Müller gets in Oracle's corner

Patent prima donna Florian Müller signs on with Oracle

LouisGoddard
Florian-Mueller.1

In a move that’s already causing raised eyebrows in the open source community, blogger and analyst Florian Müller has signed on with database giant Oracle

In a move that’s already caused a few raised
eyebrows
 in the open source community, blogger and analyst
Florian Müller, who runs the extremely popular FOSS Patents blog,
has signed on with database giant Oracle. While Müller claims that
his coverage will remain unbiased and independent, the timing is,
to say the least, unfortunate, coming just as the massive and
much-awaited Oracle v. Google patent trial gets
underway in California.

“I have been following Oracle v. Google since
the filing of the lawsuit in August 2010 and have read pretty much
every line of each court filing in this litigation. My
long-standing views on this matter are well-documented”, writes
Müller in a blog
post
 on the trial. “As an independent analyst and blogger,
I will express only my own opinions, which cannot be attributed to
any one of my diversity of clients. I often say things none of them
would agree with. That said, as a believer in transparency I would
like to inform you that Oracle has very recently become a
consulting client of mine.”

Unsurprisingly, Pamela Jones, founder of long-standing rival
Groklaw, did not have many kind words to say on the move. Writing
in a blog
post
 this morning, she accused Müller in no uncertain
terms of having biased his previous coverage in favour of
Oracle:

We get suspicious when someone’s “analysis” is uniformly that
Google is doomed. It’s my Spidey sense. And it’s usually on the
money, as they say. … [H]e has known, I gather, that he was going
to be working for Oracle as an “analyst” and “for the long haul”
for some time, he indicates. But he didn’t think to mention it
until now.

While Müller’s decision to accept Oracle as a client may seem a
minor problem in the grand scheme of things, it becomes a broader
issue when the prominence of his platform and its influence on
mainstream technology journalists is taken into account.
Type “florian mueller”
site:guardian.co.uk
 or “florian
mueller” site:nytimes.com
 into Google and you’ll
find a swathe of articles relying on his analysis (many with reader
comments pointing out Müller’s prior involvement with Microsoft, a
whole other kettle of ethical fish).

We’ll certainly keep reading FOSS Patents — it’s been a great
source of detailed analysis throughout the various patent battles
that have raged over the past few years — and we imagine that most
of Müller’s 11,200+ Twitter
followers will too. But we’ll keep this latest move in mind.

What do you think of the decision? Let us know in the comments
below.

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