Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) has fired a fresh legal salvo at Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), accusing the latter of illegally using Java in developing Android; something that Oracle says owes them $9.3 billion in damages.
Oracle had earlier sued Google accusing the search giant of using licensed portions of Java covering 37 API packages without paying the royalty. That was in 2012 though the case ended up in no man’s land as the jury seemed divided on the crucial aspect of whether Google has indeed violated the ‘fair use’ terms that allow copying under certain circumstances.
Android has been wildly popular in the mobile segment and is already counted among the most widely used mobile OS. It recorded a commanding 80.7 percent share of the market in Q4, 2015 which marks a healthy improvement over the 76 percent market share it had during Q4, 2015.
While that is good news for Google that counts on app sales and ad revenue that the platform generates, Oracle sure is looking for a slice of the Android pie. And it’s hungry for more this time round given that the damages claimed has gone up around 10 times than what it had sought earlier.
A few related figures make for an interesting read. For instance, the damage claimed by Oracle is even bigger than the $5.6 billion what it paid to acquire Sun Microsystems in the first place. For comparison’s sake, Google parent company Alphabet reported $4.9 billion in profits in the last quarter. Interestingly, the case, if it goes in favor of Oracle, will make for the biggest every copyright verdict, superseding the $1.3 billion earlier won by Oracle against SAP in 2010.
Oracle’s point of view on the case is that Google has been in a hurry to reach markets with its Android-powered devices and poaching on Java seemed lucrative owing to the ready availability of a huge programming base having extensive expertise in Java.
Oracle further revealed its damage estimate is comprised of two parts – $475 million that Oracle incurred in damages while another $8.8 billion as a share of the profit that Google made with the various iterations of Android over the years.
Google lawyers though have refuted Oracle’s claims stating it “ignores the statutory standard for copyright damages and fails to offer anything resembling an expert analysis.”
Google also said the 37 Java APIs in contention also makes for a tiny fraction of the complex and extensive platform that Android has grown out to be so far.
In any case, it will be interesting to see how the court case pans out eventually.