Former Sun chief backs Google in feud with Oracle

News 27 Apr, 2012

Java APIs used in Android were considered open, claims Jonathan Schwartz.

Former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz is the latest high-profile executive to testify in the Google-Oracle patent trial, and could have given the search giant's defence a major boost.

When questioned about the nature of the Java APIs by Google’s defence lawyer, Schwartz revealed they were not considered to be proprietary by Sun.

We didn't like what Google was doing with Android, but we weren't going to stop it by complaining about it.

“These are open APIs, and we wanted to bring in more people...we wanted to build the biggest tent and invite as many people as possible," he told the court.

Google has also used a blog post written by Schwartz in a bid to show that it was not violating any patents when using Java in the Android platform.

“I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of others from Sun in offering my heartfelt congratulations to Google on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform, Android,” he wrote in 2007.

However, Schwartz claimed there were a lot of things unsaid in the blog, and not everything was as straightforward as it seemed.

"We didn't like [what Google was doing with Android], but we weren't going to stop it by complaining," Schwartz told the court

"We saw a handset bypass our brand and licensing restrictions...we decided to grit our teeth and support it so anyone supporting it would see us as part of the value chain.”

Former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, has already taken the stand and claimed that no concerns were raised about Java when Android was launched.

“My understanding is that what we were doing was permissible because of the sum of my experiences and interactions I had," Schmidt told the jury.

The combination of the testimonies and the Schwartz blog post could be a blow to Oracle, which acquired Sun in 2010 and has pursued Google for patent infringement.

The trial, which kicked off on 16 April, is expected to last eight weeks.