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One of Google’s top Android lieutenants comes to Samsung’s defense against Apple

One of Google’s top Android lieutenants comes to Samsung’s defense against Apple

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The lawsuit between Apple and Samsung does not have Google's name attached to it, but that hasn't kept the company from being involved. Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company's current VP of engineering for Android took to the stand today to aid in Samsung's legal counter-battle against Apple, an effort that focused on the very beginnings of the mobile operating system.

In testimony, Lockheimer described the early days of creating Android at Google, something he said involved a "grueling" work schedule with 60 to 80 hour workweeks. "We'd work really late at work ... all hours," Lockheimer said. "They continue to be grueling," he added.

"I was blown away."

Lockheimer joined Google in 2006, after working at both Microsoft and Palm. He left mobile security company Good Technology after a simple email from Android founder Andy Rubin asking him to come look at something the group was doing. "We're doing something here I think you might be excited about," Lockheimer recalled Rubin saying. "He gave me a demo of what they were working on, and I was blown away," he added. From there, the team grew from less than 30 employees to the "600 to 700" that are a part of the group now.

Samsung is using Google in its case to help establish that many of the features in its phones — including some that are on trial here — were designed by Google and not Apple. That's part of Samsung's argument that Apple's gone after it to indirectly attack Google since it's the largest, and so far most successful Android hardware manufacturer. Nonetheless, companies like Samsung still develop their own custom software, though one of the devices that's a part of the lawsuit is a Galaxy Nexus, a device that runs a "pure" or "vanilla" version of Android without any additional Samsung features.

"[Manufacturers] were really into it."

Much of Lockheimer's testimony involved explaining to the jury, who had spent much of the past two weeks hearing about Apple's operating system, about Android. That includes how Google develops the software and offers it to hardware manufacturers like Samsung. Lockheimer noted that manufacturers initially did not take Google seriously. "The people at the manufacturers realized we were serious and saw merits," Lockheimer said. "They were really into it."

People pick web search 98 percent of the time

Samsung also relied on Lockheimer to pick apart some of Apple's claims, including that there was any value in its patented features. One of those features is universal search patent, which lets users search both locally on phones, as well as the internet at the same time. Lockheimer brought up internal Google data that said given the option, people would click on the web search instead of something stored locally on the phone, 98 percent of the time.

Apple's lawyers took offense to that statistic, saying the logs were from a newer version of Google's Android and search box tool, and did not include earlier versions. Apple also poked at Lockheimer's (and Google's) role in the trial, suggesting his appearance on the stand could be confusing to the jury.


Apple rested its case earlier today, after nearly five days of court. The last part of that was focused on how much Apple wants to wring from Samsung in the case, which is $2.191 billion in damages. As expected, Samung's argued that figure is too high, while poking holes in Apple's request for about $40.10 per device for more than 37 million devices sold between late 2011 and the end of 2013.

Lockheimer is one of several Google employees involved in the trial, which is set to run through the rest of the month, though one of the most senior. Nine others are named as witnesses or set for depositions in court filings, including Google software engineers, user experiences researchers, and company lawyers.