Müller gets in Oracle's corner

Patent prima donna Florian Müller signs on with Oracle


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” or “florian mueller” 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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