Day Three

Google vs Oracle – Google CEO Page doesn’t remember Java email

Chris Mayer
Larry-Page

The saga continues with Google CEO Larry Page edgy and evasive in court under cross-examination

The court case in California between Oracle and Google has
continued into Day Three, with Google’s CEO Larry Page painting a
decidely different picture to Larry Ellison’s, as he took to the
stand to defend his company’s use of Java patents in Android.

Page appeared much more evasive than his Oracle counterpart who
appeared the day previously, wriggling clear of questions posed by
Oracle’s key lawyer David Boies, who has sparred with the best of
them (ie. Bill Gates) over his career. On more than one occassion,
Judge William Alsup, presiding over the case, castigated Page
telling him to answer the question with a straight yes or no
answer.

His near-hour long extensive interrogation at the stand featured
some tense moments, as Page spent most of the time looking at the
twelve-strong jury rather than directly at Boies when underfire.
Page made some interesting statements such as admitting that Google
had indeed built the Android platform without purchasing a license
to use the Java technology – but because they didn’t need to.

He told the courtroom, speaking of Java’s creators, Sun
Microsystems, “it would have saved us a lot of time and trouble to
use their technology” before adding, “we ended up making a big
investment in our own technology, and it works really well.”

One stark statement from Page was that Android is
“important, but not critical” to Google – which is a bold claim to
make.

The centrepiece of Oracle’s argument – the damning Lindholm
email which Google tried seven times to remove from proceedings,
caused much contention again. The document between Android head of
development Andy Rubin and employee Tim Lindholm contains details
of Google execs wanting to find viable alternatives to Java for
building Android, swiftly coming to the conclusion that there
weren’t any. Page said on numerous occasions he didn’t recall
seeing this evidence, nor knowing Tim Lindholm ‘particularly’.

He said:

It sounds like Tim was somebody assigned to do this,
probably by Mr. Rubin.

Strangely, Page also said later that he meets and confers
with many Google employees during any given week.

Boies’ line of questioning mostly revolved around trying
to prove that Page and other Google executives were indeed aware
that they’d have to pay some of the license fee stretching back to
2005 for Java. Boies earlier asked whether Google has a
policy against copying other companies’ software, to which Page
replied that he wasn’t aware of specific policies adding, “I think
we do a lot to respect IP (intellectual
property).”

Under questioning from Robert Van Hest (Google’s attorney)
Page s
aid that Google would have preferred to have entered
into a business partnership with Sun Microsystems, rather than
Oracle, which tallies with the opening statements. Page added that
this would have saved vital time getting Android to market but the
two parties couldn’t come to an agreement. So Google opted to
proceed using the version of Java in the public domain.

Page left the courtroom smiling, but it was far from a relaxing
session under examination. He is expected to be recalled at a later
date, as the trial is set to run for about eight weeks.

This case, as ever, continues…

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