Google has confirmed to VentureBeat that it will stop using Java APIs in Android with the next release of the OS. The company will be doing this to avoid a copyright lawsuit from Oracle.
The company will instead use OpenJDK, an open source version of the Java Development Kit offered by Oracle.
“As an open-source platform, Android is built upon the collaboration of the open-source community,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. “In our upcoming release of Android, we plan to move Android’s Java language libraries to an OpenJDK-based approach, creating a common code base for developers to build apps and services. Google has long worked with and contributed to the OpenJDK community, and we look forward to making even more contributions to the OpenJDK project in the future.”
Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems — the owner of Java — in 2010, and quickly went ahead and sued Google for using the Java APIs without permission in Android. The legal battle between the two companies lasted for more than two years until a court in 2012 said that APIs cannot be copyrighted and that Google did not infringe on any of Oracle’s patents. This decision was partially reversed by the Federal Circuit in 2014. The case was also submitted to the Supreme Court for hearing, but it was declined and has now been sent back to lower courts.
The case is still ongoing, and Google might just end up paying Oracle millions (if not billions) of dollars if a court rules that APIs can be copyrighted and that Google should have taken Oracle’s permission before using Java APIs in Android. By switching over to OpenJDK now, Google will at least be able to safeguard the future versions of Android from any such copyright lawsuits.