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Scott McNealy To Testify for Oracle in Java Trial

His appearance could wrap up Oracle’s side of the copyright infringement part of the trial

Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy, an off-again-on-again buddy of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, is going to testify for Oracle Thursday in its infringement suit against Google and Android.

His appearance could wrap up Oracle’s side of the copyright infringement part of the trial and he could be followed on the witness stand by his successor at Sun Jonathan Schwartz who’s supposed to testify for Google.

Schwartz has been on the witness list since the beginning. He’s evidently supposed to testify Sun didn’t think Android infringed, evidently conflicting with McNealy’s testimony. (It’s just so utterly Sun.)

Sun, of course, developed Java before Oracle bought Sun two years ago. A swat of the old Java engineers now work for Google and some of them helped develop Android. Some of them have been on the witness stand.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who also used to work at Sun under McNealy and had a lot to do with Java there for a while, testified Tuesday that Google didn’t need a license for the parts of Java it used in Android and that Sun didn’t demand it take a license when Android was announced in 2007.

In 2005 and 2006 Sun and Google discussed a partnership to co-develop Android that would have required Google to license Java source code. Schmidt said Sun wanted $50 million to boost its dwindling revenue.

He said McNealy “understood the benefit of having a billion users. I took that to mean he wanted money.

A February 2006 e-mail was produced in court in which McNealy said of the proposed partnership, “I’m worried how we are going to replace the revenue this is likely to submarine.”

McNealy was willing to take a “risk with Java” to develop a purely open source smartphone stack, “I just need to understand the economics,” he wrote.

Well, the partnership never happened, Google supposedly built Android

from the ground up with none of Sun’s proprietary IP, and by the time it was announced in 2007 Jonathan Schwartz was CEO of Sun and publicly congratulated Google for developing Android.

However, a Schwartz e-mail also produced in court said, “Sun is ready to embrace Google’s innovation. We are not willing to cede complete control of the management… for key components of its stack.”

According to Schmidt, “At the highest level, the core issue had to do with control,” not money. “Sun’s view was that they wanted much tighter control.”

“We would have paid simply to resolve it,” Schmidt said. “The money wasn’t as important as this question of making a successful platform.”

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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