Monday 29 June 2009

No Java SE 7 - US DOJ investigation

There are signs that the US Department of Justice is interested in the Java licensing issues I've reported on recently.

Department of Justice

As part of the Oracle takeover of Sun, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has been investigating the deal for antitrust/monopoly issues. There is normally a fixed time limit of 30 days for these investigations. On Friday, however, the DOJ decided to extend the period.

Wall Street Journal report (cached):
The extension by the Justice Department is unusual. The department typically only extends investigations "in a small percentage of mergers," said Samuel Miller, an antitrust attorney at Sidley Austin LLP, adding that the department likely "determined that there were issues of competitive concern that required seeking additional information."
Still, the extension doesn't mean the Justice Department will move to block the deal, said Mr. Miller. Often in these cases, the acquirer agrees to certain conditions or to divest some assets, he said.

However, what was most interesting was Oracle's press release in response to this:

Oracle press release:
Oracle issued the following statement, attributable to Dan Wall, Latham & Watkins counsel to Oracle:
"We've had a very good dialogue with the Department of Justice and we were almost able to resolve everything before the Second Request deadline. All that's left is one narrow issue about the way rights to Java are licensed that is never going to get in the way of the deal. I fully expect that the investigation will end soon and not delay the closing of the deal this summer."

The second sentence is quite a teaser. It clearly indicates that the DOJ is concerned about the licensing of Java, something that I've hopefully shown is critical to every Java developer.

Of course we have no knowledge of the detail here beyond this bare statement. But if I were to speculate, I'd be thinking that the DOJ has noticed the ASF-Sun dispute and the amount of power the JCP gives the owner of Java, and are thinking about how to handle them.


The US Department of Justice is concerned about the licensing of Java. Lets hope that they get some good advice on the issues (oh, and if you're from the DOJ and reading this, feel free to contact me!!!)