Oracle vs Google: Android P is for the poisoned platform
Android P: Google launches the first preview for developers
Last week, in a column about instability issues in iOS 11, I wrote the following:
That’s not to say Android is a bad operating system. Android is a great operating system, and it has a lot more potential in vertical markets than iOS because it can be modded.
As a professional mobile platform, I think Android is absolutely top notch.
I cancel this. I was wrong. Android isn’t just a toxic Hellstew, it’s toxic. In fact, Google should just name its next developer release “Poison” because that’s exactly how it should now be classified.
Or if you want something classier, we can use Fish, which is French for fish. Like in it stinks like the dead.
Why did I change my mind? Because the whole question of whether or not Android’s software development API is legally used under copyright law is now brought to the fore.
And for Google and Android, it doesn’t look good. In fact, it looks really bad.
Don’t take my word for it. You can read the full decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Oracle v. Google here.
Google could now very well owe Oracle billions of dollars. Some estimate close to $9 billion, but it could very well be much more depending on how the Android ecosystem and Google’s monetization of that ecosystem is valued.
This directly affects any company that has monetized the Android platform, including software developers and hardware OEMs.
Android is now officially a liability for any company involved in the mobile operating system. Google cannot compensate most of them. The rats will jump from the sinking ship.
Also: iOS is now a toxic hell | Microsoft launches into Android apps for businesses | Android Oreo vs Android One vs Android Go: All Their Differences, Explained | CNET: Why some of the flashiest Android phones aren’t in the US | TechRepublic: These Android smartphone OEMs are delivering the fastest security updates to users
Of course, Google will appeal to the Supreme Court. The appeal could take years. Could the company eventually win out over Oracle? Maybe. But who wants to bet on that?
- Certainly not very conservative companies who are also Oracle customers and may be using third-party Android apps or have written their own for enterprise use, especially in the vertical.
- Certainly not anyone developing cloud-based services that use Android apps written in native APIs as front-ends.
- And certainly, no developer writes Android apps using ART and native APIs.
I’ve said in the past why Java has to die on mobile devices. Now we have another very good reason beyond the purely technical. This is called self-preservation.
And no, I don’t think the move to OpenJDK really absolved Google or Android developers of anything, especially the damage that Oracle can claim to have suffered before the framework was used in Android N.
And now? Where do we go from here?
Well immediately, focusing software development efforts on iOS seems really good right now. It is quite obvious.
For large equipment manufacturers like Samsung, LG or even Amazon, we can expect them to pay Oracle substantial sums to compensate themselves if they have not already done so. So over the next few years, these smartphone giants will likely be able to continue shipping their devices from factories in Asia and importing them into the United States.
But not all smartphone manufacturers. Chinese companies like Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, OnePlus (Oppo) and others that are not well established in the United States and are targeted by our current administration due to political motives could find themselves between the hammer and the sword. prickly place.
Even if they can handle being singled out by the Trump administration and a sympathetic Congress, they may have to ditch the US market, at least in terms of Android. That would be terrible for American consumers, but it’s a very distinct possibility.
While South Korea is our ally and their products don’t face the same scrutiny as those made in China, Samsung might decide that in the long run it’s no longer worth licensing Android and paying exorbitant protection to Oracle.
It might decide to step up its efforts with the Linux Foundation’s Tizen operating system, which uses web standards, not Java, for its API. Samsung is currently using it for its Gear smartwatches, smart TVs and also cheap smartphones for developing markets like India.
And Google? Well, we already know that they work on an operating system called Fuchsia.
It’s almost certainly designed to replace Android as well as its Linux underpinnings. It has an all-new microkernel known as “Zircon” as well as an all-new cross-platform software development framework called “Flutter” along with support for Apple’s Swift programming language.
It’s hard to say how many resources are dedicated to Fuchsia in the company, but with yesterday’s decision, you can be assured that they will now put this development effort into overdrive, especially the code migration tools Android for this operating system.
Not ready for prime time, Fuchsia has just become their mobile operating system lifeboat.
But it could take a while – like years – before Fuchsia is usable and Android software developers feel safe writing code. There are other software development models that are much better equipped to handle their existing codebase than all the tools Google has in an incubator.
The best set of tools in a developer’s Android arsenal right now comes from Microsoft. Yes, you heard me.
Microsoft has spent years developing a cross-platform toolset in the form of Xamarin and .Net, which is capable of producing application code for all major computing platforms, and includes Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and also desktop versions of Linux.
And Microsoft has a huge stable of things with Visual Studio that can help a developer turn a native Android app written on ART into cross-platform deployable code.
And in the future, once this code base has been migrated, it can be restructured so that most of the logic actually resides in the cloud, not on the device. What’s left in the front-end is mostly web service calls and UX rendering type elements.
This is precisely what XAML and Web Forms were designed for, and if you use native Windows 10 apps, you’ve seen how they work.
Does this mean that Windows 10 Mobile will rise from the ashes? No not necessarily. But it does mean Microsoft has a way to help developers detox from Android and its APIs that are now in a legal quagmire.
By moving the codebase to something much more portable, they can run that code on Android, iOS, Windows 10 x86/ARM and Mac today, and any future platform capable of running code natively on which Visual Studio can compile.
Yes, in the long run, it certainly makes Windows 10 Mobile more attractive, especially for Chinese companies that can’t afford to consume Oracle Java licenses and license Google Play components for Android.
And last time I checked, it was free for OEMs producing devices up to 9″. That pretty much covers anything that isn’t a full-size laptop or tablet.
Should Android developers start looking for safer pastures for their application code? Jcome back and let me know.
Previous and related coverage:
Billions at stake as Oracle beats Google in latest legal dusting of Android Java API
Jury rules Google doesn’t owe Oracle money for its use of Java’s APIs in Android, but the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit disagreed and overturned the decision of the jury. Software development as a whole and billions of dollars are now at stake
Oracle CEO Safra Catz Says Oracle Didn’t Buy Sun to Sue Google
Sun’s Java technology was crucial to Oracle’s business, the CEO said on Day 6 of the Oracle vs. Google trial.
Google beats Oracle in copyright infringement case
The internet giant convinced a jury that its use of Java APIs to create the Android operating system amounted to “fair use”.
Safra Catz describes Oracle’s fight against Google in biblical terms
“Thou shalt not steal,” the Oracle CEO recalls telling Google’s chief counsel regarding the Internet company’s use of Java APIs.
Oracle says Android generated $42 billion in revenue for Google
The software giant points to Android revenue to claim that Google owes it billions for using Java APIs in its development of the mobile operating system.