Court rules that Google owes Oracle for unfair use of Java in Android

Oracle logo
Oracle logo (Image credit: Android Central)

For nearly 8 years, Oracle and Google have gone back and forth in a lawsuit in which Google was accused of unfairly using Java for the development of Android. The two companies have had their fair share of wins and losses over the years, but now a federal court in California has settled things once and for all.

The court ruled that Google didn't have the proper rights to use Java to the extent that it did when creating Android, and as such, might have to pay up big time to Oracle. It's unclear how much Google owes, but during a trial in 2016, Oracle demanded $8.8 billion in damages.

Although Java is a free and open-source programming language, Oracle says that things change when it's used to power a physical device or to enhance a competing platform.

Java was originally developed by Sun Microsystems Inc. in 1995, but Sun was then purchased by Oracle in 2010 for $7.4 billion in January of that year. Eight months later, Oracle sued Google.

Speaking on the matter, Sun Microsystems co-founder, Scott McNealy, said —

[Java] is the foundation upon which our digital world is built. Google stole that foundation, used it to build Android, and destroyed Oracle's market in the process.

Google previously argued that it did no wrong seeing as how Java was made for desktops and Android was a mobile operating system, but as we can now see, that wasn't a good enough reason for the courts.

Do you think the court made the right decision? How much should Google be liable for? Sound off in the comments below.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.