The stage has been set for a lengthy courtroom battle between Google and Oracle, after talks of an out of court settlement between the two companies over the use of Java on Android have failed. A federal judge who presided over the negotiations said that there were too many irreconcilable differences, aka Google not willing to pay enough. The two parties are scheduled to meet again on April 16, but this time in the court of law.
Having finalized the acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010 for a princely sum of US$4.7 billion, Oracle quickly put its patent lawsuit goggles on and had Google’s Android software on its money making radar. Apparently, this is called focusing on the right priorities, you see. The patent infringement claims were naturally dismissed by Google, which said that due to the open-source nature of Android operating system, the company is entitled to use Java technology.
To settle the dispute, Google submitted a proposal that would see Oracle getting $3 million in damages and a 1% share of Android revenue all the way to 2018. However, the numbers simply did not have enough zeroes attached for Oracle to accept the proposal, so it was swiftly rejected.
None of this would’ve happened if the deal between Google and Sun went through back in 2005. Court documents revealed that Google was talking intensively with the creator of the Java programming language to persuade it to become a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, a proposition that would have got Sun $25-50 million plus a share of the Android revenue. When the collaboration never materialized, Google decided to go its own way by creating the Dalvik virtual machine.
With billions of dollars at stake, it will be interesting to see what arguments the two sides would come up with, come judgment day.