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Aug 13 2010   2:10PM GMT

Uh-oh. Oracle sues Google over Java use

badarrow Barbara Darrow Profile: badarrow

This one raises lots of eyebrows: Oracle just sued Google over Android’s use of Java.

In case anyone forgot, Oracle got the Java franchise via its $7.5 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems. And there has been worry about its stewardship over the popular development language ever since.  Ironically, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was a Sun exec who helped shape that company’s strategy of releasing versions of the language under open source licenses to entrench it in many markets. According to Oracle, Java for Developers, Java for Your Computer, and JavaFX are the three most downloaded items from Oracle’s web site

The suit, filed in the U.S. district court in northern California,  alleges that Google Android infringes upon Java’s patents and copyrights. Kim Polese, a former Sun exec who has since worked long in the open-source trenches, told the Wall Street Journal that the suit is “very perplexing.”

Oracle’s legal team includes superstar David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP, fresh off his victory in the California Prop 8 case.

This lawsuit sets up a potentially huge battle between the largest enterprise software company  (Oracle) and the largest consumer software company (Google.)

This is the second time in a week that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison appears to be fighting battles for non-Oracle buddies. Earlier he sent an unsolicited letter to The New York Times blasting Hewlett-Packard’s board for forcing out HP CEO Mark Hurd. Observers point out that Ellison is also tight with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Google’s Android is fast on a pace to pass Apple iPhone sales.

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