrovniak in Croatia.

The latter is a pretty walled city on the Agean sea.

The former was in competition in size and wealth with Alexandria when the latter had the largest library in the world and the former had the second largest library.

Alexandria controlled the papyrus trade and cut off Ephesus so the latter couldn’t grow a bigger library than them. I’m told that Ephesus looked around and found a semi-new technology that hadn’t become popular yet called paper, made from pounding linen rags into pulp. They used that to write more scrolls. They never exceeded Alexandria and the only reason I know about is from the Bible. It’s all ruins but it is really cool.

54 gslusher { 08.16.10 at 4:25 pm }


“Your rational that the only reason Android is selling so well is that it’s the only smart-phone on Verizon is flawed as well.”

Answer one question: how well are Android phones selling on ATT, the only carrier in the US where Android phones (and Blackberries) actually compete with the iPhone?

55 WaltFrench { 08.16.10 at 9:14 pm }

@gslusher/54 said, “…how well are Android phones selling … where Android phones (and Blackberries) actually compete with the iPhone?”

A good question but the insight would necessarily be flawed by our not knowing what exclusivity rights Apple sought in exchange for AT&T’s demand of their exclusivity. AT&T continues to promote BlackBerry and we’ve seen reports of a promo for the upcoming WinPhone7, but these could be with Apple’s acceptance of their not being competitors. A handful of Androids for sale by AT&T without their being able to push them hard would actually make Apple look better, and they conceivably (only!) could have made the call.

A releated question is in markets where the iPhone is on multiple carriers, as much (most?) of Europe. How’s the horse race going there?

56 Maniac { 08.17.10 at 2:49 am }

@ Mark Hernandez – ‘But the fact remains that the common person, the “customer” will likely never be reprogrammed away from their conditioned response that “he who has the most must be better.”’

I think Apple has already “reprogrammed” consumers. And if consumers are looking for “he who has he most,” AT&T (and soon Verizon) can just point to the 250K apps in the App Store and the 5 billion+ apps downloaded.

57 SkyTree { 08.17.10 at 6:25 am }

Good to hear from you again, Dan. Hope you mend quickly.

I’m not sure yet if this “Oracle sues Google” is just another skirmish in a patent minefield or a massive game-changer, but I do value Dan’s viewpoint above many others in his ability to put this all in context.

Clearly, this case is not black versus white when there are 4 major players involved, so it is bound to get the regular commentards confused. Even so, “ircmaxell” was not as ill-informed or insulting as many, but I did enjoy the way Dan launched into him.

One day, I plan to write a phoney comment to try to get Dan to respond in similar fashion. It will take a lot of study and practice. One thing I think I have learned so far is the following methodology:

1. start by claiming that the author of the post does not know what he is talking about;
2. continue by claiming that most of the people posting comments do not know what they are talking about;
3. follow up with an off-topic and extravagant rant about how the subject of the post lost all credibility about 5 years ago;
4. go on at length, interspersing technical jargon with misguided views of the world. Mix in further attacks against the author and his readers, with some faint praise for the author that is damned in the same sentence;
5. conclude with a single paragraph that contains not only one overly simplified view of how this is really only a battle between one black and one white, but also another overly simplified view of how this is really only a battle between one white and one black. Ensure this paragraph also includes an insulting comment about the author.

Got that Dan? Next time you receive a comment like this, it could just be me, pretending in order to “wind you up”.

Or it could be from a REAL idiot!

58 Mr. Reeee { 08.17.10 at 1:03 pm }

Another good article.

Check out Istanbul. Fantastic!!!

Bulgaria is very cool. Sofia, the Rhodopi Mountains, Sozopol on the southern Black Sea coast. All great. The best food is in Bansko and the skiing isn’t bad when there’s snow.

59 ericgen { 08.17.10 at 3:58 pm }

Hi Dan,

This is a slightly off-topic comment, but there’s a good analysis of the smartphone industry over at asymco (http://www.asymco.com/2010/08/17/androids-pursuit-of-the-biggest-losers/) with some particularly astute observations with regard to Apple and Android.

I also thought you might enjoy one of the comments:

“Jon T, AUGUST 17, 2010 at 10:54 AM
Incredible reading, thank you.

Between Asymco and RoughlyDrafted I have all I need to remove the opaque nonsense one reads most everywhere else.

Android has it’s -highly vocal- followers, but then they are the same cheerleaders as we have had to put up with over the years of Linux… Hardly a ringing endorsement.

App development issues, fragmentation issues, and patents issues will all make the losers alliance not become the next Windows.”

60 berult { 08.17.10 at 6:04 pm }

Google’s trump card, perhaps their sole ace in the deck, is their political clout. Their corporate culture is indistinguishable from the contemporary political culture, not only in the USA but in the world at large.

They may sell their products short but they never sell themselves short. They get away with murdering consistency with flip-flops and contextual plagiarism with ruthless abandon worthy of the great political gamesmanship.

It would be a terrible mistake to judge their contribution to the marketplace solely on the basis of the comparative end products. Don’t ever forget that in a Droid hide all the stealth ingredients that have made many a corporation develop perpetually renewable licences to slowly and profitably poison the well for generations.

Coca-Cola, Exxon, Microsoft, need I say more, take consumers deep into LaLaLand with hardly ever a sigh from the fourth and the fifth Estates, and never a plight for cease and desist from consumerism galore.

Don’t fool yourself, there is ample room for more dead weight in our waste rewarding Economy! And Apple can only kill the Googles of this world with systemic consumer kindness, and so they do…

61 philip wong { 08.17.10 at 10:48 pm }

Larry Ellison is applying the tactics as he well schooled in the ‘The Art of War’ – the treatise on battle tactics written by the sixth-century BC Chinese general Sun Tzu. For evidence of that just look at Oracle’s acquisitions over the past few years such as Sun.

Google is starting to find itself invading everyone else”s territory as it seeks to adapt it’s business model to cope with the rapidly changing tech world of business (think Android, Google Apps, Google Voice, music and video, etc, and the list goes on).

If successful with his lawsuit, Larry would have caused a major speed bump to Google’s fast carriage and if in the process gives his buddy Steve additional fire power, why not. Anything else, would be incidental but one thing that’s clear is that it will be a matter of time before Google will start to rear its head and caused serious turbulence in Oracle’s own expanding ‘core’ business.

62 ChuckO { 08.18.10 at 9:21 am }

berult 60, interesting but difficult to fully follow do to terseness.

ircmaxell 51,
“You have some semblance of a decent idea in the post. But then you litter it with so much blatantly wrong information and personal opinion that it completely destroys any point that you might have been able to make. ”

Yikes, if not personal opinion then what? You seemed to have taken this article way to personally.

63 Frag { 08.18.10 at 10:25 am }

Based on this article I seriously doubt Oracle wants to kill Android. Oracle bought Sun mainly for Java (crown jewel) why would they want to kill the fastest growing operating system that is based on using Java?

[Because Android is not at all "based on Java" in any sort of way that could benefit Oracle or add value to its Java ME platform. Clearly. - Dan]


64 mordocai { 08.18.10 at 2:26 pm }

Well, I’m not knowledgable about the industry (though I’m working on becoming knowledgable), but all I have to say is that you are right in this comment:

“The only thing Android didn’t copy was Apple’s attention to security, esthetics, and platform sustainability.”

Though I almost always have issue with people using words such as “only”. Similar to “never” and “forever” in my mind, they are just too absolute. In any case, I have a counter statement that means basically the same thing:

The only thing Android didn’t copy was Apple’s attention to controlling what people can do on their phones, valuing form over function, and making sure that users are locked into using Apple products.

[Thing is you're absolutely wrong. Google controls what vendors and users can do with its "with Google" apps; Android phone makers control what users can do (and when they get OS updates, usually months after they're ready) and Android service providers control what users can do, what non-removable software is loaded, and so on. Your giddy fantasy that "Android=open" is delusional and tiresome.

Google has done little to change the smartphone industry, and vendors and service providers are doing the same thing with Android that they previously did with WiMo, Symbian and Linux. Which is make flashy phones that don't have much good software you can load, are inconsistent, and don't work with computers (poor desktop sync, bad media integration, no business model supporting development). Google's main add is to push ads, which is only making Android software lower quality and fraught with malware risks. You can enjoy the communist paradise, but don't be unrealistic about advocating it. - Dan ]

Look it over, I believe it really ends up saying the same thing as your statement. I have nothing against people who value the so-called “walled garden” approach, but I prefer the freedom to do whatever I want.

[But you don't have that with Android, because you're still under the will of the same service providers and hardware makers and their dictates and desires.]

I’m an adult, I can take responsibility for my own actions. I don’t require Apple holding my hand. I even used windows for years and very very rarely had a virus problem(i’m sure I had one at some point, but I can’t recall a specific incident). I now use Linux, because I prefer the freedom(the price is a plus as well).

[That's fine, but when you pretend there's no malware problem for Windows, and no lack of commercial or useful software for Linux, it just makes you look like a blind ideologue. ]

Unfortuanately, most of the populace get viruses because they really do need someone holding their hand. Apple products are perfect for them. As for me, while I don’t agree with anywhere near all of Google’s(or any other corporation’s) actions, i’m rooting for Android. It is the most open mainstream option currently available. Though, abolishing software patents might be worth sacrificing Android.

[The only thing really open about android is its core OS, which does little to benefit users who can't upgrade it anyway. The "with Google" apps are not open, and neither are the phone maker skins (like MotoBlur) nor the bundleware that Verizon puts on. And think, if the platform is so "open," why is that that only Verizon Android owners can install the Skype app? ]

65 ChuckO { 08.18.10 at 4:02 pm }

I’ll guarantee there’s one thing Oracle expects from doing this: to protect it’s IP. Anybody with any experience in the world would know expecting anything else is madness because the laws of unintended consequences rule and so even when you get what you want you never know where outcomes will lead.

66 berult { 08.18.10 at 4:04 pm }

“Unfortuanately, most of the populace get viruses because they really do need someone holding their hand. Apple products are perfect for them. As for me, while I don’t agree with anywhere near all of Google’s(or any other corporation’s) actions, i’m rooting for Android. It is the most open mainstream option currently available. Though, abolishing software patents might be worth sacrificing Android.”
mordocai-08.18.10 at 2:26 pm

Dumb phones are on the way out. Numb phones make it less of of a stressful transition to smartphones.
I command Google for their altruistic take on evolutionary human network communication.

67 amsterdammed { 08.19.10 at 12:59 am }

Good article. This is going to be a very interesting case.

If you are going to be in Paris why not go to Amsterdam for a few days as its now only 2 & 1/2 hours by train.The weather is usually very nice in September and the cultural season has started with lots of things to see and do.

Check out some cool spots and live life like a local, link to our Amsterdam blog below.


68 secondbassman { 08.20.10 at 7:18 pm }

Enjoy your trip, Dan, and stay alert for any rogue Google agents that might be after you…

69 costello { 08.21.10 at 12:07 pm }

See ya in Belgrade?

70 brew57 { 08.21.10 at 8:42 pm }

The main gist of the article as expresses in it’s title (…Oracle might kill…Android…) just doesn’t make sense to me. Oracle will be much better off extracting royalties from the Android’s proven succes as common sense would suggest. A simple licensing royalty (ongoing or via a one-time buyout) and a Google’s promise to bring davlik into j2me compatibility over time will do. If Oracle’s lawsuit has merits, that’s how I’d bet this will end.

71 Dorotea { 08.22.10 at 4:09 pm }

If Oracle should win the lawsuit against Google, who would be liable for paying royalties after the lawsuit? Hardware makers or Google? Either way Android becomes much less desirable as it now has a real cost.

Btw, Google isn’t altruistic.. It just has a much different model for making money than other companies.

72 ChuckO { 08.22.10 at 5:05 pm }

Never mind the reaction to the idea of iTV how about the reaction to the Android pads? Engadget’s frothing at the mouth over those. How different than the reaction to the iPad. The iPad was underwhelming? How underwhelming will the aPad’s be? I bet you won’t see the same sort of negativity.

73 berult { 08.23.10 at 4:28 pm }

Que la Ville-Lumière baigne d’une folie toute Parisienne la sagesse érudite et éclairée de mon ‘friand de pommes’ préféré.

Bon voyage et à bientôt!

74 jmmx { 08.24.10 at 1:45 pm }

Watch out for the credit card thieves. No – no those trying to steal your card – the card companies that tack on 2-4% for international transactions. Talking about a sales tax!!

I think that Capital One is the only one that does NOT charge a transaction fee for international purchases.

Barcelona is very cool place – but do be careful of the pick-pockets, etc.

You should swing by Hungary’s Tokaj wine region if you want something *really* different! (Not too far from Prague)

But if you want world’s best beer – just come here to Portland, OR – the microbrew capital of the world.


75 WSharp { 08.26.10 at 4:26 pm }

Sure, ….. Stay the hell off motorcycles!

76 unsurelok { 08.27.10 at 1:06 pm }

Madrid – If you ever wanted to party in a 16th century Palace with 16th century decor – http://www.palaciogaviria.com/ingles/default.htm

77 mercadder { 08.28.10 at 1:18 pm }

Daniel you are totally right, I wrote a post (in spanish) some weeks ago related to this issue.


78 unsurelok { 09.01.10 at 1:20 pm }

Hands down best guides to Spain -I have followed alot of these tips with great success and her dining evaluations are spot on -

79 schwabsauce { 09.10.10 at 3:11 am }

At first I also didn’t understand the argument for blood, but it becomes a lot more salient when you focus on the sections about Google’s bad behavior (and Oracle’s policy of responsibility).

If we assume for a second that Dan’s analysis is correct, then Google essentially got rich by stealing everything and getting away with it. Software patents are an expression of this lifestyle wherein the big guys can use the legal system to just beat smaller companies to death without any regard for anything. Oracle may or may not regard Google as a currently negative influence on the world, but their ascendence is a scary premonition of a business climate where obeying the law means dangerously little. I’m not saying that the government needs to regulate software; I’m just saying that it’s hard to do business when the government protecting you is highly unpredictable.

Perhaps Oracle has a lot at stake in terms of licensing Java for mobile platforms. Personally I think that if Apple brings the iPhone to more US providers, this licensing of Java may be a dubious revenue source (I know Java is a great platform but something about it is just never good enough!). But if they are able to strike doubt into the hearts of the government hacks who fail to acknowledge the preposterous issues with software patents, there are serious profits at stake.

Oracle is not a patent troll. They are a major company that does very well for themselves even though their product is amazingly expensive and not particularly bad in terms of lock-in (from what I know). They don’t need hand-outs and they know how to build a business around excellent execution of good ideas (a bit like Apple!). If they got the go-ahead to build systems without regard to the legal minefield, they could potentially bring any number of new revenue streams into existence.

Also, Google is famous enough that any company that can out-do their legendary legal team stands to gain a ton of global profile. It may or may not be relevant that Oracle’s products may be useful to the next generation of search/association/data delivery services that will eventually rival or replace Google.

I guess as you get older you realize that the market is not a free market; each decision helps some companies and hurts others. Maybe it’s okay to let companies run a little wild in the early going. Like in China, where their development policies are kind of frightening; but it kind of makes perfect sense when you think about how many people they are trying to help quickly. But, in a developed economy, as in a developed country, they way to help those massive numbers of people is to have a set of rules that everyone can live with AND live by. It’s a complicated and elusive ideal, but I hope that Oracle can find more sympathetic ears in their effort to point out that even Google makes mistakes.

80 mavanay { 10.15.10 at 8:47 am }

Hello Dan,

I have been following this blog since a couple of months now. It’s good to see that there is someone who writes differently than most tech bloggers and who has an inner eye, of knowledge and perspective both.

It’s also good to see someone writing things that somewhat go, kinda, in favor of Apple when there are very few of them actually risking to sound pro-Apple, maybe because then their credibility will be questioned and they will be labeled a ‘fanboy’.

But I wonder about one thing. How come there are very few comments from people disagreeing with you? And there is also one remarkable thing that there are hardly any ‘rants’ in your comments section. I saw you warn some commenter to be nice ‘coz you didn’t wanna see your comments section spoiled. If all people really take care of commenting responsibly here, it is amazing! Great..

I also wonder whether you’d have written things about Google that you’ve written here, when (or should I say, if) Google was still a close ally of Apple. Because until the fallout between them, I hadn’t really seen any bad press about Google, anywhere. Your blog, and elsewhere. And there was only praise for their innovative ‘ads’ business than complaints saying that they are trying to push this business or they are trying to ‘secure’ this business by doing ‘selfish’ decisions (like that on mobile and Android). Did these things about Google really come into light this recently?

I was even more amazed to see the Free s/w lover and a very aggressive commenter Mr. Mad Hatter too agreeing to your thoughts and comment calmly. As (I think) you don’t talk much about free s/w related things (at least here, I haven’t read much of your work on Apple Insider and elsewhere), I didn’t expect Mad Hatter to read this blog.

I faced his aggression when I tried to ask another blogger (in this post: http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2009/05/rms-and-his-magic-bread.html ) to explain me about monetary mechanisms of free s/w if it is not feasible for my product to earn through either selling support or through ads.

81 Why Apple can’t be too worried about Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets taking away iPad sales: Part 2 — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 02.08.11 at 1:39 pm }

[...] developer turns attention to Google’s Android How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once Microsoft’s Pink/Danger backup problem blamed on Roz [...]

82 nextguy { 05.31.12 at 8:50 pm }

Oracle is so open source friendly. That’s why the open source community left them and took open office with them!

“Once the iPhone and other platforms reach Verizon over the next six months, Android’s sales will scale back down domestically, and all the platform will have to recommend itself is a lot of adware, malware, copyright violations and fraudware pushed underhanded developers looking to bilk an audience in a market with no curator. On top of all this, it will also have a top software maker seeking to eviscerate its core development platform, necessitating a significant reworking of what Android even is. Who wants to invest in development for that? Especially if all your work is just going to be pirated by all the Android freetards.”

Oh no, Android is doomed!

“The likelihood of Android code infringing upon Oracle’s acquired Sun intellectual property is rather high, given that Google’s current CEO Eric Schmidt led the team that developed Java at Sun before arriving at Google in 2001, and that Google hired up plenty of Sun engineers. How exactly did these people manage to ‘clean room’ Android?”

You are right, they copied by accident 9 lines of code out of 15 million, and were already removed by the trial.

Damn they did manage to do just that! And avoid patent infringement as well by working around patents! Imagine that, Google didn’t infringe on java, and copied 0.0000000000000036% of java code! The shamelessness of it all!

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