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Google executives Rubin and Schmidt take stand in Oracle Java trial

24 Apr 2012
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Oracle lawyers have probed Google executives Andy Rubin and Eric Schmidt about emails written within the company on the topic of Java licensing in 2005 and 2006.

According to multiple courtroom reports, Rubin was grilled on emails he wrote advising high ranking Google staff to acquire Sun Microsystems' platform before their eventual purchase by Oracle.

"If Sun doesn’t want to work with us, we have two options: 1) Abandon our work and adopt MSFT CLR VM and C# language, or 2) Do Java anyway and defend our decision, perhaps making enemies along the way," Rubin said in a 2005 email to Google co-founder Larry Page.

Schmidt, meanwhile, stated he could not recall if employees told him that Google would have to pay for a licence to use Java. The former Google chief executive did however admit to having conversations with former Sun chief executive Jonathan Schwartz about possibly licensing Java for a sum of $30 to $50 million.

Oracle claims Google deliberately refused to license the company's Java platform for use in its Android smartphones.

As part of its case, Oracle is attempting to prove that Google knew it needed approval to use the Java platform.

Oracle lawyer David Boies has argued that executive emails show Rubin had informed Google staffers they may have to use another software base for their Dalvik platform.

Boies claims that Google blatantly lifted Java code from Sun when their attempts to acquire the company failed. However, Google believes they did not violate the Java patents and that Oracle can't copyright certain parts of the programming language.

Oracle first presented its case against Google in 2010.

Rubin and Schmidt's testimonies come after Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison took the stand to plead his company's case. Ellison went as far as to acknowledge that Oracle had looked into creating its own smartphone platform to rival Google's Android.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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