Oracle's CEO ran into Google's top lawyer at a party and told him 'Thou shalt not steal'

Safra CatzOracleOracle CEO Safra Catz

When Oracle CEO Safra Catz ran into Google’s top lawyer Kent Walker at a bar mitzvah party, she had a very sternly-worded message for him, she says: “Thou shalt not steal.” 

Catz told this story during her testimony today on the stand for Oracle’s ongoing lawsuit against Google. It was reported by Electronic Frontier Foundation Director of Copyright Activism Parker Higgins via Twitter.

At the heart of Oracle’s lawsuit is the allegation that Google improperly used pieces of Java technology in Android without paying properly for the privilege. Oracle is seeking $8.8 billion in damages.

On the stand, Catz described “thou shalt not steal” as “an oldie but a goodie.” Given that it’s one of the Biblical ten commandments, it’s especially appropriate for a bat mitzvah — a celebration of a Jewish teenager’s first time being called up to read from the Torah.

Google’s use of Java had Oracle pretty steamed, Catz testified.

Java was originally invented as a way to make it easy to write apps and software that work across multiple devices super-easily, no muss, no fuss. Although it evolved and ended up being more prominent in other areas, mobile phone makers paid Sun (and later Oracle) licensing fees to use it.

Catz testified that Google’s decision to licence Android for free caused Oracle’s revenue to “plummet,” and she gave an example that Samsung went from paying about $40 million a year to $1 million a year for the privilege, according to Reuters‘ coverage of the testimony.

For its part, Google is arguing “fair use” — that it’s allowed to use Oracle’s Java code, whether or not it’s copyrighted. The lawsuit is ongoing.


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