Oracle is fighting Google in Appeals court over Java use in Android, having lost its initial case

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison is not known for verbal restraint and he was certainly spitting fiery criticism of his tech industry rivals during a Tuesday morning interview with CBS Corp. (CBS) television host Charlie Rose.

I. Larry vs. Larry

In addition inferring that Apple, Inc. (AAPL) was headed downhill now that late CEO Steve Jobs is gone, he was quick to lash out at another top rival, Google Inc. (GOOG).  

Asked by Mr. Rose on his feelings about Google he commented, "We just think they took our stuff, and that was wrong.  I think what they did was absolutely evil."

The comment is a pretty pointed jab Google's CEO Larry Page.  It plays on the trademark Google motto "don't be evil" which Google's critics have at times questioned.

Sun cup
Oracle is in a court battle with Google over Java [Image Source: igorschwarzmann/Flickr]

Typically, Mr. Ellison's past attacks on rivals -- such as rival server maker Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) -- were underpinned by a key competitive struggle.  The Google jabs were no exception.  Google and Oracle remained locked in a key ongoing court battle, which is currently at the appeals court level.

II. Oracle is Bitter After Google Court Loss, Dreams of Comeback

When Oracle obtained Sun Microsystems back in 2010 for $7.4B USD, Mr. Ellison had looked to quickly capitalize on his acquisition's intellectual property, filing a lawsuit again Google, makers of the world's top mobile operating system, Android.

Android makes heavy use of Java, a quasi-open source hardware-agnostic applications environment that was developed by Sun.  Oracle contended that Google did not properly obtain a "full license" to use the technology commercially and had copied Sun's source files.

Android doll
A jury in May 2012 found Google's Android not guilty of major infringement of Oracle IP.
[Image Source: ZuperDZigh]

Google called this claim bunk, digging up posts by Sun's former CEO Jonathan Schwartz who gave Android apparent verbal permission to use Java and wrote enthusiastically about Google's adoption of the platform.  Oracle had tried to purge this post from the web, but was not savvy enough to outsmart Google, the king of internet search.

In the pair's court battle Google had reportedly offered a settlement of roughly 0.65 percent of Android's ongoing profits, plus $2.8M USD in damages, but saw that settlement rejected by Oracle, who took the case to a trial by jury, hoping to score $1B USD or more in damages.

Larry Ellison
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is hoping for a win against Google in its appeal of the decision.
[Image Source: Getty Images]

But in a May 2012 ruling, the jury rejected most of Oracle's arguments, find Google not guilty of most of the accused infringements, while only finding it guilty on a couple of counts.  More importantly, they were deadlocked on whether the minor infringements they felt Oracle did prove would fall under the scope of "fair use" and hence not be eligible for damages/licensing.

Oracle declined to fight at the federal court level (the case was tried before the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern District of California in San Francisco, Calif.), instead opting for a swift appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In addition to his criticism of Apple, and downright derision of Google, Mr. Ellison defended the U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) data collection programs, which have "accidentally" targeted millions of American citizens.  He said in the interview that the programs were "absolutely necessary" and that he saw no harm in the government spying on U.S. citizens as long as the ruling regime did not use that information to crack down on its political rivals.

NSA Unchained
Mr. Ellison is "cool" with NSA spying on U.S. citizens. [Image Source: ACLU]

Of course Mr. Ellison might be a little biased -- Oracle is a top contractor for the U.S. defense and intelligence agencies hauling in billions in contracts a year.  One of Oracle's first contracts after its 1977 founding was an effort to build a database for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.  Oracle is among the companies rumored to be a recipient of NSA cash for the storage and analysis of its harvested warrantless spying data.

Source: CBS

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