<IT WORLD> Oracle threat to
Android By Martin J
HUA HIN, Thailand - This week's legal showdown in the technology industry has been between Google and Oracle over the use of Java on Android.
seeking up to a billion dollars in damages and a court order
blocking distribution of Android unless Google
pays for a license. If the court rules in Oracle's
favor it could spell a major shakeup of Google's
Android platform, the smart-phone market, and
possibly rewrite the rules for the software
Oracle is claiming copyright
violation, specifically Google's use of 37
application programming interface packages (APIs)
for the Java programming language without paying
licensing fees. Google has
said it didn't need a
license to use the language, which is free, when
it developed Android, now running on more than 300
million devices, according to Bloomberg.
Oracle, which acquired Java along with its
buyout of Sun Microsystems, has been angling for
the search giant since the 2010 purchase. Deals
were brokered but nothing evolved that satisfied
both sides, Google offered payment to make the
case go away but Oracle wanted more and has now
turned to the courts to decide.
have said that Android handsets could cost more if
Google loses this suit - which is good news for
rivals Apple and Microsoft - and a wave of further
lawsuits against Android is bound to follow.
The software development industry itself
could come under heavy scrutiny following an
Oracle victory as complex legal restraints would
need to be introduced into the development of new
or existing platforms and operating systems. This
in turn would stifle innovation and probably kill
the concept of open source software.
Google victory would mean that third party
hardware manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC
could go about their business without fear of
lawsuits over the software partner they choose and
would not have to fear making large payouts for
loading Android onto their devices.
future of Android hangs in the balance with this
suit as it is based largely on Java APIs. If the
platform needs to be written again from the bottom
up or becomes toxic to vendors they may well
switch to Microsoft's Windows mobile operating
system, which may be the only outright winner in
has unveiled the naming system for Windows 8 and
has kept things simple with only two editions for
x86 and 64bit architecture: Windows 8 and Windows
Windows 8 will be the general
consumer edition and full version of the operating
system; the Pro edition will be for technicians
and business users and features more
administration functions such as encryption,
virtualization, PC management, domain
connectivity, and a Media Center add-on pack.
The full comparison between the two
versions can be found on the Windows Blog.
A third version called Windows RT
will be available for systems running ARM-based
processors. This will be lacking in a number of
the functions found in the other two editions. The
desktop mode found on standard Windows 8 will be
missing and the RT edition will not support
emulation for existing x86 software. It will be
limited to using apps created for the Window's
Windows RT serves more as
a stand-alone edition of the operating system,
which will not be available for download and only
come pre-installed on ARM based mobile devices,
hence the omission of the "8" moniker.
latest nomenclature appears to derive from the
esoteric coding term "runtime", something only
hardcore techies will remember from years gone by,
and not exactly in tune with the modern
trend-seeking consumer who appears more fanatical
about the prefix "i".
In order to unseat
the iPad from its throne, Intel and Microsoft have
teamed up to release a slew of x86 tablets running
Windows 8 towards the end of this year. A number
of hardware manufacturers including
Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and
Toshiba, have also joined the foray with the
Acer and Lenovo
specifically plan to launch sub-US$300 devices to
target Android units such as Amazon's Kindle Fire.
Higher-end tablets priced up to $1,000 will be
eyeing the iPad.
Email More than
5-million Gmail users were without email earlier
this week for an hour or so when the system went
down. Google posted a "temporary error" notice at
the top of people's empty in-boxes.
explanation has been given by Google, which was
quick with a fix but offered only this message:
"We've implemented a fix and users should now be
able to access their mail. We apologize for the
Gmail has a generally good
up-time service but has suffered outages before,
in 2011 and 2009. Business and commercial users
should exercise precaution if relying solely a
web-based, advertising driven, email provider for
Young is an Asia Times Online correspondent
based in Thailand.
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