In a court filing last night demanding an early trial date for the ongoing Google v. Oracle patent litigation, Oracle claims that Android is now irreparably harming Java's market share in the mobile, TV, and tablet space. Oracle says that these are areas where Java "has traditionally been strong." News to us.

Last time I checked, cheap multimedia flip phones running Opera Mobile weren't exactly high on Google's target product list for Android, but maybe I missed the memo on that one. Also, please direct me to these Java-powered TVs and tablets, Oracle - the Amazon Kindle is not a tablet, it's an eReader. And tru2way, Sun's attempt at Java-powered set top boxes, was dead long before Android came around. Not that Google TV is exactly taking off, either.

Oracle has taken to this tactic of claiming Android is now killing Java's "traditionally strong" market share in order to get to a jury more quickly, preferably on January 20th, with all the copyright, patent, and damages issues rolled into a single trial. Google is asking for a July trial date, and three separate trials (as suggested by the presiding judge) for the previously listed issues because of the degree of complexity and numerous sub-issues each claim presents. Whether a single jury could competently assess so many questions of fact and apply numerous laws to those facts is a difficult question. Patent trials are some of the most factually complex litigation out there, meaning jurors' heads will already be spinning. Obviously, even the judge has doubts in this area.

I'm not usually one to drag out the "don't innovate, litigate" banner, but Oracle is really asking for it when it starts claiming that Sun was forced to abandon plans for a mobile Java OS because Android became successful. So, what they're saying, then, is that a company (Google) made a product (Android) that Sun had not, and that because it might have been similar to the product Sun might have produced at some point, some horrible atrocity has been committed. Sorry guys, I'm having trouble piling quite that many inferences on top of one another.

Regardless of the merits of their patent claims against Google (some of which have been shown to be based on dubious patents that have failed or been substantially narrowed upon initial reexaminations by the USPTO), Oracle has cried just a little too hard and screamed "bloody murder" just a little too loud for me to take them very seriously at times. This trial seems to become more and more about Oracle's failed investment expectations in their purchase of Sun, and less about Google's alleged theft of intellectual property.

Oh, and by the way - one of Oracle's own press releases is sure to note that there's now over 9 million Java developers out there, more than ever before. 2.5 million of those have been added since Oracle sued Google, largely thanks to Android. Oracle, of course, claims that because Android is incompatible with mainline Java that these new developers aren't helping Java or Oracle at all, but their marketing department sure puts a different spin on that point.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • ereptor

    lol wtf. I really want to add a constructive comment, but I can't with all my power,sorry.

    • MicroNix

      I too tried a constructive comment but was not able to complete one constructive sentence. Unreal.

  • Bolski

    Shades of SCO vs. Linux. This is just getting ridiculous.

  • Ya ok

    Its funny how when ur small no one cares about you, but when your big everyone wants what u have!!!

  • Piotr

    On the last paragraph... if so many Java developers don't help Oracle, because they're using 'non mainline Java', why is Oracle using them in their press releases to point out how successful Java is?! Come on, they either are or are not Java developers...

    • jacob

      yeah... thanka fuad.

    • jacob

      yeah... thanks fuad.

  • http://buggin.me Phil

    Question is how would they be "stealing" it anyway? The only place you had to "pay" to use Java was on mobile if you wanted the mobile version. Everywhere else you simply download it and use it. The only other time you have to pay is when you build your own implementation and want the right to call it Java.

    I think Oracle is grasping at straws here because they now realize they can't get anything outside of publicity out of Java.
    If anything Google is attracting more people to Java. I work with a startup building an Android app and web platform and it helps make Java frameworks look attractive for everything...shared code...projects side by side in dev environment etc. Problem is Oracle thought they could somehow capitalize on that and they can't. They have been focused on enterprise Java like most every other Java vendor and have nothing in place to capitalize on the low end and startup scene. So now they want to take it out on Google IMO rather than build tools where they can sell support that cater to this market. If they stop Google Java will probably disappear from the modern smartphone scene altogether. I wouldn't be surprised if Google was working on Go for Android and they are already pushing Go as a web app language as well. Thats a marked difference from the systems programming language it was originally meant to be....hmmmm....

  • Calum

    Well, for one thing, every BluRay player has some Java in it ... It's part of the spec.

  • Thorn

    Yeah, I don't get the lawsuit. Even if they are getting beat in competition, why should Google have to pay them for gaining market share?

    That sounds more like a mafia/crime syndicate where you have to pay the boss if you want to open up shop. That's stupid.

    It sounds like if Sega tried to sue Nintendo or Sony for loss of market share, when Sega discontinued their hardware.

    Put up or shut up.

  • Chris Warner

    Utterly ridiculous. The whole patent system is a complete joke, really.

  • cosmic

    While Google might not be aiming at flip phones, smartphones are eating away at dumbphone marketshare. So I could see how they could argue that one. Smart TV's would likely run Java apps although I can't say they had a "strong hold" in that market. Tablets? You've got me there.
    Either way its not the market share they're worried about and just more lawyer tactics. The longer until the court date the longer defense lawyers have to work on prior art and other defenses, and the longer the USPTO have to examine the patents in claim and determine if they should be tossed out.

  • Chris

    I've been working in mobile for over 5 years, and remember when games and apps were developed almost exclusively for J2ME (Java Mobile). Sun tried to push a higher end version of Java (CDC as opposed to CLDC) but Sun didn't provide their own implementations (from my understanding) and 3rd parties (like Myriad - formerly Esmertec, who's now part of Android's Open Handset Alliance) created and sold these Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) to cell phone manufacturers, while paying licensing fees to Sun. The difference Google made was they really did rip off the Java specifications for developers to use and gave away the underlying OS to manufacturers for free, which is obviously more enticing - sort of like free apps from hobbyists that do almost the same thing as pay apps, which I feel hurt professional developers in the market.

    The way Google got around paying is in the beginning they were clear to say that their source was "similar" to the standard Java specifications (JSRs), and then convert everyone's code down to run on a Dalvic VM instead of a standard JVM. In fact, Java is more just a nice way for developers to make apps, but you can write Android apps using other languages, as long as they too compile down to run on a Dalvic VM. Now, maybe it's legal due to the license Sun put forth for the Java specifications, but Google certainly did blatantly take the Java specifications built on years of hard work on the part of Sun and many others in the mobile industry, and it has all but killed off Java Mobile, the former worldwide leader for running mobile apps. Clearly Google has put more into furthering Java as a mobile application development language in the last 3 years than Sun (now Oracle) ever did, but the question is did they have a right to use it in the first place. Without it they likely would have had very little, if any success convincing anyone to develop for their OS, so does Oracle deserve compensation for building the foundation for Android?

    • http://geeksid.blogspot.com/ O’poel

      I don't think so, it kind of similar with unix vs linux or mac/ios.

      well beside java, the foundation of android is from linux, but not like oracle, linux developer just state that they don't want to involve with the the development of kernel of android anymore, and now as we see android no more part of linux. but with the involvement of intel in android and now android support x86 machine I think android will soon merge again with linux.

  • tebowtime

    Wow this a horrible article. You have never seen a set top box using java? You guys pretend to be a tech website but you have never seen a device that uses java? seriously?

    android police please do your tech homework before going into your fanboy rants

    you guys seriously think this is about apps?
    some fun facts

    you probably do not know about the devices that run java because its not a selling factor, its a behind the scenes type deal

    again horrible post

  • http://www.jucktion.com Niroj

    it seems that the Oracle wants some of Android popularity. And since they werent able to create anything good with java,the best thing todo was to sue google for reasons im still unsure of.

  • http://www. Niroj

    it seemss that the Oracle wants some of Androids popularity. And since they werent able to create anything good with java,the best thing todo was to sue google for reasons im still unsure of.

  • Noirelion

    Java- didn't keep up. now java relevance minimal. oracle has nothing better to do- no new products or tech- so they sue.
    When your getting it handed to you in a tech war- you sue when you got nothing else.
    ...and pathetic.
    Google reigns supreme and Oracle- stagnant object of ridicule and derision- because of their own lack of innovation.
    Technology's like the Janet Jackson song "What have you done for me lately"... if you haven't done anything innovative and have nothing out there winning market share- winning hearts and minds- well your dried up old news and we are moving on with you in the dust..
    Strong survive weak fall by the wayside.. Hey Larry! You had a good run. But your day in the Sun is over- retire but don't go out kicking and screaming/whining like a spoiled baby..let us remember you as you were, man.

  • http://verb0ze.net verboze

    LOL, if anything, Oracle *should* be thanking Google for enabling successful use of java development in the mobile space! Sun was going to create a mobile platform it had to abandon? Really? It's called competition, Oracle, get with the program!