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Judge Skewers Oracle Attorney For Revealing Google, Apple Trade Secrets (arstechnica.com) 68

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The federal judge who presided over the Google-Oracle API copyright infringement trial excoriated one of Oracle's lawyers Thursday for disclosing confidential information in open court earlier this year. The confidential information included financial figures stating that Google generated $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profits from the Android operating system in the wake of its 2008 debut. The Oracle attorney, Annette Hurst, also revealed another trade secret: Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to include Google search on iPhones. Judge William Alsup of San Francisco has been presiding over the copyright infringement trial since 2010, when Oracle lodged a lawsuit claiming that Google's Android operating system infringed Oracle's Java APIs. After two trials and various trips to the appellate courts, a San Francisco federal jury concluded in May that Google's use of the APIs amounted to fair use. Oracle's motion before Alsup for a third trial is pending. Oracle argues that Google tainted the verdict by concealing a plan to extend Android on desktop and laptop computers. As this legal saga was playing out, Hurst blurted out the confidential figures during a January 14 pre-trial hearing, despite those numbers being protected by a court order. The transcript of that proceeding has been erased from the public record. But the genie is out of the bottle. Google lodged a motion (PDF) for sanctions and a contempt finding against Hurst for unveiling a closely guarded secret of the mobile phone wars. During a hearing on that motion Thursday, Judge Alsup had a back-and-forth with Hurst's attorney, former San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. According to the San Francisco legal journal The Recorder, Haag said that her client Hurst -- of the law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe -- should not be sanctioned because of "one arguable mistake made through the course of a very complex litigation."
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Judge Skewers Oracle Attorney For Revealing Google, Apple Trade Secrets

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  • i'm hungry.
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @06:08PM (#52950101) Homepage Journal

    Kind of boggles my mind that the google thinks they made $22 billion profit on $31 billion revenue from Android. Talk about magic money? Some kind of projection of the effects of Android's success on their stock prices? Already we're dealing with fantasy here.

    However, my two primary reactions were sadness and amusement.

    The sadness is at the loss of the google's innocence. I used to think they were sincere about the "Don't be evil" thing, but now they are just another giant EVIL company and the corporate motto has become "All your attention are belong to us." I can't decide whether I was a gullible fool or if the transition was just inevitable under the rules of the American business game as encoded into law by the most cheaply bribed politicians.

    The amusement is from watching them battling it out. I think Apple is probably the least evil of the three companies, but I can't believe any of them are innocent babes in the woods. It would suit me fine if they all died in the arena of their stupendous greed, though I guess Oracle is the greediest and most evil, which probably means Oracle will win. (Omens of Trump?)

    • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday September 23, 2016 @09:23PM (#52951137)

      Kind of boggles my mind that the google thinks they made $22 billion profit on $31 billion revenue from Android. Talk about magic money? Some kind of projection of the effects of Android's success on their stock prices? Already we're dealing with fantasy here.

      Why does it boggle the mind? Most of the Android revenue is licensing. Google doesn't have a lot of cost when it comes to licensing.

      However, my two primary reactions were sadness and amusement. The sadness is at the loss of the google's innocence. I used to think they were sincere about the "Don't be evil" thing, but now they are just another giant EVIL company and the corporate motto has become "All your attention are belong to us." I can't decide whether I was a gullible fool or if the transition was just inevitable under the rules of the American business game as encoded into law by the most cheaply bribed politicians.

      Again, why? Sure Goggle has done some evil things but you're saying making money is inherently evil. How do you think Goggle can afford to be not evil as a company. Some money has to come in from somewhere.

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        With regards to your first question about the $31 billion in revenue and the $22 billion in profits: The marginal profits seem a bit excessive. For example, they could put some of those profits into improving the security model.

        Regarding your second question, you are touching the heart of the matter, but you don't seem to see the obvious. There are good business models that are aligned with the best interests of all of the people who are involved. There are also bad business models that increase the EVIL, a

        • With regards to your first question about the $31 billion in revenue and the $22 billion in profits: The marginal profits seem a bit excessive. For example, they could put some of those profits into improving the security model.

          Let me see if I understand you new complaint. Google spent $9B in cost for Android. $9B which included security and you are complaining they should have spent more. How would you know? Google didn't break down the cost into how much it spent on each component.

          Need I remind you that no one is forced to use Android. And that Android is open source.

          No matter how large the profit, there is a bigger number available. You can't cure greed with any amount of cash or booze.

          No you missed the whole point. Google is a business. It has to pay for its operating expenses somehow. You seem to think that being altruistic will keep their doors

          • by shanen ( 462549 )

            Maybe you could clarify your position with the same questions the other fellow ignored. What amount of profit would you regard as obscene? Also, do you understand natural monopoly?

            However, mostly I feel like just saying "Drop me a line when you figure out this whole freedom thing." My basic position is that reduced freedom is an indicator of evil at work. If I had that freedom, I might well be satisfied with a superior PDA.

            • Maybe you could clarify your position with the same questions the other fellow ignored. What amount of profit would you regard as obscene?No

              No, why don't you answer my questions first. So your argument now is the amount is obscene therefore Google must be evil. You still haven't clarified how much you want Google to spend on security even though you don't know how much they spent.

              Also, do you understand natural monopoly?

              I understand that Android is not one. From wikipedia:

              A natural monopoly is a monopoly in an industry in which high infrastructural costs and other barriers to entry relative to the size of the market give the largest supplier in an industry, often the first supplier in a market, an overwhelming advantage over potential competitors

              Android wasn't the first supplier in the industry. If we are talking OS, Windows Mobile was way earlier than Android. Also, again, Android being open source against presents many opportunities against monopolization.

              • by shanen ( 462549 )

                It's kind of hard to take you seriously, but I'll make an attempt. I rather think I'm wasting my time and would recommend you do some background reading. However, the areas of your apparent ignorance are so broad that I am hard pressed to suggest a starting point.

                In the case of a natural monopoly, excessive profits can become quite harmful. I think the obvious solution in the case of a true natural monopoly is careful government regulation and special taxation, with some of the tax revenue being invested in

                • It's kind of hard to take you seriously, but I'll make an attempt. I rather think I'm wasting my time and would recommend you do some background reading. However, the areas of your apparent ignorance are so broad that I am hard pressed to suggest a starting point.

                  Logical fallacy: personal attack

                  Why don't you answer the original question instead of insulting people: How much would you like to spend on Android security given that you know almost NOTHING about how much was spent? We know only that it was than $9B.

                  In the case of a natural monopoly, excessive profits can become quite harmful.

                  Logical fallacy: presupposition

                  You've already taken the position that Android is a natural monopoly yet you have to demonstrate that it is one.

                  You don't seem to understand the definition in Wikipedia, but it does talk about first mover advantage. There is some confusion there, but it's easier to use Windows as an example because a solution is also obvious.

                  Logical fallacy: strawman

                  I said that it is obvious that Android is not a first mover AND that being open source that

                  • by shanen ( 462549 )

                    Maybe you are sincere, but I've concluded that this thread is just a waste of time. Maybe it's just an artifact of inline posting that makes you look like an intellectually dishonest Sophist, but we don't need another religious war on that issue.

                    Good day, sir. I'm sorry you wasted so much of your time, but even sorrier that you wasted so much of mine.

                    • Maybe you are sincere, but I've concluded that this thread is just a waste of time.

                      From the very beginning you made statements as if they were facts. When challenged, you have yet to answer basic questions on your statements.

                      So let's start again: You said that Google should have spent more money on Android security. How much money should have they spent even though you don't know how much they did spend?

                      Maybe it's just an artifact of inline posting that makes you look like an intellectually dishonest Sophist, but we don't need another religious war on that issue.

                      Logical fallacy:ad hominem

                      I'm not asking you to describe atomic physics; I'm asking you to clarify your own statements. Are you saying you have no answer to clarify your own statements?

                      Good day, sir. I'm sorry you wasted so much of your time, but even sorrier that you wasted so much of mine.

                      Lo

                    • by shanen ( 462549 )

                      What part of "waste of time" were you unable to understand?

                      If this had been an actual discussion, recent news would be worth mention.

                    • What part of "waste of time" were you unable to understand?

                      Logical fallacy: pooh-pooh

                      Why are you bothering to comment on it if it's a waste of time? Or is it that you can't even explain your arguments much less support them. Most of your responses is one logical fallacy after another.

                      If this had been an actual discussion, recent news would be worth mention.

                      Logical fallacy: changing the subject

                      And why would recent news be worth mentioning? The whole point of the article is about what Google has made in profit on Android in the year of lawsuit. Since we have no new detailed financial data from Google on this topic, it is only speculation.

                    • by shanen ( 462549 )

                      What part of "waste of time" were you unable to understand?

                      Or perhaps I should ask why you value your own time so little?

                    • What part of "waste of time" were you unable to understand?

                      You're still commenting on this so obviously it's a waste of your own time to explain the gibberish you wrote above or do you not understand the logic of your own statements that you cannot explain yourself. Also do you understand what a logical fallacy is? You seem to be on repeat.

                      Or perhaps I should ask why you value your own time so little?

                      Logical fallacy: begging the question

                      Why don't you just answer a question for once instead trying to deflect?

                    • by shanen ( 462549 )

                      What part of "waste of time" are you continuing to be unable to understand?

                    • What part of "waste of time" are you continuing to be unable to understand?

                      You're still commenting. I think "Missing the obvious" is beyond your comprehension at this point.

                    • by shanen ( 462549 )

                      What part of "waste of time" are you unable to understand?

                    • What part of "waste of time" are you unable to understand?

                      Logical fallacy: Argumentum ad nauseam

                      Your posts remind me of MacBeth: "It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing."

                    • by shanen ( 462549 )

                      What part of "waste of time" is too complicated for you to understand?

      • Why does it boggle the mind? Most of the Android revenue is licensing. Google doesn't have a lot of cost when it comes to licensing.

        I think most of Android's revenue is from the Play store, not licensing. In fact, I don't think Google charges anything for the Google apps, and it really couldn't charge anything for Android, since it's open source.

    • No, that's about the right amount of gross profit for a successful software platform. Microsoft tends to make around 60-70% gross margins [ycharts.com], and they are predominantly a software company. So yeah - 70% gross margin sounds about right.
      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        Okay if that's how you feel. At what point would you regard the profits as harmful or even obscene?

        I hope I'm not confusing you, but I'm also going to ask if you understand what a monopoly profit is? Also, do you understand the concept of a natural monopoly?

        Pretty sure this is stretching you much too far, but if you understand the problems, do you have anything like a remotely constructive solution?

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Kind of boggles my mind that the google thinks they made $22 billion profit on $31 billion revenue from Android. Talk about magic money? Some kind of projection of the effects of Android's success on their stock prices? Already we're dealing with fantasy here.

      However, my two primary reactions were sadness and amusement.

      The sadness is at the loss of the google's innocence. I used to think they were sincere about the "Don't be evil" thing, but now they are just another giant EVIL company and the corporate mot

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        I'm not sure what your point is, but I was definitely NOT saying that there was something wrong with their strategy for making profits. My point would be more along the lines that large American companies are forced to become evil in the pursuit of increasing profits (and no amount of profit is ever a "solution" to their "problem of needing larger profits), which leaves us in the position of always choosing among evils, greater or lesser.

        You focused on the google, but if you think "Don't be evil" is still r

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would not put them past this legal strategy:

    Use litigation to obtain proprietary information.

    Leak a little to get Google nervous.

    Use that as leverage to help force a settlement.

    Illegal? Absolutely. But they'll probably get away with it.

    You all know Oracle's real motives, right? Oracle's products won't scale in to to the truly world scale big data future without patents that Google controls. Google's been there since day one. Oracle's products are great, but they won't be 10 years form now.

    Their existence

    • Oracle's products are great

      The problem with talking out of your ass is that everyone can smell your bullshit.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Great is a relative term. They are behind a whole lot of very big and very important and very (most importantly) expensive systems.

        You do pay out the nose for them. Their licensing terms can be found in the dictionary under the word "draconian". They are a terrible company and the man that heads them is also found in the dictionary, under the word "asshole"

        They are great in the sense in that they generate enormous amounts of revenue for Oracle, which is all Oracle (and Oracle's shareholders) cares about.

      • The database is solid. Weblogic is ok (though I prefer Tomcat & JBoss). Their products that sit on top of Weblogic are... a great big steaming convoluted pile once you look under the hood. But if I were them and trying to play the long game, I would put a ton of resources into streamlining and stabilizing those products so that they were actually good. A lot of companies buy them, and if they weren't so damned hard to install, configure, customize and maintain they could get more of that money direc

  • I am also suspicious of the concept of trade secrets and proprietary information in general. Come on, people, what happened to that big talk we were going to have about ethics and intellectual property and culture and stuff?
    • Trade secrets are fine, but it's on the company to keep them secret.

      From the KFC recipe (which is NOT what was recently all over the news) to the Coke recipe, the owners of the secrets have to keep the secrets. If they slip up, they don't get squat when it gets out.

      Further, these are financials, which every investor has a right to know, not trade secrets. If Google really thought there were secrets they had a right to keep from the public they wouldn't have let Oracle get the info in the first place. The

      • Somehow I don't like the idea that people can keep the details of what they are offering me for the purpose of putting it into my body a secret. Not that the tools for managing that information is all that great... and they really ought to be a whole lot better than they are currently. The company that provides my health care is just now getting all their people on one system and there are no guarantees regarding exchanges of information between health care companies.
      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        And those figures *WOULD* have remained secret, except the court said, "Give them to Oracle for the trial".

      • You don't have any clue about how confidential information is handled in litigation, do you?
        • Of course I do.

          Confidential or privileged information is withheld or redacted by the owner during discovery and the court is notified what was withheld or redacted and why. Unrelated information is also withheld.

          In situations where lawyers for one party have direct access to the other party's data, they're expected to be ethical and not go diving for shit unrelated to the case at hand. In instances where parties can't agree about what should be turned over, what or how much should be redacted, etc. the co

  • That's the kind of info that should be available to all shareholders. No court order should have been issued to try to prevent it from being disseminated.

    Oracle's complaint has merit. Google is going to take Android and put it on the PC, or rename Android, or leverage Android's mobile position to achieve the same effect of unification across mobile and PC.

    Oracle's claim is that Google plans to use Android, which absolutely did copy both Java and Java APIs, to compete in a space Oracle is in. Google got a

    • Maybe true but "Judge is Retarded " wont get you anywhere in the court case .
    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday September 24, 2016 @07:29AM (#52952755)

      That's the kind of info that should be available to all shareholders.

      Nope, Not the court's decision. It's management's decision to publish to shareholders or not.

      And the information they revealed could have negative repurcussions against them as a business.

      This is the kind of thing that should have resulted in a default judgement against Oracle and sanctioning their lawyers against participating in further cases.

  • ...strenuously stated that the lawyer should not do that again.
  • by CaptainOfSpray ( 1229754 ) on Saturday September 24, 2016 @05:18AM (#52952485)
    "Haag said that her client Hurst -- of the law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe -- should not be sanctioned because of "one arguable mistake... "

    No, it's an open-and-shut case of contempt of court. Lawyers are supposed to, like, know the law.

    Yet again, lawyers think they should be above the law, unlike the rest of us.

    Go on, Alsup, jail her or expect this to be used as a precedent..

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