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.