Google founder in court for smartphone patents showdown
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Thursday 19 April 2012
Google's founder and chief executive, Larry Page, suited up for an appearance in court in San Francisco yesterday in what is shaping up as one of the most significant battles over smartphone patents and copyright and a dramatic showdown between two of the most powerful men in Silicon Valley.
Accused by Oracle boss Larry Ellison of building Google's Android smartphone operating system on the back of his company's intellectual property, Mr Page said he had little knowledge of the internal discussions over whether it needed to get a licence to use Oracle's Java programming language.
Mr Page's appearance came directly after Mr Ellison himself testified on Tuesday, when he called Android a "cheap knock-off".
Android's Java-based software is installed in 300 million mobile devices around the world, and Oracle is claiming $1bn in licensing fees and damages from Google.
In one exchange yesterday morning, Oracle's lawyer, David Boies, asked Mr Page: "Would it have been a violation of Google policy for Google engineers to copy copyrighted materials of other companies?"
Mr Page responded that Google was "very careful about what information we used and what we did not use", and added: "Again, as I said yesterday, I think we did nothing wrong."
In another exchange, Mr Page disputed the notion that Android was critical to Google, but said he wouldn't be surprised if Google's board was told that Android is critical to the company.
Oracle offers Java – invented by Sun Microsystems, which it acquired in 2009 – on an open source basis, but while it is free to developers for some uses, it requires a licence in others. Because of the complexity of those licensing rules and the complexity of the computer code behind Android, the trial is expected to last eight weeks.
Google won some pre-trial tussles and had several Oracle patents struck out; it says damages would amount to less than $100m, even if it lost.
Oracle has presented documents showing Android developers discussing whether they may need a licence, and debating the risk of a legal showdown over the issue.
Mr Page smiled and made eye contact with jurors as he gave testimony; Mr Ellison engaged more directly, and in more detail, with attorneys. "If people could copy our software and create cheap knock-offs of our products, we wouldn't get paid for our engineering and wouldn't be able to invest what we invest," he said.
- 2 David De Gea transfer collapses: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the word become popular?
- 4 Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
The man who sold Minecraft to Microsoft for £2.5 billion says it's made him miserable
Nazi 'gold train': Fire engulfs suspected location of vehicle
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...