Android wins in Oracle vs. Google lawsuit

by Kristen Nicole

After more than a week of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict for the patent infringement case between Oracle and Google. It’s the Android ecosystem that came out the winner, as the jury found that Google did not infringe on Oracle’s patents. There were eight different claims in play for this high-profile court case, across two separate patents: RE38,104 and 6,061,520. Given this decision, there’s no need for the damages phase in the multi-part court drama. As Google and Oracle recently agreed to postpone any damages hearings, the jury has also been dismissed.

The Oracle vs. Google case was a trying one for both parties, and stood to impact the open source community at large. And the complexities of this case haven’t disappeared just because the jury’s gone. They did in fact find that Android infringed Oracle’s Java copyrights, but was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on whether this was covered under fair use. As far as patent infringement, the jury found Google guilty on one count – the nine lines of rangeCheck Code – and presiding Judge William Alsup added his ruling that Google also infringed with its use of eight Java test files in Android.

Still more questions remain. Judge Alsup must rule on whether the SSO of the Java APIs can be copyrighted at all. Additional briefs will be presented from both Oracle and Google today, though it’s not certain when Judge Alsup will make his final decision, especially as he’s taking off the next two days for “personal reasons.” When all is said and done, Oracle stands by its claim that Google knowingly fragmented Java, while Google calls this a “victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem.”

An Android ecosystem for all

And that’s an ecosystem that continues to grow, accounting for 90 percent of Q1 smartphone shipments this year and taking up 59 percent of the market share for the same quarter, according to the latest IDC report. That’s a 145 percent increase from Q1 of 2011, while comparatively iOS grew 88 percent. Apple’s mobile OS represented 35 percent of Q1 shipments this year, and has 23 percent market share for the same quarter. Despite Android’s dominance over Apple, it’s really BlackBerry and Windows Phone that are losing out, as RIM’s mobile OS share actually dropped 30 percent since 2011, and Microsoft’s market share remains stagnant.

But Microsoft is hoping to make a few gains in the coming year, having completely revolutionized its market play with the upcoming Windows 8. An integrated approach for its connected devices mimics Apple’s tactics, but Microsoft also has its own line of apps and services that will be distributed across the field. Reports have emerged that Microsoft is looking to release Office for both Android and iOS. The launch is expected for November, though Microsoft’s already denied these latest rumors.

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