Technological advances have been credited with accelerating the pace of globalization. Unfortunately, globalization – including multi-national initiatives such as the EU single market – has unwittingly caused casualties among middle and working class people around the world due to widespread outsourcing, offshoring, and the easing of border security in the case of the EU. The crisis of middle east migrants into Europe has not made things easier, and the repeated domestic and international terrorist attacks of the past several months have made things worse. These factors help to explain the Trump phenomenon in the U.S., the recent Brexit vote in Europe, and the surge of far-right movements in France, Austria, the Netherlands and other EU countries against immigration, international trade agreements, and dramatic income inequality. Coming full circle, tech companies cannot afford any longer to ignore their role in addressing these issues if they are to avoid being scapegoated sooner or later by enraged citizens manipulated by cynical political leaders.
In 2010 Oracle sued Google over patent infringement regarding the use of 37 Java APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) when it developed the Android OS for smartphones. The latest of three lawsuits – following the original 2010 case and the 2012 appeal – just ended in favor of Google. Software developers, enterprise customers, users, and industry participants can all breathe a sigh of relief. Assuming this verdict sticks it will reinforce current business practices around APIs, and in the process help the API-fueled growth of startups and others developing APIs for new business and consumer applications to continue.