Google CEO Larry Page took the stand on Wednesday as his company battles Oracle over some Java programming language used by Google’s Android operating system.
Oracle sued Google in August of 2010 and claimed that the search engine giant’s Android O/S “infringed” on intellectual property rights to Java programming language. Google countered by saying that it doesn’t violate the Oracle patents, noting that Oracle can’t just copyright certain components of the “open source” Java language.
On the stand, Page was relatively elusive – as expected – and went with a lot of “I don’t know” and “I don’t recall” answers to questions put forth by Oracle counsel.
Oracle tried to establish just how important the Android O/S was to Google’s success and Page responded by saying that it was important but “not critical,” adding that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Google’s board was told that the O/S was critical. Okay…
Page said that Google moved on making its own smartphone software some seven years ago because the company wanted a better way for customers to use Google software on mobile phones. “We’d been really frustrated in getting our technology out to people,” he said.
Page said that his company had wanted to work directly with Sun Microsystems, Java developer and Oracle acquisition, but the two sides couldn’t come to a working agreement. As such, Google went ahead with using what could best be described as the “free part” of Java.
At the hearing, Page was asked if such an approach was unique. Counsel asked him if he knew of any other company that, after failing to hook up the proper arrangements with Java, just used the “free part.” The response from the Google head was predictable: he wasn’t an “expert” on the matter.
Oracle is currently seeking damages in the neighbourhood of $1 billion. Early estimates had damages around the $6.1 billion mark, but Oracle has amended things and dropped their claims from seven to two.
Google insists they’ve done nothing wrong. Page’s testimony, nebulous as it was, likely hasn’t solved anything and won’t keep the wolves away from the door. He’s expected to take the stand again later in the eight week trial and Oracle is expected to bring out evidence in the form of emails that suggest Page knew that Google was using Oracle-owned programming.