Java Licensing Likely the Key Investigation Point

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-08-20 Print this article Print

One of the key areas of concern for the DOJ apparently was licensing of Sun's ubiquitous networking software, Java. If the deal closes, Oracle will own the lion's share of the world's Web-based networking software-in millions of endpoint devices and in thousands of data centers and smaller IT systems.

Java works as well in handheld devices as it does in king-size enterprise servers and storage arrays; its influence on worldwide software development is huge.

All of Oracle's middleware runs on Java. More than 90 percent of the world's cell phones and connected portable devices use Java networking software to run on Web-based networks, and a growing percentage of the world's smart cards-an estimated 40 percent, according to IT research companies-use embedded Java chips to store personal, health and business information that can be accessed by card readers.

Java licensing is tricky to untangle, because up until November 2006, Java was a proprietary programming language owned in its entirety by Sun and licensed accordingly. From 1995 to 2006, Sun charged for licensing use of Java code and for affiliated services; now it gives away the code free of charge under a choice of open-source licenses, but still charges for implementation, ongoing maintenance and other services.

At the time the merger was announced back in April, Ellison noted that "all of our middleware is based 100 percent on Java" and said his company has "invested more than anybody else in Java technology in terms of dollars over the years, and we intend to invest-and accelerate our investments-going forward."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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