Microsoft reportedly teams up with Oracle in Google legal fight

Microsoft and Oracle have no great love for each other. The two tech companies have often been at odds with each other on many topics. However, it sounds like in one particular case, Microsoft may have the attitude of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" with Oracle.

Reuters reports that this week, Microsoft told U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that it would file a "friend of the court brief" and that it would side with Oracle in its current lawsuit against Google. Oracle legal battle with Google concerns the Java programming language, which Oracle claims Google is using in its Android OS without Oracle's permission.

So far, the courts have ruled in Google's favor, with a judge deciding in 2012 that Oracle could not claim the copyrights to much of the Java language; Oracle is now appealing that decision.

It's not currently known what Microsoft will say to defend Oracle in its legal brief. Microsoft has been going after Android by signing agreements with most of the companies that have made Android smartphones and tablets, with the company claiming that those products use patents that are owned by Microsoft. Microsoft gets a portion of the sales of each of the devices under its various Android agreements.

Source: Reuters | Image via Oracle

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41 Comments

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Oracle has no case since Google doesn't use the proprietary bits. They use only the GPL'd code + their own layer on top.

For those wondering there is also OpenJDK/OpenJRE that is fully open source. It is basically Java without Oracle's non-GPL additions but is also binary compatible with any Java code out there.

http://openjdk.java.net/

shinji257 said,
Oracle has no case since Google doesn't use the proprietary bits. They use only the GPL'd code + their own layer on top.

For those wondering there is also OpenJDK/OpenJRE that is fully open source. It is basically Java without Oracle's non-GPL additions but is also binary compatible with any Java code out there.

http://openjdk.java.net/

This ^^

If anything Oracle should be suing the Apache Software Foundation instead, since Google used parts of their Harmony Java implementation for the base Java framework in use on Android.

Torolol said,
can this mean that Microsoft want its users to install Java on their computer?

Why would they want that? They'd much rather developers use the .NET framework or WinRT.

Microsoft JVM always seem snappier than Sun's, but anyways I just think this is a desperate attempt to kick Google down which is not gonna happen.

Just for everybody's background on this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_J%2B%2B

Sun sued Microsoft over their use of the Java framework spec, they eventually settled in 2001. As I said earlier, if Microsoft got screwed by Sun, then Google's practices should also get screwed by Sun... otherwise, the Sun-Microsoft agreement would not hold water, and would have to be omitted from the related anti-trust lawsuits worldwide.

2 totally different legal matters. There is nothing to stop Google from creating their own Java framework as long as it doesn't infringe on Oracle's patents. And so far the only "evidence" Oracle have even presented is a small block of code that was GPL'd anyway.

Nas said,
Just for everybody's background on this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_J%2B%2B

Sun sued Microsoft over their use of the Java framework spec, they eventually settled in 2001. As I said earlier, if Microsoft got screwed by Sun, then Google's practices should also get screwed by Sun... otherwise, the Sun-Microsoft agreement would not hold water, and would have to be omitted from the related anti-trust lawsuits worldwide.

Sun sued... MS settled. Doesn't mean Sun or MS was right or wrong. Just like with the Music Industry sues a "downloader", and the downloader settles... nothing is proved right or wrong. One side decides it's cheaper and easier to just give up and pay.

Google isn't rolling over, and it's worked in their favor so far. Until it fails appeal or clears the Supreme Court, it's all smoke and mirrors.

Nas said,
Albeit true, there's also nothing that stops Microsoft from agreeing with Oracle that Google sucks.

Which is nowhere near a legal argument.

m-p{3} said,

Which is nowhere near a legal argument.

Microsoft will specify their legal argument. They simply haven't filed it yet.

Nas said,
Albeit true, there's also nothing that stops Microsoft from agreeing with Oracle that Google sucks.

I would say that is more "the enemy of my enemy is my best friend" and I would add... for now.
BTW nothing wrong with the strategy, it is as old as the World.

Ahem. MS was in hot water in the 1990's with Visual J++. If Sun screwed them, Microsoft is making sure others get screwed by 'em, too.

techbeck said,
Another pathetic attempt from MS to gain more users and to stick it to Google. MS should mind its own business.

c'mon man. I don't condone what MS is doing, but Google is a scambag company now where MS is concern. There is an offical Google YouTube and maps app on WII U, WII F-ing U.

techbeck said,
Another pathetic attempt from MS to gain more users and to stick it to Google. MS should mind its own business.

Sure just tell Google to stop implementing stolen IP or to pay royalties.

Google are ***** and deserve all they get.

Toysoldier said,

Sure just tell Google to stop implementing stolen IP or to pay royalties.

Google are ***** and deserve all they get.

First it has to be proven that google really did steal anything. Which so far Google was found NOT to be infringing on anything. But oracle is appealing the decision so we shall see where it goes from now.

It is easy to say someone did something...its proving it thats the problem.

techbeck said,
Another pathetic attempt from MS to gain more users and to stick it to Google. MS should mind its own business.

You grow your business at another business' expense. Thats Business 101. Nothing wrong here. Might seem dirty, but nothing wrong. As they say, "Its only business, nothing personal."

Kunal Nanda said,

You grow your business at another business' expense. Thats Business 101. Nothing wrong here. Might seem dirty, but nothing wrong. As they say, "Its only business, nothing personal."

Except that MS has no right (that I see at the moment) to get involved here and there is only one reason they are, to stick it to Google. A court has already ruled in Google's favor and just waiting to see if Oracle gets granted an appeal. So far there is no legal hit towards Google for "growing their business at the expense of another business".

techbeck said,

First it has to be proven that google really did steal anything. Which so far Google was found NOT to be infringing on anything. But oracle is appealing the decision so we shall see where it goes from now.

It is easy to say someone did something...its proving it thats the problem.

at least they prefer doing it legally. otherwise, how are we suppose to prove that there is a problem?

Nas said,
Ahem. MS was in hot water in the 1990's with Visual J++. If Sun screwed them, Microsoft is making sure others get screwed by 'em, too.

Perhaps you should find out why Sun got angry about J++. It was for a completely different (and actually legit) reason. Oracle is just butthurt that google was able to make Java popular in the smartphone space where they weren't.

Java may be free, but that doesn't mean anyone can use it for whatever reason they want. Many of the Java tools are still licensed as proprietary software, even if they are provided for free by Oracle. Using any of those tools in a way other than allowed by the EULA is a violation.

It really isn't that much different that the FAT issue. Google added FAT support to Android because it is a pretty universal file system. The only problem is that it is a proprietary file system owned by someone else and they used it without permission.

It might seem like playing dirty, but how many billion dollars did Oracle pay for Sun? The answer is $7.4 billion. Why did they spend so much money on it? Simple, because they saw the importance of Java; it was an investment. Other commercial devices that use Java pay a royalty. Why should Google not?


Why is MS getting involved? That is simple and slightly more devious. One of their big goals is to prove to the world that Open Source software infringes on many existing copyrights. Any change they have to create a hidden cost in usingg Open Source software is something they will jump on. More directly, they also want to give Android a black eye.

techbeck said,
Another pathetic attempt from MS to gain more users and to stick it to Google. MS should mind its own business.

Few months ago I would have agreed with you, but when WP8 was released, Google did all sorts of nasty tricks to make sure youtube, google maps, email sync etc were all getting screwed up on WP8 but would work fine on all other platforms.

So its just a tit for tat game they are playing, and you cant side with either company because they are both doing dodgy things to undermine each other.

sphbecker said,
Why is MS getting involved? That is simple and slightly more devious. One of their big goals is to prove to the world that Open Source software infringes on many existing copyrights. Any change they have to create a hidden cost in usingg Open Source software is something they will jump on. More directly, they also want to give Android a black eye.

Not simply a hidden cost, but a real one. It is a misconception that code is one big free-for-all by virtue of being open source. The second you use it in a commercial product, liability comes into play, and the open source community reviles this fact because it's inescapable whenever they want to bring their code to a market.

Joshie said,

Not simply a hidden cost, but a real one. It is a misconception that code is one big free-for-all by virtue of being open source. The second you use it in a commercial product, liability comes into play, and the open source community reviles this fact because it's inescapable whenever they want to bring their code to a market.

Agreed, that is what I meant. When I said hidden cost, I didn't mean a fake cost. I mean a real one that is unexpected.

sphbecker said,

Agreed, that is what I meant. When I said hidden cost, I didn't mean a fake cost. I mean a real one that is unexpected.


Understood. I just wanted to be clear that the cost of open source is usually only fictional to open source proponents. People working in enterprise environments don't have the luxury of pretending it's free--the cost is almost immediately apparent when they start weighing different solutions.

I got to spend a whole hot 12.5 seconds thinking Alfredo was a 'free' alternative to SharePoint for basic document management and company portal needs. I corrected myself right quick.

Hell, a year ago we deployed Redmine as a 'free' alternative to JIRA for issue tracking on projects. In the last year we've spent more in man hours--working out best practices and resolving unexpected issues for what might be one of the most poorly documented tracking tools in existence--than we would've spent just investing in a commercial, supported solution. It's a powerful and versatile tool, and I've grown to like it (lord knows I'd recommend it over that godawful mantis), but the cost of maintenance and training users never occurred to anyone who made the decision at the time, and it's stubborn refusal to integrate with other common business applications has given us plenty of headaches.

torrentthief said,
can google not replace the code they are using with a different language or would it break all apps or something?

maybe replace it with c#

gullygod said,

c#? Wasn't c# developed by MS?


Xamarin is actually a really interesting project, just for the reads. Though C# would come with its own set of issues that would need to be worked out, it seems like it would've been much more efficient than Java for Android, friendlier to developers, and was considered by Google back in the very beginning.

One of those fascinating could-have-beens that's worth geeking over when you have the time.