Forget World of Warcraft – If ever there was a battle of the Titans it was Google’s lawsuit against Oracle over the use of Java programming on Google’s Android operating system. And Google boss Larry Page took the stand to take some heat, as Wired reports.
Google CEO Larry Page took the stand on Wednesday during the company’s ongoing court battle with Oracle over the use of the Java programming language on Google’s Android operating system. Though he responded to questioning with mostly evasive answers, Page fared better than Oracle boss Larry Ellison, who appeared flustered during his appearance in court on Tuesday.
Page’s typical response to questions from Oracle counsel David Boies was “I’m not sure” or “I don’t recall.” At one point, the Google co-founder said he did not recall whether his company copyrighted Android’s APIs (application programming interfaces), and when asked if Google’s board of directors was ever told that Android was a “critical asset,” he answered: “It wouldn’t surprise me.”
On Tuesday, Ellison left the San Francisco courtroom with a furrowed brow. But as Page exited the courtroom on Wednesday, there was a smile on his face.
Oracle filed its suit against Google in August 2010, accusing Page and company of deliberately infringing various Java-related patents and copyrights that Oracle acquired with its purchase of Sun Microsystems. The original suit asserted seven patents, claiming infringement by Android’s Dalvik virtual machine, the Android software development kit and other parts of Google’s operating system. In November 2010, Oracle filed court documents that claimed Android’s class libraries and documentation infringed on its copyrights and that roughly one-third of Android’s API packages are “derivative” of Oracle’s copyrighted Java API packages.
Android’s Dalvik virtual machine was built to run software written with the Java programming language. The Java programming language is largely open source — meaning anyone can use it — but there are portions of the platform used to run Java software that remain under copyright.
In court on Wednesday, Oracle attempted to show that Page was complicit as Google lifted Oracle-owned code for use on Android. Oracle counsel David Boies asked repeated questions about Page’s involvement in Google’s attempts to purchase Sun Microsystems — the creator of Java, before the company was bought by Oracle — and about the use of Java’s APIs in Android.
Page was slow to answer questions — often failing to making eye contact — and he ended up saying very little. In many instances, Judge William Alsup spoke up to instruct Page to answer with “yes,” “no,” or “I’m not sure,” and Page typically chose the later — or “I don’t recall.”
In an effort to coax more from Page, Oracle’s Boies broke many of his questions into smaller pieces, but Page remained evasive. As with his video deposition on Tuesday, Page was imprecise even in defining Java. “I think Java is a complex thing, with many, many things,” he said.