Google (GOOG) is one of the most fabled names in global tech, the unrivaled leader of Internet search with a market capitalization of about $293 billion. It’s also a punching bag for all manner of corporate competitors that trash talk the company with all the subtlety of a NFL linebacker.
Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison this week called Google “evil” for allegedly infringing on its patents by using 37 of its Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for the Android mobile operating system. (Oracle acquired Java with its 2009 acquisition of Sun Microsystems.)
Google has argued that it didn’t do anything wrong because the Java programming language is free to use, and the APIs are required to use the language. Oracle has unsuccessfully sued Google over the matter.
As Ellison told CBS This Morning Host Charlie Rose:
We don’t compete with Google. We don’t do anything Google does. We just think they took our stuff and that was wrong. That’s a completely separate issue … I think what they did was — was– absolutely evil.
Here’s a link to the entire interview:
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s (MSFT) co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates also took at swipe at Google over one of its projects to increase Internet connectivity in the developing world by floating broadband transmitters on balloons. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Gates said:
When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.
Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they’re just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor.
Then there is the mother of all anti-Google rants that late Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs made to biographer Walter Isaacson, in which he claimed that Google lifted proprietary secrets from its iPhone research to launch Android.
I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong, I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.
Finally, back in 2009, Dow Jones (NWS) Chief Executive Les Hinton likened the Internet search giant to a vampire “sucking the blood” out of the newspaper business. “[It] didn’t actually begin life in a cave as a digital vampire per se. The charitable view of Google is that the news business itself fed Google’s taste for this kind of blood.”
Well, Google may be unloved, but it can take consolation in this fact. Over the last year, its stock performance has smoked its biggest competitors in tech.
Photo Credit: Duncan Hull