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Apple Sues Psystar

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 23 comments

It seems as though Apple is taking legal action and suing Mac clone company Psystar. The rumour mills have been kicked into overdrive with a report from ZDNet that Apple has finally filed suit against the company that began touting Mac clones back in April.

A few months back the media was buzzing with the news of these new fangled Mac clones. There were all sorts of issues from the Psystar website, which crashed for long periods of time from the amount of traffic it was experience, to “discrepancies” with the brick and mortar address for the company.

The address was changed a couple of times, including listing the location of a packing company as the Psystar address. These mistakes were rectified once we cut to the chase and called the president of the computer company ourselves. Rudy Pedraza updated the address on the website while on the phone to Tom’s.

Dodgy address listings and site crashes aside, there was also the issue of Open Computers coming pre-installed with Leopard. The end user licensing agreement for Leopard states that the licence allows you to install, use and run one copy of the OS on a single Apple-labeled computer, operative words being Apple-labeled. According to ComputerWorld (which cites a Miami-based lawyer’s blog) Apple’s legal team are pursuing Psystar’s violation of the Leopard EULA.

When we spoke to Psystar President, Rudy Pedraza back in April, we asked about Apple’s EULA for Leopard and reiterated the fact that no one was allowed to use Leopard on a computer that wasn’t Apple-labeled. Pedraza’s response was,

"We’re going to do it whether Steve Jobs likes it or not."

Then again the president also claimed the company was just trying to help Apple and Steve make some more money.

"We’re here to help Steve Jobs. He’s not making enough money. We’re here to help him increase sales."

Somehow we’re not quite sure how that’s going to fly in a court of law. Stay tuned for more.

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  • 0 Hide
    San Pedro , July 16, 2008 4:27 PM
    Filing suit is going to cost them much more money than they'll get out of it. I'm sure the Psystar people have been wisely spending all the money they make or laundering it so Apple won't have much to take. I'm pretty sure this suit is more to dissuade others from doing the same thing.
  • 0 Hide
    Il-Mari , July 16, 2008 4:32 PM
    Anyone know if there's any precedent for a case like this - i.e. a company saying, "You can only use software 'X' on official harware 'Y' (made by us)"?

    In any case, I'm pretty sure they'll have to ditch that policy somewhere along the way anyway, if they actually want to become a significant competitor to Windows, since I doubt competition authorities are going to let such arbitrary rules pass which clearly hurt customers.
  • 8 Hide
    Reynod , July 16, 2008 4:49 PM
    APPLE SUCKZ DOGZ BALLZ !!

    Plain and simple.

    /leaves
  • 0 Hide
    wymer100 , July 16, 2008 6:04 PM
    Doesn't SGI require their hardware to run their OS?

    Apple doesn't have to license their OS if they don't want to. Could Apple increase their marketshare if they licensed the OS to other manufacturers? Sure, but they have made their choice. We can complain about it all we want, but we really don't have much legal say in the matter. Psystar chose to skirt licensing agreements on several fronts, and they should not be surprised when a lawsuit.
  • 0 Hide
    mdillenbeck , July 16, 2008 6:46 PM
    I wonder what Apple's approach to the end user will be - after all, both the manufacturer and the consumer knowingly violated the EULA.
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , July 16, 2008 7:04 PM
    I think Apple should have let it be and let their userbase grow... They're going to get a rotten user-unfriendly image out of this. Yes, we know Apple disclaims it having to be on an Apple label computer, but customers always think they should be able to do anything they want with something _they_ purchased.

    If they really wanted to stay different and keep a platform and OS unto themselves, they should have stayed away from x86 hardware.
  • 0 Hide
    knickle , July 16, 2008 7:20 PM
    Here's an interesting thought. Since Psystar isn't the "end user" (they are the manufacturer), can they even be held liable? Hmmm.
  • 0 Hide
    nekatreven , July 16, 2008 7:40 PM
    knickleHere's an interesting thought. Since Psystar isn't the "end user" (they are the manufacturer), can they even be held liable? Hmmm.


    I've wondered that too. I seem to remember something about OSX not shipping on the Psystar systems but having to be user installed. In the end I think the question would be how much 'enabling' Psystar is doing. Judging from past statements though I think Psystar's claim is that Apple's EULA is not enforceable and possibly not legal.
  • 4 Hide
    kelfen , July 16, 2008 7:43 PM
    Who uses a apple for gaming machine... no one.. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    LoboBrancoTimido , July 16, 2008 7:47 PM
    Hum...I'm not surprised at all.
    Apple doesn't need more OS userbase, they only need to sell those expensive machines (IMO) and that's about it.
    I really don't care much about Macs these days, got tired of the spoiled brats and stupid Apple fanboys.
    Only a few pro users actually know what a Mac can or can't do, everybody else only wants to show their machine style and play WoW.
    Psystar does it for the money like every company that goes in the Apple Bandwagon.
  • 0 Hide
    falcompsx , July 16, 2008 7:49 PM
    Psystar should have just sold the boxes as "osx-capable" and left it at that, maybe with linux on it. then just offer instructions on how to install it. Legal liability is then on the end user who apple will likely leave alone.
  • 0 Hide
    wymer100 , July 16, 2008 8:41 PM
    subliferI think Apple should have let it be and let their userbase grow... They're going to get a rotten user-unfriendly image out of this. Yes, we know Apple disclaims it having to be on an Apple label computer, but customers always think they should be able to do anything they want with something _they_ purchased.If they really wanted to stay different and keep a platform and OS unto themselves, they should have stayed away from x86 hardware.


    Apple probably didn't have a choice but go with x86, especially in the notebook space. PPC development had effectively stalled, especially on Motorola's front. There was no way that Apple could have crammed a G5 into a laptop. There were other PPC developers, but I doubt Apple was going to trust them after many years of getting screwed. (Although, Apple just bought one.) I would imagine that Apple also got to see Intel's offerings and realized that was the way to go. Intel had been courting Apple since the 1980's. The most significant part in the Intel transition was Apple starting OSX-x86 development from the very beginning. That foresight is what made the transition relatively seamless since they didn't have to go an port OSX after several updates.

    The basic fact is that OSX is Apple's property, and they can do what they want with it. If they want to license it, then they will. If they don't want to, then they don't have to.

    As much as I'd like to see mac clones again, I just didn't think the Psystar approach was a good one. If they went belly-up, all of their customers would be screwed since they would never get updates. It was always more for the hobbiest crowd than the general public. I certainly hope that Apple got the message that there's a bigger audience. We'll just have to see, I suppose.
  • 0 Hide
    wymer100 , July 16, 2008 8:47 PM
    Don't forget that MS doesn't just give Windows away. MS licenses the OS to PC manufacturers. When you buy a copy, you are licensing it from them. In theory, HP or Dell could become an exclusive licensee of MS Windows so that you could only by a Windows machine from HP or Dell.

    It's also no different than the console makers. It's not like MS is letting people install the xbox OS onto any old x86 or PPC computer.
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , July 16, 2008 9:30 PM
    I'm not holding my breathe on a Phystar win, but I'm interested to see if their claims have any validity at all or if it really is just the big scam that most of us think it is.
  • 0 Hide
    master9716 , July 16, 2008 11:51 PM
    Apple is stupid. they have so much money and still try and find a way to make more . Just like Rambus , These companies are rolling in so much money that they should have hit squads that go around sniping people that start these suing fads.
  • -2 Hide
    dragunover , July 17, 2008 12:31 AM
    LoboBrancoTimidoHum...I'm not surprised at all. Apple doesn't need more OS userbase, they only need to sell those expensive machines (IMO) and that's about it.I really don't care much about Macs these days, got tired of the spoiled brats and stupid Apple fanboys.Only a few pro users actually know what a Mac can or can't do, everybody else only wants to show their machine style and play WoW. Psystar does it for the money like every company that goes in the Apple Bandwagon.

    I prefer my computer to have style and play alot of shooters..

    But you're right,apple sucks,and so does their fanboys.
  • 0 Hide
    fulle , July 17, 2008 3:27 AM
    Kinda took em' long enough. Psystar was pretty much asking to be sued... I hope for the best for them though, I always thought it was complete BS for a company to try to tell a customer what hardware they are allowed to install software they purchased on.
  • 1 Hide
    gac64k56 , July 17, 2008 2:17 PM
    This is becoming stupid. Mac clones are great for trying out OSX for those who either won't buy a Mac due to pride or finacial issues, but overall, when it comes down to it, what matters is what gets the job done most efficiently and for the cheapest cost. Wether it be a Mac, a clone, or a normal computer with Windows or Linux, the job at hand that need to be done will get done with the right computer the user is familiar with. If Steve wants to be a kid about this and screw a possible new generation of users out of a OS, then let him. The users will be screwed, yes. I personally bought OSX and put it on a computer from parts left over from previous builds due to boredom, but still use Vista, XP, and Linux (Fedora 8 x64). Each have their own purpose, wether it be gaming, DJ'n, administration, etc. And yes, Psystar did their approach unusually agressively and untactfully. But to drag it out this long is uncalled for, sue them, get it over with, and let us concentrate on things that matter, things that should be brought to our attention, not squabling over things such as this.
  • 0 Hide
    sublifer , July 17, 2008 2:20 PM
    I agree that it Apple's IP and they have a right to do with it what they will. What I'm saying though is that people like choices, sometimes just the illusion of having the choice. They'd love the idea of building their own custom rig at home with the best parts and most expensive graphics card then have the option of putting OSX on it instead of Vista. And if that were to happen, OSX might get better software development support, better business apps and video games.... Who knows, Apple could be the next Microsoft. I hope not, but there does need to be some serious competition in the x86 OS market. Linux is trying and its getting better, but its not yet a household name. Apples is.
  • 0 Hide
    Houndsteeth , July 17, 2008 7:17 PM
    I guess I shouldn't be surprised about the amount of vitriol people reserve for companies that make products that don't necessarily appeal to them as a consumer, but may appeal to others (as is proven by Apple and their performance in the market). Get over it. If you don't feel the product appeals to you, don't buy it. Don't go on the offensive and lead some holy crusade to stamp out the heathens who would dare offer to sell you a computer you don't like.

    As for the other side, the Apple fanatics who buy up everything that has an Apple label, get over yourselves. Steve Jobs is not the Second Coming (though he is a very impressive businessman). Nor is OS X the end-all, be-all of operating systems. It does a lot of things very well, and in a lot of situations, better than other operating systems. But Windows and Linux are just as capable, if not more so in areas where Apple is weak.

    As to how this will play out in the courts, who is to say? One could hope that Apple finally wakes up to realize that the real cash cow is in software, not hardware. Any integrator can put a computer together. In fact, while Apple still designs their systems, they job out all the assembly to factories all over Asia. The real genius is in the operating system that brings all those random components together. Apple has a real opportunity here, while MS is still fumbling around with Vista and figuring out how they are going to force users to "downgrade" to the latest version. If they make a deal with even one major integrator (like Dell, Compaq or Lenovo), they could very well open the market and compete directly against MS, rather than indirectly on different hardware platforms.
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