People have been asking the question for months - "Is Google the new Sun?" Well, you can still argue that the answer is "no," but it just became a tougher argument because James Gosling just told us
he started his first day of work at Google.
The short announcement showed up on Gosling's blog this morning and took the Java world completely by surprise:
"I find myself starting employment at Google today. One of the toughest things about life is making choices. I had a hard time saying 'no' to a bunch of other excellent possibilities. I find it odd that this time I'm taking the road more travelled
by, but it looks like interesting fun with huge leverage."
No word yet on what James will be working on, but I wouldn't be surprised if this job offering is connected to Oracle's lawsuit against Android. However, I'm sure a vast number of companies were planning on courting Gosling to join their ranks. It's probably not a coincidence that Gosling has been taking the last year off. It's possible that he was under a 1-year non-compete contract with Oracle.
Although Oracle likely owns everything that Gosling ever developed at Sun, there may be a way that he can help Google out of its legal wrangling with Oracle. One of his patents (RE38,104) is part of Oracle's current patent infringement suit. Of course, I'm not saying that Google didn't also want Gosling's vast programming expertise and creative mind. I'm sure Google understands that they need to use him as more than just a patent shield - and there's no guarantee that he could actually deflect any of Oracle's infringement claims.
The move surprised some because he was previously critical
of Google at the time when Android was first emerging. He also predicted the problems that Android is having right now with keeping all of the handset makers in line with the open source software.
We'll keep you updated if any new information about the hiring emerges.