NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There's always been a lot to like with database giant Oracle (ORCL) -- even though its CEO Larry Ellison tends to go out of his way to step on a few toes and dare you to make him apologize for it. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Google (GOOG) are a couple of examples of recent rifts with Oracle.
Ellison has always had an eccentric personality and Oracle has taken on a reputation of being somewhat of a nonconformist company. The company doesn't seek out confrontation, but has always had a unique way of managing its competition. It's strategy has worked brilliantly until its match-up against Google over its use of RIM's Java application. That fight is ongoing and the outcome is unclear.
Oracle vs. Google: Is It Worth It?
On Monday, a federal jury determined that Google's Android software for mobile devices did in fact infringe on Oracle's copyrights of Java -- a programming system that Oracle owns by virtue of its Sun Microsystems acquisition two years ago. But the court was not able to answer the most important claim of copyright violation.At this point it is hard to say with any degree of certainty whether or not it was a "real" victory since the jury was unable to conclude whether Google's use of Java was legally permitted under "fair use" protection. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. Oracle was seeking damages of up to $1 billion dollars, but it is unclear whether this will be awarded. On the announcement, Google issued a request to the judge to declare a mistrial, suggesting that the issues of fair use and infringement are one and the same and therefore linked. The judge advised that the request would be considered but also issued an order to commence the next phase of the trial. At this point, investors have to wonder how this battle with Google will impact Oracle's performance both in near and long term. Is it worth it? There are numerous examples where litigation has impacted a company's performance -- Microsoft's (MSFT) antitrust battles with the government in the mid-to-late 90's were said to have had a significant adverse affect on the company's performance by creating a distraction. But if any management team is able to handle this challenge and overcome the obstacles, it is Oracle's.
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