Larry Page says Android is important but not critical to Google's success

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During questioning in an ongoing legal battle with Oracle, Google CEO Larry Page said that Android is important but not critical to the company’s success. He further proclaimed that he would have preferred to enter a business partnership with Sun Microsystems rather than going down their own path.

The lawsuit stems from Google’s use of certain parts of Java in their Android mobile operating system. Oracle, who acquired Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion a few years ago, claims that Google didn’t obtain the necessary licenses to use Java in Android. The search giant says that Oracle can’t copyright certain parts of the “open-source” programming language.

When asked if he could cite another company that had used the “free” part of Java without licensing, Page replied that he was “not an expert” on the subject.

Oracle was initially seeking damages as high as $6.1 billion but Google narrowed the claims down from seven to only two patent violations. Oracle is now seeking around $1 billion in total damages from the search giant.

In a bit of related news, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was on the stand the day before where he told the court that his company considered entering the smartphone market but didn’t have the in-house expertise to create their own device. They looked at RIM and Palm as acquisitions but determined the BlackBerry maker was too expensive and Palm wasn’t competitive enough. In hindsight, those decisions likely were the right ones.

Reuters expects the trial to last up to eight weeks under US District Judge William Alsup in the District Court, Northern District of California.

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