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Google chief, lawyer spar in lawsuit

Associated Press

Larry Page, chief executive of Google, was called to the stand in a copyright lawsuit.

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc.’s chief executive, Larry Page, spent nearly an hour in a federal courtroom Wednesday deflecting questions about his role in a copyright dispute over some of the technology in his company’s Android software for smartphones.

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

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

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

On Tuesday, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison acknowledged he wanted to compete against Android in the smartphone market before deciding instead to sue his potential rival, alleging 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 powers more than 300 million smartphones and tablet computers.

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