Oracle has been suing Google since 2010 over Google’s use of Java in the Android mobile operating system. Back in January, we reported that Google had switched to OpenJDK to head off further Oracle lawsuits. It doesn’t look like that have changed anything.
This May Oracle plans to take Google to court again. Oracle claims that Google copied 37 Java application programming interfaces and included them in Android. This time, Oracle is looking for $9.3 billion in damages.
So Much Money!!
Let’s take a look at the money involved with these lawsuits for a minute. If Oracle wins this lawsuit, the $9.3 billion will be the largest copyright verdict ever. The previous record was $1.3 billion after Oracle sued SAP in 2010. (However, that was later overturned.)
If this amount seems huge, let me give you some scale. Last quarter, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported $4.9 billion in profits. When Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, the creators of Java, it only paid $5.6 billion in 2009.
The question is where is Oracle getting this amount? Only $475 million is cited as “actual damages’, mainly lost revenue Oracle would have earned if Android did not exist. The other $8.8 billion is “profits apportioned to infringed Java copyrights”, which is basically any money that Google earned with Android.
According to court documents obtained by PC World, Google is going to try to limit damage to $100 million. Whether or not they will be successful, is yet to be seen.
In some respects, it seems to me that Oracle is a little sue happy. They already sued Google once over the use of Java and lost. Now they are back and they want even more money. Based on this action, I wonder how well Oracle is doing as a company. According to one article I saw, Oracle has had a bad couple of quarters. Do they see this as a quick way to get cash as they more from software to cloud and services? Only time will tell.
What do you think about Oracle’s propensity to sue? What do you think of Google’s standing in this case? Let me know in the comments below.