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Android Fail: Evidence That Google Copied Oracle’s Code?

It looks like Oracles accusation that Google illegally copied their code has some merit after all!

Florian Mueller (who blogs about software patents) was able to to an in depth comparison between Oracle’s original Java and the code used by Google’s Android with results that would make every Android lover cry geek tears.

In addition, I have identified 37 files marked as “PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL” by Sun and a copyright notice file that says: “DO NOT DISTRIBUTE!” Those files appear to relate to the Mobile Media API of the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit. Unless Google obtained a license to that code (which is unlikely given the content and tone of those warnings), this constitutes another breach. […]

In version 6.0 the file has a GPL 2 header. Google said in its formal response that Oracle had omitted “copyright headers”. That is correct, but now that I have seen two versions of the original file, I don’t think that the missing parts are favorable to Google. Actually, the opposite is true. Whether under a proprietary license or the GPL, the related code could not be legally relicensed under the Apache license by anyone other than the right holder (Oracle/Sun). (FOSS Patents)

Note: Emphasis theirs.

This could not come at a worse time for Google who is currently in the midst of a leadership reshuffling (which means that Larry Page will have to answer the press regarding this debacle).

If Mueller’s analysis is correct, Google’s poaching of Oracle’s code will come at a hefty cost, as the company will probably seek licensing fees from not only Google, but from every manufacturer using the software as well.

While this news will probably not kill off Android (as Oracle would gain more from its survival than the mobile OS’s demise), it could help push manufacturers into the hands of Android’s upcoming nemesis (hint: Windows Phone 7).

Image Credit: Engadget

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