Tuesday, April 24, 2012

(BN) Google Was Never Told by Sun to License Java, Schmidt Says (2)

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Google Was Never Told by Sun to License Java, Schmidt Says (2)

April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt testified that his company developed the Android operating system using the Java programming language after partnership talks with Sun Microsystems Inc. fell through and Sun made no demand for a license to use Java.

Sun sought $30 million to $50 million and tight control over Java's use for Android, Schmidt told jurors today in federal court in San Francisco during Oracle Corp.'s trial against Google. When deal negotiations fell through in 2006, Google built the Android software for mobile devices without infringing on Sun's intellectual property, he said.

Schmidt said that based on his understanding of Sun's licensing requirements for Java, Google's use of the programming language in Android without a license was "permissible" and "legally correct." He said Jonathan Schwartz, who started as Sun's chief executive officer in April 2006, never asked the search engine operator to take a license.

Oracle acquired Java as part of its 2010 takeover of Sun. Yesterday, Oracle showed e-mails to the jury to bolster claims that Google executives knew the company needed a license to use the language to develop Android.

$1 Billion Damages

The Redwood City, California-based database software maker is seeking $1 billion in damages and a court order blocking sales of Android unless Mountain View, California-based Google pays for a license. Oracle's lawsuit, filed in 2010, alleges Android, now running on more than 300 million smartphones, infringes Java copyrights and patents.

Schmidt, a former chief technical officer at Sun who was the primary executive in charge of Java, said today that Sun co- founder Scott McNealy, who preceded Schwartz as CEO, saw the Android partnership with Google as a way to boost revenue.

"He understood the benefit of having a billion users," Schmidt testified. "I took that to mean he wanted money."

McNealy said in an e-mail shown to the jury that he supported "taking a risk with Java" to develop open source smartphone software. "I just need to understand the economics," McNealy said in the e-mail.

The copyright phase of the trial, which began last week, is coming to a close, lawyers for both sides said yesterday. The next phases of the eight-week trial will be patent claims and damage claims.

The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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