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Oracle has a virtual monopoly on cross-platform, virtual computing machines | 287 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Microsoft Antitrus does not help
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 05 2013 @ 09:47 PM EDT
>It stands to reason that in the absence of a Monopoly
question, or ordered to do so, they would *not* have to
open up their API's.

It is true that if Microsoft had not been a monopoly, they would not have been
required to publish their API's--they could have kept them secret (and changed
them arbitrarily to break interoperability).

But in that case, what everyone recognized and accepted was that, with or
without Microsoft documentation, ANYONE (most specifically, the Samba people)
was free to implement the API's for themselves (however they discovered what
those API's were.) And that is what Google (and its four dozen leading lights of
computer science, engineering, and law) assert should continue to be true.

Again, Samba had implemented the Microsoft API's before the court case. Nobody
questioned their right to do that. Microsoft simply assumed that as a monopoly
they could change the API's maliciously to cause the Samba project difficulties
(you'll recall the exact same modus operandi in the Novell case.)

Which is, of course, exactly what is being claimed by all those amici Googli,
including the inventors or lead engineers of, let's see, IBM 360, Q-DOS
(MS-DOS), the first and second spreadsheet programs, the ARPANET, the Mozilla
browser, a half dozen computer languages including Snobol and C++.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Oracle has a virtual monopoly on cross-platform, virtual computing machines
Authored by: Ian Al on Thursday, June 06 2013 @ 03:02 AM EDT
I may have missed obvious alternatives to Java in widespread use.

Even though Dalvik is now rivalling Java, that was not the case when the court
case was started. It only provides good competition because the Java API was not
closed.

Oracle's action is a good explanation of why legally barring anti-trust activity
promotes competition and benefits the public.

---
Regards
Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Please read the fine amici curiae brief
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 06 2013 @ 04:30 AM EDT
From the fine amici curiae brief:
Oracle seeks to achieve through the Copyright Act what the European Commission and United States Department of Justice determined that Oracle and Microsoft should not be permitted to achieve through mergers and anti-competitive business practices.
The question you raise about forcing Oracle to open up the Java APIs is completely irrelevant. The Java APIs are already known far and wide. The only question is whether or not it is legal to copy them. As the first, anonymous, response to your post points out, this was never even a question during the Microsoft anti-trust actions you refer to. Back then, everyone knew it was perfectly legal to copy APIs so the question never arose.

The comparison to Microsoft's situation highlights how ridiculous Oracle's claims are. Back then no one dreamed of forcing Microsoft to release its source code because it was well known that implementation source code is protected by copyright. It was equally well known that APIs are not covered by copyright so forcing them to release the APIs was not considered to be a breach of Microsoft's copyright. IOW, if, as Oracle claims, APIs really were protected by copyright then forcing Microsoft to make its APIs public would have been pointless since, according to Oracle, it is illegal to copy an API without a license even when every detail of the API is publicly available. This is exactly what the fine brief says. The fact that the remedy only involved making the APIs public clearly demonstrates that all parties concerned knew APIs are not protected by copyright.

Unless Microsoft was forced to relinquish the copyrights for the APIs (they were not) then the Microsoft incident does not at all support Oracle's story that APIs are already covered by copyright. Please remember that Oracle is claiming Alsup's ruling has upset the status quo. They are basing their appeal on the false premise that in recent history APIs were already covered by copyright. The Microsoft incident clearly shows that Oracle's story conflicts with reality.

Q: How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?

A: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Microsoft Antitrus does not help
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 06 2013 @ 07:06 PM EDT
In the US vs Microsoft, they were ordered to open up their API's. This was because MS is a monopoly. It stands to reason that in the absence of a Monopoly question, or ordered to do so, they would *not* have to open up their API's.
In US v. Microsoft, MS was ordered to disclose their APIs, which previously had been secret, in order to facilitate interoperation with Windows. They were not required to abandon any rights under copyright to those APIs, which would have been necessary for interoperation were APIs protected by copyright in the first place.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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