updated 02:10 pm EDT, Sat October 8, 2011
Oracle-Google lawsuit sees testimony of top execs
Both Google and Oracle will have to bring out some of their top current and former executives to testify in the ongoing lawsuit over Android's use of Java patents. Along with Google's Larry Page, its chairman and one-time Sun CTO Eric Schmidt is also being called by Oracle and fill in details on negotiations with Sun and later Oracle over Java as well as the business strategy for Android. Java pioneer and recent Google worker James Gosling is being asked to talk about Java's invention and patents, and the author of a potentially condemning Google e-mail, Tim Lindholm, is being asked in hopes of pushing him to admit Google ignored needed patent deals.
Google mobile VP and Android creator Andy Rubin should also appear, and a chance exists that Oracle will voluntarily put its CFO Safra Catz on the witness stand to talk about the reasons behind acquiring Sun and how Java is licensed. An earlier CEO of Sun's, Scott McNealy, would discuss Oracle's takeover and Java licenses.
Unusually, both Google and Oracle want to bring in Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Google wants him to detail negotiations over Java licenses, its business strategy, and its "defensive" use of patents and copyrights. The company hopes to show Ellison abusing lawsuits and royalty demands. Oracle wants him to testify, however, to show how valuable Java is to the company and the damage from Android's alleged misuse.
Google's best weapon may become former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. He openly endorsed Android's use of Java at the time it was new. The Android developer may want to show that Sun didn't feel a need to license Java and that Oracle was betraying this in the name of a cash grab.
With Google so far having already produced evidence that it knew what it would cost to license Java but went ahead regardless, the company may have little choice but to reach a settlement or mitigate its losses at trial. Oracle wants $2 billion or more in back licenses and might try for more, while Google wants to minimize it to at most a few hundred million and to make it a one-time payment rather than a by-device license. A trial is due to start October 31, but it may miss that date due to a densely packed schedule. [via Florian Mueller]