Today’s Supreme Court Hearing On A $9 Billion Case Involving Oracle And Google Could Reshape The Software Industry
In a landmark moment in the history of the U.S. software industry, the Supreme Court held a hearing today on a long-running legal dispute that pits tech giants Oracle and Google against one another.
The case centers around whether or not a key foundation of today’s increasingly software-driven economy—blocks of code known as “application programming interfaces”, or APIs—is subject to copyright protection. Oracle claims Google infringed copyright when it used elements of the Oracle-owned Java programming language to build its Android operating system, which now powers billions of smartphones and other devices. Google denies the claim, which involves about 11,500 lines of code out of millions of new lines that it wrote to create Android. The two companies have been battling one another in the courts for over a decade, with Oracle demanding $9 billion in compensation.
The outcome of this epic legal fight matters because APIs, which enable different software applications to talk to one another and swap information, are essential for building larger systems. Developers at startups and large companies have been copying them for free for years and using them to knit together complex tapestries of applications that power online commerce platforms, advanced manufacturing facilities and other elements of modern digital economies.
If the Supreme Court ultimately rules Google did infringe Oracle’s copyright when it copied the Java APIs in question, it could trigger a tsunami of litigation as other companies seek payments for their APIs too. Google’s supporters, which include Microsoft and IBM, argue this will prove a costly headache for many companies. Some fear it will also have a chilling effect on startups and further boost the immense power of cash-rich tech platforms—including, ironically, Google itself—that are already under intense political and regulatory scrutiny.
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- Legendary tech investor Bill Gurley told CNBC on Friday that the stock market reminds him of the late ’90s dot-com bubble.
- “There is certainly what I would call a highly speculative nature to the markets today, a willingness to take on risks, a willingness to get excited about projects that may be five or 10 years in the future,” the Benchmark partner said.
- Other investors like Stanley Druckenmiller have drawn similar conclusions about today’s technology stocks.
Legendary venture capitalist Bill Gurley told CNBC on Friday that the stock market reminds him of the late-1990s tech trading environment that led to the dot-com bubble.
“There is certainly what I would call a highly speculative nature to the markets today, a willingness to take on risks, a willingness to get excited about projects that may be five or 10 years in the future, that we haven’t seen since the ’99 time frame,” the Benchmark partner said.
He added: “I really can’t speculate or know exactly what it was, or the confluence of events that led to that, but we are living in a more speculative technology market for sure.”
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Other investors have echoed these concerns about frenzied traders pushing technology stocks into dangerously high territories. The top five tech stocks — Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook — make up nearly a quarter of the S&P 500.
Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller said in September that the market was in
Last week— now it’s Google’s turn. The company’s stream Wednesday follows its in August. That event , and the Pixel 4A 5G. They were launched today, along with a new Chromecast and a , the Nest Audio. There were few surprises, however, other than the Hold for Me phone feature, which puts those awful you’re-on-hold-forever calls in Google Assistant’s hands.
The Pixel 5 announcement,, has been leakier than ancient plumbing (or perhaps, , the “leaks” are part of Google’s marketing strategy).
Google’s latest flagship adds 5G support to Google’s rota, and it went live on Google’s store before the announcement. It starts at $699 (£599, AU$999). The camera adds Portrait LIght and Night Sight in portrait to the camera. And with the new phone, Google’s added a big bundle of services called Google One, a la Apple One.
Read our Pixel 5 first take.
The $50 (£60, AU$99) updated Chromecast has a new remote with an Assistant button, plus dedicated buttons for high-profile streaming services. “A more helpful TV” is Google’s tagline for Google TV, which seems to be Android TV: The Next Generation. It updates the recommendation engine and delivers better search results, plus aggregates your streaming subscriptions.
Read our Chromecast with Google TV hands-on first take.
Screenshot by CNET
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