Back in May 2016, Google used its Google I/O developer extravaganza to announce that Android apps were going to appear on the search giant’s low-cost Chromebook laptops.
Awesome, right? Well, database giant Oracle, which had that very same day rested its (ultimately unsuccessful) case in its $8.8 billion lawsuit against Google, definitely didn’t think so, as Motherboard’s Sarah Jeong reports, and now they’re pushing for a do-over with a third trial.
The key to Oracle’s claim was that Google had violated copyright when it used key pieces of its Java technology to build Android, the most popular operating system in the world.
But part of Google’s winning defence was that Java is for computers, and Android is for smartphones and tablets, so there wasn’t enough overlap to prove that Google was actually hurting Oracle’s bottom line. The first trial had a hung jury on the issue of fair use; the second found in Google’s favour.
So when Google announced at Google I/O that it had been working in “secret” for “months” to put Android apps on Chromebooks, as Oracle’s lawyers put it — meaning that Android was coming to computers after all — Oracle didn’t like it much.
“This was a shock to the industry and to us,” Oracle lawyer Annette Hurst reportedly told Judge William Alsup in court today.
Google’s defence is that they did, indeed, inform Oracle of the plan to put Android apps on Chromebooks. A tool called ARC, or App Runtime for Chrome, created by Google, was a significant part of the expert testimony. As Jeong, a lawyer by training, points out, Oracle knew about this plan and chose not to do anything about it.
Still, Oracle is using this as grounds to push for a third trial, saying that Google didn’t play fair by not bringing this new plan up in the course of the trial.
And, given that Android has expanded to cars, watches, and TVs in the years since this case was first brought in 2012, even Google’s lawyer had to admit, under questioning from the judge, that Oracle currently has grounds to bring multiple new lawsuits along these same lines in the years to come. Oracle isn’t giving up without a fight.
Oracle declined to comment. Google did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
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