Google vs. Oracle: How Their Lawsuit Could Change Your IT Department
Oracle's lawsuit against Google is well under way, and the outcome could have profound effects on many IT departments. With so many IT departments switching to Android devices, a ruling handed down against the Android creator could cause some major changes to all Android operating systems. If Google continues to use the Java script they are being sued over, it could lead to major fines and fees, which could raise the price of all Android devices. Of course, until a ruling is handed down, the outcome is all purely conjecture--but it is something IT departments at midsize businesses should be looking at now in order to be prepared for judgement day.
As it stands, Google is being sued by Oracle for using a portion of Java code that the Android owner claims was open source and therefore free to use, according to CNET. As most IT professionals know, open source does not mean free, which is what has landed the two technology giants in court. While Google claims that the few pieces of Java code that Android uses were in the public domain, it seems that even the bigwigs on the Android team knew they needed to get permission to use the code from Oracle. Failing to get that permission has now caught up to the mobile giant.
If Google admits fault and chooses to quit using the Java code, there could be mass updates to Android operating systems in the near future. This could result in coding changes for the millions of applications on the Android market. For IT departments that also maintain applications for company Android devices, this would result in a mad scramble to keep applications up and running. Users could also find difficulty with the switch if their older applications are not updated.
The other result could be fees and fines handed down against Google. This would likely lead to an increase in prices for all Android devices. Even a company as large as Google is unlikely to eat the cost of fines and fees without passing those costs on to the consumer. For many IT departments, this would be the preferable option, depending on the increase in prices. Recoding applications for multiple devices could easily cost more than a price increase for devices.
The outcome of this court case could also have a profound effect on open source software across the technology sector. If a ruling is handed down in favor of Google, there is a good chance that the amount of open source products could quickly decrease. While open source products are free, rarely do their creators expect their hard work to be pulled apart and used in for-profit applications. If the judge rules that this is okay, many creators of open source products will have a lot of decisions to make in regards to keeping their hard work from being used without permission.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.