To hear Florian Mueller tell it Google is doomed.
In addition to its other legal troubles involving Android, it may have grossly violated the General Public License (GPL), taking copyrighted work willy-nilly from open source and turning it into the semi-proprietary Dalvik.
Well, since it's St. Patrick's Day, we'll quote a little Finian's Rainbow. Things are desperate, but not serious.
True, Google may have to pay. But that's just money. Google can make money, a lot of money. What all those suing Google will fail to do, Microsoft and Oracle and the rest, is to drive either Android or Google out of the market.
In the end, the market's interests trump the law. In America they always have. That's our secret as a country. A lot of my friends on both the right and left like to bemoan this fact, but there it is.
That's also the answer to the other big open source problem of our time, video codecs. Microsoft understands the reality so Google's WebM is coming to Internet Explorer 9 , and never mind what MPEG-LA thinks of it.
All these battles come, once again, to the purpose of “intellectual property,” of copyright and patent rights. It is to encourage the creation of more. There is no doubt that Android has encouraged creation, and no doubt that the Web has done so. There's no doubt that Google itself has been a boon to the economy, in fact to all mankind.
What we may argue about, in the end, is how to distribute some of these gains. That's the game lawyers like to play. They're detail-oriented, they're OCD in the extreme. They don't create anything, which is why I am so glad I didn't become a lawyer. It's not a good place for the ADD mind, and being on the wealth creation end of things is a lot more fun than being on the re-distribution side.
The last decade has proven that open source is a wealth creator, not a wealth destroyer. The last decade has proven that open source can open markets that have been closed. No one is going to close it down.