Google and Oracle are in a fierce court battle right now over Java, which was developed by Sun Microsystems, who today doesn’t exist since they were swallowed up by Oracle in 2010. Before that acquisition took place, Andy Rubin, who is considered to be the “Father of Android”, was pleading with Sun to make Java open source, and surely enough Sun actually liked the idea. In fact, they wanted to help Google with Android by making a pure open source version of the operating system. Google would have paid Sun between $25 and $50 million if the partnership went through, and might have also given them a share of the revenue Google would make on ads. All this information comes from court documents, such as internal emails and presentations, that have recently been made available. The most interesting detail from said documents is the reason Google wanted to jump in the mobile operating system in the first place. They were scared of Microsoft. Rubin himself said this in an email circa 2005 or 2006:
It is widely believed by that if an open platform is not introduced in the next few years then Microsoft will own the programmable handset platform: Palm is dying, RIM is a one-trick pony, and while Symbian is growing market share, it’s becoming a Nokia only solution.
Quite an accurate description of the mobile scene at the time. Now does any of this matter to you? Not really. It’s about as important as figuring out the character arc of your favorite vampire or werewolf in True Blood. Worst case scenario is Google will have to give Oracle some money. Best case scenario, they don’t. End of story. The rapid growth of Android isn’t going to stop, Google’s thirst for patents isn’t going to be quenched, and the wheel of the mobile industry will just keep on spinning, faster and faster.
[Additional reading: ComputerWorld]