Google Also Won

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-05-08 Print this article Print


5. Google won

Before Oracle starts popping champagne, though, it's important to point out that Google also won in the first decision. Oracle will not be allowed to seek the $1 billion in damages. In addition, the jury could not come to a conclusion on whether or not Google's application of the Java APIs represented "fair use" of open-source technology. So, while Oracle might have won in principle, Google might have won in practice.

6. Android's current functionality is at stake

Still, the battle is far from over, which means Android is still not safe. If it's eventually determined that Google didn't have fair use access to the APIs and subsequent decisions take aim at how Java is used in Android, Google could very well be forced to modify Android in order to continue offering the software.

7. The implications are major

In the event that Google is forced to modify Android to adhere to a court order, the implications could be major. For one thing, the vast majority of apps in the Android Market would be broken, since they rely upon Java. In addition, Google would need to send out updates to every single Android-based device on the market, which is no small undertaking.

8. Oracle can still get (some) cash

Although Oracle won't be able to collect the $1 billion in damages, the company will still have the chance to get some cash out of the search giant. In fact, according to damages statutes that follow the determination, Oracle could be awarded up to $150,000 for the alleged infringement, which probably doesn't even cover a single day's cost of this very expensive litigation.

9. Licensing is still a possibility

Although Google hates the idea of it, there's a chance that this case might eventually be decided by a licensing deal between Oracle and the search company. After all, if the case lags on indefinitely, it might be cheaper for Google to simply license Java from Oracle. In addition, if Google loses the case, it's better to license Java than to modify Android. Licensing is still a very real possibility.

10. It's not even close to being over

Lastly, everyone should realize that the case between Google and Oracle is far from over. Right now it looks like neither side is willing to play nice with the other. The easy decisions that could result in an end to this lawsuit, like a negotiated licensing deal, won't happen until one side or another realizes that they aren't going to get a court decision that gives them what they want. There's a very real possibility that the case between Oracle and Google could span the next several years. Don't believe it? Consider Google's bitter battle with Viacom.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel