Two different companies, two different strategies.
Since the Apple slammed the door on letting Flash in on the iPhone party, Adobe are betting all their chips and their mobile strategy for the future on the Android platform. The open approach of the Android platform in contrast to the iPhone lets them develop Flash software to run on Android. Since the introduction of HTML5′s multimedia capabilities may diminish the relevance of Flash, if Adobe want to get a foothold in the mobile space they need to do it now before they’re left behind by HTML5.
Oracle meanwhile are hellbent on cashing in on Android’s runaway success (Android phones are now outselling iPhones in the US). Since Oracle bought Sun and are now owners of the Java platform and it’s patents, trademarks etc, they’re suing Google for infringing on the Java patents by developing the Dalvik Java Virtual Machine which runs on Android devices. If Google had played nice with Sun when developing their Java based solution, they would have paid license fees to Sun to certify their platform with Sun’s TCK (Test Certification Kit), however the option at the time for mobile devices would have been to have developed a version of Java ME, which clearly does not offer the same power as Google’s home-grown Java VM solution which is more feature rich than Java ME, but a slightly slimmed down version of Java SE.
In a sense, Google saw a gap to be filled in the Java ecosysterm and built a new product that filled that gap, something that Sun did not have a solution for. Java ME has for years now been a very limited platform for mobile devices given the processing power smartphones now have. Google’s Android takes everything that Java ME had, throws in Java desktop capabilities and other extensions to make Java on a mobile phone a compelling experience, and now they have a platform that (in the US at least) is outselling even the runaway success of the iPhone.
I imagine Oracle and Google will come to some licensing agreement behind closed doors that lets Oracle eat some of Android’s pie. In a way, Google has fragmented Java by branching and creating their own version of a mobile JVM, but maybe this is what the mobile version of Java really needed. Sun couldn’t do it, so Google did it themselves. Maybe Oracle needs to work out a deal with Google for Android to become the new Java ME … ?
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