James Gosling, who is often called the Father of Java, has been chiming in on the recent litigation between Oracle and Google.
There are some alternative narratives that are noteworthy in Gosling’s recent blog posts. Namely that Google’s Android project was started as more of a defense against Apple (AAPL) rather than a new revenue opportunity for Google (GOOG). He recalled meetings with Google when the two companies were discussing licensing Java for Android:
Android was purchased by Google in 2005, two years before the iPhone was even introduced. But this theme has been played before…
Vic Gundotra, (1:00 above) who started at Google in mid 2007, at about the same time that the iPhone was released, parallels this account at Google I/O. Google’s motivations were more to stop Apple than to find a new revenue stream.
Both stories seem to have some timing abnormalities, however. The iPhone wasn’t a success until at least late 2007. I suspect that in Gundotra’s case, he and Andy Rubin were talking about Windows Mobile/Blackberry/etc. in mid-2007 (he never specified Apple in the video above, but it made for good theater).
As for Gosling, Google probably had multiple versions of Android going before release (Rubin’s background is with DangerOS, which was mobile Java-based), including some Mobile Java. At some point before the G1 was released in 2008, they decided to bail on Sun and build their own Dalvik VM. That’s why they are getting sued today.
It is interesting, however to hear another account of Android’s birth being more of a defensive measure against Apple’s encroachment into Google’s searching and advertising space.
The best offense is a good defense?