Displaying items by tag: Oracle

Oracle v Google: the software copyright case of the decade

Written on Thursday, 08 October 2020 09:26

Ten years after Oracle first sued Google over the code used in its Android platform, the two tech giants are finally facing off in the Supreme Court.

The dispute concerns about 11,500 lines of code that Google used to build its popular Android mobile operating system, which were replicated from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems – a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle since 2010.

Oracle sued Google shortly afterward, arguing that the company’s use of the code violates its ownership rights. Google, on the other hand, has said the code it copied was purely functional, and that its own engineers authored all of Android’s code that could be said to be creative and subject to copyright protection.

Not only are billions of dollars at stake but also the law of copyright in the internet era, and which types of code will be subject to protection. The blockbuster dispute is sure to capture the attention of Silicon Valley as it could have far-reaching consequences for the future of software innovation.

Where did it all begin?

Oracle v Google is an ongoing legal case dating back to 2010. The dispute centers on the use of parts of the Java programming language's application programming interfaces (APIs), which are owned by Oracle, within early versions of the Android operating system by Google. Google has admitted to using the APIs, and has since transitioned Android to a copyright-unburdened engine, but argues their original use of the APIs was within fair use.

Oracle initiated the suit arguing that the APIs were copyrightable, seeking US$8.8 billion in damages. While two District Court-level jury trials have found in favor of Google, the Federal Circuit court has reversed both decisions, asserting APIs are copyrightable and Google's application of them failed a fair use defense. Google successfully petitioned to the Supreme Court to hear the case in the 2019 term, focusing on the copyrightability of APIs and subsequent fair use. This ruling is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

What’s happening now?

The difficulty of this case is that the world is very different now to what it was when the case was filed a decade ago.

Both companies have changed hands — the lawsuit began while Larry Ellison was still at the helm of Oracle and Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Google. Similarly, three Supreme Court seats have been vacated since the last time Google asked the high court to review its case; one justice has retired and two have passed away — most recently, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The trial, held this week via teleconference, intends to explain programming to a non-technical jury who will subsequently set precedent for the future of copyright law.

Google lawyer Thomas Goldstein told the justices that the disputed Java code should not receive copyright protection because it was the “the only way” to create new programs using the programming language. “The language only permits us to use those,” Goldstein said.

Chief Justice John Roberts suggested Google still should have paid Oracle for a license to Java. “Cracking the safe may be the only way to get the money that you want, but that doesn’t mean you can do it,” Roberts said.

Justice Neil Gorsuch questioned Goldstein on whether Google had simply piggybacked on Oracle’s innovation. Gorsuch asked, “What do we do about the fact that the other competitors, Apple, Microsoft ... have, in fact, been able to come up with phones that work just fine without engaging in this kind of copying?”

Google has said the shortcut commands it copied into Android do not warrant copyright protection because they help developers write programs to work across platforms, a key to software innovation.

Court observers found that while the Justices seemed to side with Oracle on the copyright arguments, they also took deference to the arguments presented by Microsoft, who had taken Google's side on the case. Microsoft argued in an amicus brief that ruling in Oracle's favor could upend the software industry.

Several justices noted how consequential a decision in the case could be. “I’m concerned,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. told a lawyer for Google, “that, under your argument, all computer code is at risk of losing protection.”

What impact will the outcome have?

The case is of significant interest within the tech and software industries, as numerous computer programs and software libraries, particularly in open source, are developed by recreating the functionality of APIs from commercial or competing products to aid developers in interoperability between different systems or platforms.

If this ruling is allowed to stand, it is believed that companies will be forced to implement deliberately incompatible standards to protect themselves from the risk of complex litigation, moving away from the current trends in software development which have focused on improving interoperability between different services allowing apps to communicate with one another, creating more integrated platforms for end users.

Several of the court’s conservatives, including Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito, noted that Google’s allies had warned that the “sky will fall” if Oracle won. 

“We are told if we agree with Oracle we will ruin the tech industry in the United States,” Roberts said at one point to Malcolm Stewart, a Justice Department attorney who represented the United States and argued in favor of Oracle. 

It is clear that the Supreme Court is divided over this landmark case. Some of the eight justices expressed concern that Google simply copied Oracle’s software code instead of innovating and creating its own for mobile devices. Others emphasized that siding with Oracle could give software developers too much power with potentially harmful effects on the technology industry.

A ruling is expected by the end of June.

Published in Government

Oracle-TikTok deal wins US approval

Written on Monday, 21 September 2020 09:57

US President Donald Trump has given his approval to the proposed deal between ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart for TikTok’s US operations. The announcement was made a day after the US Commerce Department issued an order prohibiting business with WeChat and TikTok in order to protect national security.

The agreement will see the establishment of a new company called TikTok Global, with four US directors out of five. Together, Oracle and Walmart would hold 20 percent of the new company, for a still undisclosed price. The final transaction will need to get approval from the relevant US government agencies, as well as from Chinese authorities.

Oracle will take a 12.5 percent stake in TikTok Global and will store the data of US data in its own cloud infrastructure. Oracle CEO Safra Catz said Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud.

Oracle already announced that it was chosen to become TikTok’s secure cloud technology provider. The company believes this technical decision by TikTok was heavily influenced by Zoom’s recent success in moving a large portion of its video conferencing capacity to the Oracle Public Cloud.

“TikTok picked Oracle’s new Generation 2 Cloud infrastructure because it’s much faster, more reliable, and more secure than the first generation technology currently offered by all the other major cloud providers,” said Oracle Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison.

“In the 2020 Industry CloudPath survey that IDC recently released where it surveyed 935 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) customers on their satisfaction with the top IaaS vendors including Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM and Google Cloud.... Oracle IaaS received the highest satisfaction score.”

“As a part of this agreement, TikTok will run on the Oracle Cloud and Oracle will become a minority investor in TikTok Global,” said Oracle CEO Safra Catz. “Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale, and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud. We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world. This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”

ByteDance rejected Microsoft’s offer for its TikTok operations in the US and chose Oracle as “trusted tech partner”. Microsoft had indicated at the beginning of August that it was interested in acquiring TikTok's US operations, but later announced that bid had been rejected.

Microsoft expressed disappointment in the rejection and said it was confident its proposal would have been good for TikTok users, while protection national security interests. 

"ByteDance let us know they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft," the US tech giant said in a statement.

 "We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," it added.

Published in Government

TikTok rejects Microsoft, chooses Oracle as “tech partner”

Written on Monday, 14 September 2020 07:25

ByteDance has rejected Microsoft’s offer for its TikTok operations in the US and has reportedly chosen Oracle as “trusted tech partner”.

The Oracle bid would next need approval from the White House and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, with both parties under the belief it would meet US data security concerns.

TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between the US and China, and President Donald Trump has given Americans a deadline to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance – effectively compelling a sale of the app to a US company.

Microsoft had indicated at the beginning of August that it was interested in acquiring TikTok's US operations, but later announced that bid had been rejected.

Microsoft expressed disappointment in the rejection and said it was confident its proposal would have been good for TikTok users, while protection national security interests. 

"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft," the US tech giant said in a statement.

 "We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," it added.

Under the deal with Oracle, at least some of ByteDance’s existing investors will get stakes in the venture. These investors include Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. Meanwhile, Walmart said in a statement that it is thinking of joining Oracle and that it is still in talks with ByteDance “leadership and other interested parties.” 

Sources said Oracle is mainly interested in TikTok to boost its cloud-computing business. For Microsoft, owning TikTok would have helped the company build its presence among everyday consumers, and given it more data on young users.

Downloaded 175 million times in the United States, TikTok is used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones. It has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.

TikTok meanwhile has filed a lawsuit challenging the crackdown by the US government, contending that Trump's order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform is not "an unusual and extraordinary threat."

Controversially Trump has demanded that the US government get a cut of any deal, which critics contend appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

Bidding for TikTok comes amid a broader deterioration of relations between the world's top two economies in recent months, with the US and China locked in fierce recriminations over trade disputes, human rights and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Published in Finance

Oracle joins Microsoft, Twitter in race to buy TikTok

Written on Tuesday, 18 August 2020 08:08

Software giant Oracle is weighing a bid to join Microsoft and Twitter in the race to acquire part of TikTok, it is reported.

Oracle is “seriously considering” buying TikTok US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to the report.

The Financial Times sources added that ByteDance is also working with investment firms such as General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital to find a buyer. 

The US government has ordered TikTok parent ByteDance to sell off its US operations within 90 days. Under the emergency order, the US government will also have the final say on who gets to buy the Chinese company’s operations

China meanwhile slammed Washington for using "digital gunboat diplomacy" in the TikTok case.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said TikTok had done everything required by the US, including hiring Americans as its top executives, hosting its servers in the US and making public its source code.

But the app has been "unable to escape the robbery through trickery undertaken by some people in the US based on bandit logic and political self-interest," Zhao said at a regular press conference.

TikTok separately announced an alliance with music distribution platform UnitedMasters, playing to budding artists and their fans despite US steps to bar the popular app.

The deal to integrate UnitedMasters into TikTok promised to build on a trend of the platform being a way for musicians to be discovered by posting short-clip videos.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Published in Finance

Zoom selects Oracle Cloud to support video call demands

Written on Wednesday, 29 April 2020 10:47

Instead of going with cloud giants Amazon or Microsoft, Zoom announced it had picked Oracle as a cloud infrastructure partner to support its rapid growth and evolving business needs as the enterprise video communications company continues to innovate and provide an essential service to its extensive customer base.

Oracle, in collaboration with Redington, a leading distributor and an Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) partner operating across Middle East and Africa launched a dedicated Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) in Dubai to enable knowledge share and ready availability of Oracle Cloud to help Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN)members develop and implement transformative cloud projects across the Middle East.

Oracle unveils world’s first autonomous database cloud

Written on Wednesday, 04 October 2017 13:08

Oracle Chairman of the Board and CTO, Larry Ellison, has unveiled his vision for the world’s first autonomous database cloud. The next generation of the database, Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud, uses machine learning to enable automation that eliminates human labor, human error and manual tuning, to enable high availability, performance and security at a much lower cost.

“This is the most important thing we’ve done in a long, long time,” said Ellison. “The automation does everything. We can guarantee availability of 99.995 percent, less than 30 minutes of planned or unplanned downtime.”

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud eliminates the human labor associated with tuning, patching, updating and maintaining the database. It includes capabilities such as ‘self-driving’ by providing continuous adaptive performance tuning based on machine learning. It automatically upgrades and patches itself while running and automatically applies security updates to protect against cyber-attacks.

The autonomous database is also capable of ‘self-scaling’ by instantly resizing compute and storage without downtime. Cost savings are multiplied because it consumes less compute and storage than Amazon, with lower manual administration costs. The solution is also capable of ‘self-repairing’ by providing automated protection from downtime.

SLA (service level agreement) guarantees 99.995 percent reliability and availability, which reduces costly planned and unplanned downtime to less than 30-minutes per year.

The Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud handles many different workload styles, including transactions, mixed workloads, data warehouses, graph analytics, departmental applications, document stores and IoT. The first Autonomous Database Cloud offering, for data warehouse workloads, is planned to be available in 2017.

Fujitsu and Oracle have formed an alliance to help organizations in Japan, and their subsidiaries around the world, move their enterprise workloads to the cloud.

Oracle cloud application and platform services - such as Oracle Database Cloud Service and Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud – will be hosted in Fujitsu data centers in Japan and Fujitsu will “work to drive sales of robust cloud offerings to companies in Japan and their subsidiaries around the world.”

Specifically, Fujitsu will install the Oracle Cloud services in its data centers in Japan and connect them to its K5 service to deliver enterprise-grade cloud services.

Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 supporting OpenStack, VMware and bare metal and is described as “a next generation cloud platform specifically created to enable efficient, easy and cost effective enterprise level digital transformation, [offering:] a universal platform, consolidating workloads to increase operational efficiency; an open platform, maximizing interoperability; integration of legacy systems with new technology, saving money; enterprise-class - 99.99 percent availability and performance predictability across the technology stack.”

The first Oracle Cloud application offered to Fujitsu customers under the joint offering will be Oracle HCM Cloud. As part of the agreement, Fujitsu will implement Oracle HCM Cloud for the management of its workforce worldwide.

The president and CEO of Oracle Japan, Hiroshige Sugihara, said: "We strongly believe this cloud alliance will support Japanese companies to drive digital transformation. This will be a gateway for customers to achieve standardization, modernization and globalization. This initiative will differentiate us from other cloud providers by emphasizing real enterprise cloud solutions, while offering Japanese companies access to best of breed technology in the new cloud era."

Fujitsu and Oracle have had a relationship since 1989 and Fujitsu is now an Oracle Partner Network diamond level partner providing system integration services worldwide.

BT and Oracle announced on June 29 that they are working together to help organizations across the world take advantage of performance, cost and innovation benefits of the cloud. Oracle customers will be able to leverage the high performance, reliability, and security features of the BT Cloud Connect environment to gain direct connectivity to the Oracle Cloud.

While organizations understand the promise and many benefits of the cloud, many are concerned about security and performance issues associated with cloud technologies. This is especially true for business-critical enterprise workloads that frequently demand high levels of availability, security and performance. Together, BT and Oracle are aiming to remove those barriers to cloud adoption by providing options for connectivity from hybrid enterprise data centres to the Oracle Cloud.

With BT Cloud Connect for Oracle FastConnect, customers can use a private connection based on BT’s IP Connect VPN service, which is designed to predictably, securely and consistently exchange large volumes of data between the Oracle Cloud and their own on-premises environment. BT will connect directly to Oracle’s Cloud locations in Amsterdam and London, giving customers access from anywhere in the world to services provided in European data centres. Through pre-provisioning via BT Cloud Connect, BT can cut the typical dedicated connection deployment time from months to days.

The Oracle Cloud is used by many of the world’s largest organizations. It supports 70 million users and more than 34 billion transactions each day and runs in 19 data centres around the world. With the Oracle Cloud, customers can take advantage of the broadest and most integrated public cloud portfolio across all layers of the IT stack, while also having the choice to bring the Oracle Cloud into their own data centres via the recently announced ‘Oracle Cloud at Customer’ offering. 

Oracle FastConnect is part of Oracle IaaS, and intended to enable organizations to quickly meet IT and business goals by leveraging a set of core capabilities such as elastic computing, networking and storage. This news builds on BT’s Cloud of Clouds portfolio strategy by allowing its multinational customers to connect to the cloud through a centrally managed high-speed network with highly predictable performance, reliability and embedded security features.

Luis Alvarez, CEO Global Services, BT, said: “Direct and reliable access to data and applications hosted in cloud environments has become critical to organizations as they embark on their digital transformation journeys. We are accelerating our drive to be the world’s leading cloud services integrator and I am proud that BT is becoming the first global network services provider to offer direct access to the Oracle Cloud.”

“Cloud is the fastest growing part of Oracle’s business,” said Thomas Kurian, president of Product Development, Oracle.  “This partnership will help our customers leveraging the Oracle Cloud execute on their business strategies by taking advantage of the breadth and depth of BT’s global network and its Cloud Connect offering for their high bandwidth connectivity needs.”