Windows Phone may be built on old code, but at least it's not stolen [schadenfreude] (Updated)

Back in December, Andy Rubin, who helped create Google's Android platform was asked about Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 at All Things-D. In turn he gave a response that came off a bit...well...glib and it made the 'rounds of the interwebs fairly quickly. Specifically, Rubin said this about WP7:

You just have this package of stuff that was invented before the Internet. When the architects built that product [Windows CE and Windows Mobile], they didn't have the Internet in mind.

So the implication being that since WinCE has code from 20 years ago ergo Windows Phone 7 must not be as good as Android. We're not sure what one has to do with the other as s Joe Belfiore pointed out Android --> Linux --> Unix, so there may be some old code there too.

But while Windows Phone may have some underlying "old" code in its kernel at least, as far as we know, Microsoft hasn't stolen any of it.  In a well known lawsuit, Oracle is suing Google over their use of Java in Android, claiming patent infringement. Today, FOSSpatents blog has found evidence of 43 source files directly copied from Oracle's Java code. Or as Engadget put it: "Google copied Oracle's Java code, pasted in a new license, and shipped it."

It will be interesting to see how the courts rule on this case and hey, perhaps some of this actually falls under the GPLv2. Either way, we'll take old code over the legally-disputed, potentially patent-copying type any day. Own it Google.

Update: Our pals at Android Central point us to a ZDNet story this afternoon that changes things a bit. Apparently the code that was "copied" and pointed out in the FOSSpatents blog actually isn't part of Android. That doesn't change the fact that there's still a lawsuit going on between Oracle and Google or that we're pleased with our old code.

Update 2: Engadget has rebuttal against the "it doesn't count" viewpoint, pointing out that legally speaking it may not matter. May be worth a read.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Google always trying to bash others even if they weren't differents.It's a shame the "traditional press" still label this kind of company as "revolutionary".
  • Oooh, burn! Love the schadenfreude tag. lol
  • One thing I noticed, for a company that considers itself 'not evil', they sure are mouthy...
  • isn't wp7 using zune OS which is somewhat new code?
  • No. Windows Phone 7 is based on Windows CE 7.
  • Is Rubin a programmer? Any good programmer knows that new code is not always better code. In fact, it is older, time-tested code that is often less buggy and better performing because most of the initial bugs have been worked out and years of review and work on the same code base help developers find the most efficient way to do something.And speaking of old code, most Android users are running old code anyway, as we all know how difficult it is to find a phone maker who will actually release Android updates in a timely manner, if at all. At least Microsoft will be making an asserted effort to keep all Windows Phone 7 devices on the latest update or, if there is carrier intervention, at most only one update behind.
  • I was going to write something quite lengthy about the state of the issue with Android and how, even though the code in question was test code, it still applies to fact that the license was changed but it turns out that Nilay Patel did quite a nice job of that over at Engadget, which I now present to you.