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Google CEO grilled in court over anti-trust allegations

Larry Page takes the stand in a case taken by Oracle, who claim Google stole some Java technology for the Android OS.

Google CEO Larry Page walks into a federal building in San Francisco earlier today to continue giving evidence in a case against his company.
Google CEO Larry Page walks into a federal building in San Francisco earlier today to continue giving evidence in a case against his company.
Image: Eric Risberg/AP

GOOGLE’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE Larry Page spent nearly an hour in a federal courtroom today, deflecting questions about his role in a copyright dispute over some of the technology in his company’s Android software for smartphones.

The taciturn Page often looked uncomfortable on the witness stand as he sparred with David Boies, a tenacious lawyer who grilled former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. government in 1990s.

In this trial, Boies is working for Oracle, which accuses Google of building its Android software by stealing pieces of the technology from Java, a programming platform that Oracle now owns.

Page rarely looked at Boies and frequently said he couldn’t remember seeing some of the internal Google documents that Oracle is using to build its case.

Page sported a suit and a tie, a departure from his usual casual attire. He had testified briefly yesterday as Oracle’s witness, before the trial in US District Court in San Francisco recessed for that day.

Yesterday Oracle CEO Larry Ellison acknowledged he wanted to compete against Android in the smartphone market, before deciding instead to sue his potential rival for copyright and patent infringement.

Google sought in opening statements to frame the case as Oracle’s response to its own failure to build mobile software. Android now powers more than 300 million smartphones and tablet computers.

The trial began Monday and was expected to last up to 10 weeks.

- Michael Liedtke

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