The Oracle vs. Google trial is in its fourth day in a federal courtroom in San Francisco. Oracle is trying to prove that Google trespassed on its copyright and patents on the Java programming language, while Google maintains it has done no wrong.
There's plenty of speculation -- and not just about the case itself. Some say Oracle is suing Google because Steve Jobs, friend of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, was angry at Google for swiping Apple's intellectual property in its iOS platform. Others say Oracle is suing Google to save face after a poor Sun acquisition.
Meanwhile, Google CEO Larry Page sat in court on Wednesday and offered testimony similar to President Reagan's in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s: "I don't recall." That led some to argue Page is feigning amnesia.
How nasty is this going to get before a verdict comes down -- and before the appeal after appeal that is likely to follow unless Oracle and Google decide to settle?
No Sanity Ahead
We caught up with Laura DiDio, principal analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, to get her thoughts on the unfolding battle of the tech titans. Based on what she's seen, she is betting it's going to get a lot crazier before common sense and sanity are inserted into the mix.
"For its part, the Google executives -- Larry Page and Sergei Brin -- believe that they have made a reasonable effort and overture to Oracle to settle in that they at least made the first move," DiDio said. "The ball was in Oracle's court to offer a counterproposal, but as we all know, Oracle nixed that and now both sides are slugging it out in court."
DiDio noted that Oracle's attorney, David Boies, famously represented the U.S. Department of Justice in its protracted antitrust suit against Microsoft in the 1990s. Boies is known for his expertise in patent matters and has a reputation for tenacity.
Duking It Out to the End
"It's highly unlikely that any judge will peremptorily pull Android off the market. So at its heart the case is really about money: royalties and licensing fees," DiDio said. "I think both sides would be better served by working with a mediator and saving themselves lots of time, money and legal fees."
As she sees it, dragging this out in court will cause both Oracle and Google to suffer from having company executives, engineers, software developers and product managers take time out of their schedules to give depositions and to testify at the trial.
"It looks like Google's Page and Brin are quite happy to pick up the gauntlet that Oracle's Ellison has thrown down," DiDio said. "And given that all of the principals in this litigation are multibillionaire Silicon Valley heavyweights, who's going to tell them to halt the hostilities?"