Jun 1, 2012

API judgement - A brilliant no-brainer

Well, the verdict is in, and the US judge has ruled that APIs are not copyrightable, at least not in the context of this particular lawsuit.

To any programmer it may seem ridiculous that an API that merely defines an interface to a program (which offers real functionality and is stored elsewhere) should be copyrighted. After all, Kernigham and Ritchie would have made billions simply copyrighting 'Hello World!' or some such nonsensical fragment of code.

It took a judge who understands programming and can hardly be fooled with '200 pages of code' as some were trying to do to arrive at this brilliant decision, that is also a no-brainer in one way.

There are three main legal challenges Android is facing - from Apple, mostly on design issues, from Microsoft - mostly on patents and from Oracle on Java. Of the three it could be argued that the most serious ones were from Oracle. Microsoft is always happy to license - selling the rope that would that strangle Windows phone to death, as is already happening. It has managed to shake down a lot of vendors, but then many of those vendors would happily pay for anything to keep M$ happy particularly if it does not hurt their bottom line significantly anyway. Apple's patents are also facing significant challenges and many may not survive and the ones that do will be worked around with minimal disturbance. As HTC is doing and as Samsung has already done.

So it can be said with confidence that Android (and Chrome, which is similar) can now march confidently forward and claim more and more market as well as mind share.

That can only be good for end users and consumers.

No comments: