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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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Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/14/2013 3:32:27 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
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.


And you accuse others of being "evil"?

It looks like Obama used these databases to help sway the electorate, by having the IRS intimidate and silence political rivals.

So do you think what you did was evil now? You son of a bitch! Instead of flapping your gums about Apple, and creating fictional accusations against Google, why don't you look in the mirror. You sold out an entire country, how many people can say THAT?




RE: Ooops, too late
By drlumen on 8/14/2013 3:37:00 PM , Rating: 4
Exactly. Ellison has a lot of damn gall to accuse ANYONE else of evil.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Samus on 8/15/2013 1:24:19 AM , Rating: 4
Especially with Java being a gaping security hole in every OS that runs it. I don't blame Apple for discontinuing Java distribution/updates through OSX. Most people don't need it anyway, especially Mac users, as the world slowly moves away from it.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Ammohunt on 8/15/2013 10:10:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
as the world slowly moves away from it.


LOL! don't get out much do you? There doesn't exist a single replacement for java.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Luticus on 8/19/2013 1:16:16 PM , Rating: 2
Technically there is python which is similar in that it's a multi-platform interpreted language like java. It's use, especially outside of Linux isn't very big though, certainly not as big as java. Technically speaking though I don't see why python couldn't do what java does. Not that I'm trying to dis java or anything, I have not personal problem with java.


RE: Ooops, too late
By ShaolinSoccer on 8/15/2013 3:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
Human beings don't even know what the definition of 'evil' is anymore. Well, except maybe you and I. And some other people. You know, people like you and I. See where I am going here? Sad but true.


RE: Ooops, too late
By NellyFromMA on 8/15/2013 3:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
So, is Google evil or not?


RE: Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/15/2013 4:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
Follow: Join the Word of the Day Mailing List

e·vil (vl)
adj. e·vil·er, e·vil·est
1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked: an evil tyrant.
2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful: the evil effects of a poor diet.
3. Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous: evil omens.
4. Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous: an evil reputation.
5. Characterized by anger or spite; malicious: an evil temper.

I would say not.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Labotomizer on 8/15/2013 4:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
By that definition, you're right. I think the right question when it comes to business is Google ethical. That is a bit harder. Of course, Oracle is the same boat.

Granted, I don't expect a company to look out for my best interests. I think that's my job. I'm not sure when we all decided it was supposed to be up to companies.


RE: Ooops, too late
By flashback_rtk on 8/16/2013 9:47:28 AM , Rating: 2
Comments like yours make me realize the cyberpunk world we're heading to.

(Don't misunderstand me, there's nothing wrong with your comment)


RE: Ooops, too late
By Alexvrb on 8/16/2013 10:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
That's OK as long as I can get a good deal on some Wired Reflexes.


RE: Ooops, too late
By retrospooty on 8/14/2013 3:44:08 PM , Rating: 5
He lost the case against Google and is just lashing out. Way beyond sour grapes, but it couldn't be more obvious. No class at all... Really stupid comment about Apple too. "Doomed" LOL. You know I am no fan of Apple, but if you think a company with profits like that is "doomed" you are an idiot. They are at or very near record level profits for any company ever, year after year after year these days.


RE: Ooops, too late
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/14/2013 3:46:33 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
why don't you look in the mirror. You sold out an entire country, how many people can say THAT?
Very true.

Oracle donated $258,000+ USD to Obama during the 2012 campaign.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D00...

...while hedging its bets with an even bigger donation to Romney's "Restore Our Future" PAC.

And Oracle got its money (kick)back and then some, with $22B USD poured on it in 2012 and 2013 alone via publicly disclosed contracts:

http://www.governmentspending.us/contractors/oracl...

...one of which (the USAF database effort) delivered basically nothing and was shuttered. And that's not to mention potentially billions more in payments on classified NSA/FBI/CIA contracts.

No wonder Oracle supports the feds in spying... it's kinda hard to find that kind of ROI elsewhere!


RE: Ooops, too late
By retrospooty on 8/14/2013 3:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
And that there, is where all of our money goes. Govt paying companies ridiculous amounts of money from $150 hammers to $400 toilet seat covers to $22 billion dollar contracts for unconstitutional privacy intrusions that could probably have been done for $2 billion.

So frustrating... Hand me another donut.


RE: Ooops, too late
By SeeManRun on 8/14/2013 4:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't like Oracle is a terrible choice. If you need DB's, there isn't a lot going with Oracle doesn't give you. As a public company they would be foolish to not compete for the contract.

Not sure what all the hate is on Oracle. They are doing what they can for their shareholders. And is this program truly a product of the Obama administration, or is he just taking the blame because he didn't shut down what was already there?


RE: Ooops, too late
By retrospooty on 8/14/2013 5:22:35 PM , Rating: 4
" is this program truly a product of the Obama administration, or is he just taking the blame because he didn't shut down what was already there?"

He just didn't shut down what was already there. It's not an Obama thing, its a Washington thing, both the spying and the money.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: Ooops, too late
By SeeManRun on 8/14/2013 6:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me that expanding a program is not as bad as thinking up the program in the first place. Imagine he came into office, and they say "Look at this program we have Mr. President, it offers all this great stuff we can use and we have foiled some bad guys with it." It might be difficult to pull the plug.

While expanding it is not ideal, we have no idea how it was framed or how his vision of the data differed from those who set it up (if at all). Maybe he did give some directives about how it will be used and changed it, we don't know.

Just like the with the TSA, maybe the intent was "good", but the implementation and execution was bad. Hard to blame either president if that is the case.


RE: Ooops, too late
By nafhan on 8/15/2013 1:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like you're saying these things just happen and it's not really a big deal.

Trying to figure out who is worse is pointless. Their administrations are both to blame for the current situation. The major difference at this point is that GW has no power to change things, but Obama does.

In other words, pressing Obama on this is going to be a lot more useful than blaming anyone.


RE: Ooops, too late
By retrospooty on 8/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/15/2013 2:51:55 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
c rap , I wasn't even aware of that. I've been so disgusted by the whole thing I've been kinda not paying attention.I just feel sick thinking about it. I think we can officially declare that he is now worse than Jimmy Carter. Has to be one of the worst presidents ever. I'm so ashamed that I voted for him in a 2008


Downvoted for the truth lol.

Ah well, you can't stop the signal :)


RE: Ooops, too late
By CaedenV on 8/15/2013 2:58:54 PM , Rating: 1
Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no love for Obama, and I absolutely did not vote for him. However, do you really think that McCain would have been a good President? or Romney? Sure, they may have been 'better', but better is not the same thing as 'good'.

It is not like we have been presented with very good options from either side.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/15/2013 3:05:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
However, do you really think that McCain would have been a good President? or Romney?


Absolutely.

Only because Obama has set the bar at an all-time low. I cannot imagine there ever being a worst President, so naturally those two would have been "good".

quote:
It is not like we have been presented with very good options from either side.


So just be content with the worse option, is that what you're saying?


RE: Ooops, too late
By Piiman on 8/17/2013 3:17:26 PM , Rating: 2
"Only because Obama has set the bar at an all-time low. I cannot imagine there ever being a worst President, so naturally those two would have been "good"."

I guess you were in a coma during the Bush years?

When are all you haters going to catch on a realize both parties are in on "it"?


RE: Ooops, too late
By althaz on 8/14/2013 10:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
The NSA collected the data pre-Obama. This has been established, just FYI (Geroge W. Bush setup PRISM and is reportedly quite proud of it).


RE: Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/14/2013 11:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
Oh right, George Bush, of course. We all know that everything happening under Obama is really his fault...


RE: Ooops, too late
By Bonesdad on 8/14/2013 11:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
OK, just wanted to make sure you understood that.


RE: Ooops, too late
By bug77 on 8/15/2013 10:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why I read that and thought:

"But your honor, the victim was already stabbed, I just twisted the knife."


RE: Ooops, too late
By Piiman on 8/17/2013 3:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
Its more like

"Your honor that other guy stabbed him 4 times first but ahhh lets not talk about that"

They BOTH did it so quit acting like your favorite party is innocent.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Solandri on 8/14/2013 7:00:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And that there, is where all of our money goes. Govt paying companies ridiculous amounts of money from $150 hammers to $400 toilet seat covers

Having worked on DoD contracts, the $150 hammers I saw weren't due to corporate padding. They were because the dweeb in the government requesting these things didn't want just any old hammer. They wanted a hammer which was guaranteed to work without failing from -60 to 170 F, could survive 100,000 strikes with 50 pounds of force, whose wooden handle wouldn't separate after 1000 hours immersion in salt water, etc, etc. Oh, and he only wants 500 of them.

If you want just a hammer, I'll be happy to pick up some $10 hammers from Home Depot, and bill you an extra $2 for each of them. But if you're going to require me to guarantee all those things about the hammer, I'm going to assign some engineers to test a few dozen of them to make sure they all meet your specifications. Then I'll take $60,000 those tests and labor cost me, add $15,000 profit to it, divide it by the 500 hammers, and come up with a cost of $150 per hammer.

I'm sure some padding does go on. But the vast majority of wasteful spending I saw was due to the government official asking for ridiculous stuff because the money from the purse strings they controlled wasn't their money.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Reclaimer77 on 8/14/2013 7:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
Great post. Case in point, the F-35.

"Hey lets request a single fighter design that can fill the role of 5 different fighters, be stealthy, AND have VTOL capability!"


RE: Ooops, too late
By retrospooty on 8/14/2013 7:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure there's s.ome of that going on with the smaller items, but it happens with large scale contracts too. No accountability, they spend it like its free money that grows on trees. If you happen to accept a really high bid for a couple billion more than it's worth to a corporate friend or sponsor hey, no harm done right? Ugh... Disgusting


RE: Ooops, too late
By dgingerich on 8/15/2013 8:13:25 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, that happens on both sides, because they need to get money to get elected. They need to have more money than the other guy in order to get elected because most of the people in this country are too stupid to vote for someone on the issues, and just vote for the person they see on TV more often. Of the minority that don't vote that way, many are still massively influenced by being told things over and over by the media. That's why things like this happen in government: stupid people. It's not necessarily the fault of the politicians. they're just doing what they have to do in order to stay in office and get the work done.


RE: Ooops, too late
By retrospooty on 8/15/2013 11:40:17 AM , Rating: 2
I agree about the stupid people part and what it takes to get elected... But once elected, the money part is on hte elected official... Of course, we all know it goes on and they get away with it because too many people are stupid.

- “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ? George Carlin


RE: Ooops, too late
By drlumen on 8/15/2013 11:48:19 AM , Rating: 2
Very good point. While I can understand having some specifications set so they get a quality product, some of these are specs insane. Like they can't keep 1 or 2 spares of a $15 hammer around just in case... Plus, there is still no guarantee that the $150 hammer won't fail at some point.

I see this at the municipal level quite often. The city here is building art centers and schools and the like and are just throwing money away. While the architect doesn't care about construction costs and will throw something at a project because it looks cool, sometimes it is just a waste of money for an arbitrary set of aesthetics. The city really doesn't care as it is the taxpayers money being spent and they don't have any real motivation to research any type of cost cutting.


RE: Ooops, too late
By Jaybus on 8/15/2013 3:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
Been there and bought the t-shirt. The larger the company the more outrageous the bureaucracy, and the US government, since the fall of the USSR, is the largest bureaucracy on the planet. Most of the red tape is put in place by politicians "creating" jobs, if not entire departments. Go look up Wide Area Workflow and you will see that it is so complicated to get paid by the US government that companies too small to have dedicated departments for that purpose have to hire consulting agencies, literally just to fill in the forms. I am not joking.

So, while I'm sure you are right about the ridiculous specs, even if Home Depot sold the government the exact same hammer that they sell us for $10, they would have to charge at least $30 just to cover the cost of wading through the red tape.


RE: Ooops, too late
By half_duplex on 8/14/2013 4:39:38 PM , Rating: 3
It really is sad that these ass hats have Java.

If it wasn't for Java, they'd be toast. Their DB solutions are a joke.

This guy needs to go, or better yet, sell Java to someone who'll represent it well.


RE: Ooops, too late
By japlha on 8/15/2013 11:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
Try not to equate the actions of the executives with the actual products the company maintains.


RE: Ooops, too late
By nafhan on 8/15/2013 1:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
Their databases are pretty good.
Their support is OK.
Their pricing, OTOH, that's the joke!

There are some niche cases where you really need Oracle, but a lot of businesses would be just fine with something much less expensive (or free).


RE: Ooops, too late
By idiot77 on 8/14/2013 5:34:21 PM , Rating: 4
Hot off the pages of the Drudge Report. You really need to try harder.

Obama had nothing to do with the IRS. In fact, all political groups were looked at harder; just the R ones were looked at harder since they were caught in the past breaking the law. /cough Abramoff /cough

Obama made his own database. He didn't need the likely inferior one from the NSA.


RE: Ooops, too late
By KCjoker on 8/14/2013 8:19:56 PM , Rating: 1
You're full of it. Acorn ring a bell? Solyndra and all the other "green" companies that got kickbacks.


RE: Ooops, too late
By dgingerich on 8/14/2013 5:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
I know, Oracle is about the most evil company on the planet. For them to call Google evil is like Satan calling Neitszche evil.


RE: Ooops, too late
By dgingerich on 8/14/2013 6:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
I have a better comparison. Remember the "pot calling the kettle black" colloquialism? Well, this is more like "the used, dirty, 100 year old, cast iron cauldron calling the brand new, gray enameled teapot black."


RE: Ooops, too late
By tayb on 8/14/2013 7:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ad hominem.


RE: Ooops, too late
By villageidiotintern on 8/14/2013 7:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, look! A bird!


Hold Your Horses Larry
By ResStellarum on 8/15/2013 5:09:25 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
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."


Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Oracle receive Java when they bought Sun Microsystems? It was never "their stuff" to begin with. It was the work of another company completely. Ellison's talking like he nurtured it from nothing and someone came along and stole it. What a load of BS. And that's ignoring the fact that Sun consented to Google using Java.

Let's also not forget that Oracle is trying to copyright API's, yes those simple prototypes with variable names, types, and the names of functions. That's absolutely outrageous. It would create complete chaos, and hand massive power to companies like Microsoft, who incidentally, is backing Oracle over this issue in the court room; Microsoft would waste no time suing GNU/Linux and projects like WINE over API copyrights. Would you trust Microsoft not to sue other .NET implementations like Mono over API's when they are pushing so hard for them? That's why it's a bad idea to use Microsoft's languages.

It's obvious to anyone who looks at this, that Ellison is seeking a pay-day for doing nothing. There's a reason why he waited for Android to become successful before he attacked with his patent / copyright lawyers. Just like Microsoft. It's people like him who just suckle on the work of others, never creating anything original. He's not an innovator, he's a parasite whose own mediocre product wouldn't exist without government handouts.




RE: Hold Your Horses Larry
By Cheesew1z69 on 8/15/2013 6:23:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It was never "their stuff" to begin with. It was the work of another company completely. Ellison's talking like he nurtured it from nothing and someone came along and stole it.
Sounds like a little company we all know named Apple...


Backwards
By rs2 on 8/14/2013 9:06:41 PM , Rating: 3
Copyright, Copyleft, and absurdly restrictive IP licensing terms are the real evil here.

Any action that subverts these things, whether intentionally or otherwise, is necessarily good. I encourage Google to continue its good works.




By kenyee on 8/14/2013 4:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's the main reason Java is so important nowadays. If not, we'd all be writing apps in Javascript or C# by now. Java was being relegated to a server-side technology because Java on the desktop was a failure. Google used Java as their "API" but made the underlying engine more appropriate for mobile devices (J2ME was terrible because it was so castrated and had a crappier garbage collector).

And anyone who doesn't understand that the NSA violated the Bill of Rights doesn't deserve to have rights because they apparently didn't bother reading the BoR :-P




Whatever, sore loser.
By danjw1 on 8/14/2013 5:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
So they lost a laughable lawsuit (though still in appeal) against Google and now they have sour grapes.




court system
By ESC2000 on 8/16/2013 3:37:10 PM , Rating: 2
The author made a couple pretty basic mistakes here regarding the US court system. First, the US District Court of Northern California is part of the federal court system so if they filed there, they didn't decline to file in federal court. Second, barring unusual circumstances, if they had filed in state court, then they would appeal in the state system, not to a federal circuit court.




Missing the point
By spaced_ on 8/18/2013 5:51:26 PM , Rating: 1
I think many posters here are missing the point.

- Yes its ok for oracle to win government contracts.
- Yes its ok for oracle to charge stupid prices. If government are stupid enough to pay stupid prices oracle is not at fault.
- Yes Larry Ellison is an old tard with an 80's business model.
- Yes the world is moving on from these old business models. (Government excepted)
- Yes government is still heavily invested in old technology that oracle pioneered in the 70's or 80's (sorry larry i'm not that old)
- Yes Larry is jealous of apple and google.
- No Larry you haven't done anything inventive since the 80's.
- Yes Sun made some good shit after the 80's.
- Yes you bought Sun.
- No unfortunately buying Sun doesn't automatically allow you to sue google for a bil. You can't just make up your own rules and then have a cry when no one else gives a shit.
- If you do want to sue successfully. Go scalp some legal talent from Apple and have some dinners with whichever president is in power.
- Larry some sage advice, drop the old man ego, go retire and do something useful with your horde like Mr. Gates is doing.




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