Google Dodges $9 Billion Bullet – Gizmodo

8 months ago Comments Off on Google Dodges $9 Billion Bullet – Gizmodo
Image: AP Images

Google just won a major court battle with software giant Oracle over Googleโ€™s use of elements of Oracleโ€™s Java programming language. If Google had lost, it could have held major ramifications for the ways in which almost all software is developed. Oh, and Google would have had to cough up $9 billion in damages.

For now, the fundamental principles of how coders create software will stay the same. That is, of course, unless Oracle wins an appeal. Letโ€™s take a look at how we got here, and what exactly was at stake.

The imbroglio began when Google used Javaโ€œAPIsโ€ in an early version of its Android operating system. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are just a set of code standards that facilitate communication between different pieces of software. Letโ€™s say you opened the start menu on your computer, and clicked on the iTunes icon. An API is the element of code that is called to run code to start the iTunes program.

Advertisement

Oracle originally sued in 2010, arguing that when Google developed Android, it violated copyrights that Oracle held as the owner of the Java programming language. (Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java, earlier that year for $7.4 Billion.) In 2012, the ruling came down. A California judge disagreed with Oracle. โ€œAPIsโ€ shouldnโ€™t be subject to copyright. Google won.

Oracle appealed the 2012 ruling, and a Federal Circuit Court reversed the ruling of the California judge, saying that APIs should be copyrightable. But there was still hope for Google, as the court ruling gave Google a path to argue that its use of Java in Android was protected under Fair Use. Today, a California jury found that the APIs Google used were protected under Fair Use, legally reinforcing a commonly accepted practice among programmers.

Sponsored

If the verdict had gone the other way, it would have opened Pandoraโ€™s Box for software developers. Itโ€™s not clear exactly what would have happened, but it could have had dchilling effect on the very principles of how modern code is written with relation to APIs, which are used ubiquitously and as a standard. To put it simply: It would have been a big deal.

For now, programmers and the people who use their creations can rest easy. But, thanks to the magic of the American court system, Oracle still has room to appeal. This isnโ€™t over just yet, but itโ€™s a pretty good sign.

Google Dodges $9 Billion Bullet – Gizmodo

Related Posts

Zuckerberg’s philanthropy project makes first major investment

7 months ago
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy venture has made its first major investment, leading a funding round in a startup that trains and recruits software developers in... Read More

Virtual Reality In The Enterprise – TechCrunch

11 months ago
This yearย is already shaping up to be the year virtual realityย (VR) goes mainstream.ย In January, Oculus Rift stole the spotlight at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by... Read More

ANZ bank puts cloud expert in leading IT role

2 months ago
Australian bank has recruited another senior executive from the IT supplies sector to support its digital developments ComputerWeekly: Latest IT News Read More

Microsoft to offer cloud users private network connections to UK datacentres

1 month ago
Software giant Microsoft expands on UK datacentre launch to give users private network access to its facilities ComputerWeekly: Latest IT News Read More
Real Time Web Analytics