From CNET: Google and Oracle faced off Wednesday before the US Supreme Court in a multibillion dollar battle that could have a major effect on how companies develop software in the future.
The two tech giants are clashing over the architecture of Google's Android operating system, the dominant mobile software on the planet. At the center of the fight is a question of copyright protections for application programming interfaces, or APIs, which govern how code communicates with other bits of code.
Android was built in part by using APIs from Java, which was developed by Sun Microsystems. Oracle bought Sun in 2010 and later sued Google for allegedly illegal use of the software. Oracle has said it's owed almost $9 billion in damages.
For Google, the investment in Android paid off. The software powers almost nine of every 10 smartphones shipped globally. Beyond phones, Android is run on more than 2.5 billion devices altogether, including TVs and car dashboards.
The legal saga, a decade in the making, has taken twists and turns to reach the nation's highest court. Google won the first major battle in 2016, only for an appeals court to reverse the decision two years later. Google repeatedly petitioned the Supreme Court to take the case, and last year the court said it would hear it. Oral arguments were originally expected in March but were pushed back and conducted virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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