For those who pay close attention to Google’s legal troubles (and there are many troubles to track), the Oracle case has been an exciting, if veiled, case to follow. It started back in August of 2010, when Oracle indicated that it would be suing Google for violation of patents that Oracle recently acquired in its purchase of Sun Microsystems. Sun, best known as the company behind Java, had been looking to sell for some time, and Google themselves passed up an opportunity to snag the company for $7.4 billion (U.S.).
The choice not to pick up Sun seemed like one of the biggest mistakes in Google’s acquisition history. When Google attempted to have the Oracle lawsuit filed “under seal,” Oracle made it clear that public awareness was important. According to Oracle, at that time, the damages would reach into the “billions.” A more specific figure of $6.1 billion was released thereafter. What exactly did Google do to warrant such a massive number? They built certain systems within the Google Android OS around Java.
Google has been insistent that they acquired rights appropriately for all Java used and have claimed that Oracle inflated their figures beyond reason. A judge agreed with Google on July 21st, but cautioned both Oracle and Google that they needed to be more reasonable in their approach to resolution. As part of that ruling, Oracle was told their initial case filing couldn’t seek any more than $100 million. Simultaneously, however, Oracle was granted permission to detain Larry Page for up to two hours so they could determine whether Google was willfully infringing on the code.
The smaller figures are certain to be displeasing to Oracle, but it’s also likely to speed up the case substantially. While Google made indication previously of considering a settlement for this case, the initial response to the new figures indicates that Google may be interested in paying to have this case shut down.