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Clash of the Titans, Round 4322

April 20, 2012

Quick post… The Register has a good round-up of the Google/Oracle court tussle that’s ongoing.  If you’re a tech or legal geek, I’d suggest you go read the whole thing twice.  But here’s one or two highlights.  First, my comment.

Everyone in the tech industry has Google on the radar.  Google has enough of a reach to touch all things tech, and they still haven’t proven that they can win even a simple lawsuit.  So it’s easy to test the waters on how exposed they are with the easy stuff, and then that allows future, harder suits to have a strategy.

So let’s be clear.  This is pretty simple from the surface.  Google needed a robust software platform for Android.  Sun had one.  Google borrowed it within what they thought were reasonable limits.  Oracle is smart enough to realize that Google over-stepped.  So there.

The “What the hell” strategy is in Google’s DNA: there are echoes of the Google Book project and Google’s acquisition of YouTube. In each case it knew it was potentially in the wrong, and acquiring huge liabilities. But it pressed on.

I like that… the “What the hell,” strategy.  That’s Google in a nutshell.  I’ll note that it’s not bad, and it fits with the more loose definition of property and privacy that seems to be present in Gen Y.

So… it doesn’t look great for Google. The principle is if you use someone’s stuff you pay for it, or invent your own. But as I pointed out earlier this week, it’s a peculiar situation. Oracle’s victory might not get it the damages it wants – the judge has consistently scorned the size of these claims – and it may extend copyright into new areas, causing huge confusion for the industry. But the case falls into a murky area where simple, clear sensible law should exist. When that happens, the lawyers are the biggest winners

I somewhat disagree with this as a premise.  Oracle wants damages, but most of this is posturing for future lawsuits as I said above.  I’ll be very interested to see how Oracle, Apple, and many others square off with Google… oh, and Facebook is next up, just watch.

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