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Psystar Ditches Antitrust in Favor of Copyright Abuse

By - Source: Tom's Guide | B 9 comments

It seems Psystar is taking another approach to the whole “taking Apple on in court” thing it’s been trying to do for a while now. The whole thing started when Apple tried to sue the Mac clone manufacturer for breaching the Leopard EULA and Psystar filed antitrust claims against the Cupertino company.

A few weeks back a Federal judge dismissed Psystar’s anti-competitive lawsuit against Apple. Northern District of California Federal Court judge William Alsup handed down a 19-page ruling that said Apple is not abusing its position in the market and we figured that would be the last we heard from Psystar and it was time to shift our attention to whether or not Apple would succeed in suing the pants off of Psystar.

However, reports emerged this week saying different. According to CNet, recent court filings say Psystar is now accusing Apple of abusing its copyright on Mac OS X to stifle competition.

“Psystar alleges that by virtue of Apple’s leveraging of copyrights in the context of Apple’s EULA, spurious litigation via the DMCA, and various other anti- and unfair competitive conduct, there is no viable alternative to the purchase and use of Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware Systems for users who wish to use the Mac OS, for a prospective buyer of the Mac OS, or for a user of an older version of the Mac OS.”

We’re not entirely convinced that this will fly in court, especially since the company was so sure the antitrust thing would be successful. We’ve given up trying to contact someone who actually matters at Psystar (other than the kid named George who answers the phone) because they keep asking us to email noreply@psystar. com press@psystar.com. We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

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  • 5 Hide
    snotling , December 11, 2008 6:44 PM
    I would like it soo much if OS X could be bought separately and allowed for use on any hardware... not that I realy wont it but for the public to see Apple crumble under complaints of malfunctionning drivers, incompatible hardware and finaly for the system to be credited for being the "overhyped BSD" that it realy is...
  • 1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , December 11, 2008 8:06 PM
    ^+1.
  • -1 Hide
    geoffs , December 11, 2008 8:50 PM
    It's not just "overhyped BSD", the Finder and "Quartz" form the basis of Apple's proprietary user interface. As we know, the choice of "shell" or GUI is still a big source of arguments among users.

    If BSD were as easy to setup and use as Mac OS X, Apple wouldn't be selling as many machines as they do. Part of that ease comes from the fact that Apple supplies all the hardware and drivers, creating a seamless installation for the user. Yes, Apple might "crumble" under the weight of having to support lots of different combinations of hardware with drivers written by so many different people.

    There is nothing wrong with tying your software to hardware you sell, if that's the terms under which it's licensed it. You get the same thing with Symbian OS or Windows Mobile on a smart phone, you can run that OS only on the hardware you purchased/license it with. Microsoft and Symbian/Nokia will give you no help or support trying to install that OS onto another device and may sue you for license violation if you do.

    I do wish Apple would make their machines more user upgradable (e.g. use socketed CPUs and include BIOS support for a significant number of CPUs so I could easily/reliably upgrade the CPU in a machine. I can upgrade the RAM, HD, optical drive, video card, keyboard, and mouse on most systems, but I'm generally limited to the CPUs Apple offers even if better ones are available that are electrically compatible. It's a minor complaint, but....
  • Display all 9 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    bfstev , December 12, 2008 12:12 PM
    "There is nothing wrong with tying your software to hardware you sell, if that's the terms under which it's licensed it. You get the same thing with Symbian OS or Windows Mobile on a smart phone, you can run that OS only on the hardware you purchased/license it with."

    That is very misleading as windows and symbian will license them selves out to whoever wants to make a smartphone for them. The markets here are completely different as the manufacturer, the OS provider, and the service provider are all usually different people for phones. Not so much with apple computers. If apple looses this though they may face other suits for the mobile OS in the ipod/iphone.
  • 0 Hide
    chris312 , December 12, 2008 2:02 PM
    I don't own a Mac, and I'm not an Apple fanboy by any means. I don't even own an iPod. But I really don't see the problem with Apple licensing OS X for use only on Apple machines. It's their OS, and they can license it however they like. It's this license policy that has kept me from buying a Mac, but it's also the reason that Apple systems are so stable.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , December 12, 2008 2:04 PM
    I think a company should be able to limit its software as it sees fit, I just wish there weren't people out there buying Apple products supporting this idiotic business model. If a company does something stupid, you shouldn't support them anyway.

    That said, if Apple doesn't want me using their OS, fine, I won't. I certainly won't complain that I can't install it on my PC, and I certainly won't go out and spend a couple grand on a Mac just for the wonderful experience of giving Apple my money.
  • 3 Hide
    Aragorn , December 12, 2008 3:51 PM
    What would happen if Microsoft tried to behave as Apple does? They would be sued for Monopolistic bahviour. Just as the were for including software to play a DVD. Why is it that the rules are so much different for MS and Apple? I can understand not allowing a company to engage in anti-competitive behaviour but those rules should apply equally.
  • 0 Hide
    falconqc , December 16, 2008 7:34 PM
    "We’ve given up trying to contact someone who actually matters at Psystar (other than the kid named George who answers the phone) because they keep asking us to email noreply@psystar.com press@psystar.com."

    I LOL'ed on that one.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 21, 2009 4:48 PM
    "It's their OS, and they can license it however they like." People keep saying this, but it's just false. Copyright owners can't just write any license they want and expect it to be upheld in court. For example, you can't write a license that stipulates that licensees cannot create a competing product. In other words, Microsoft couldn't require purchasers of Windows to refrain from developing a competing operating system. Imagine if you were the first person to write, say, a cad program. If you could license it with the stipulation that licensees couldn't compete with you, you would effectively have a monopoly on cad software. That's copyright abuse. If you want to read more about this, read this case: Lasercomb America Inc. v. Reynolds. The Psystar case is different, and it may not turn out well for Psystar, but the copyright abuse approach is a valid one, and they could succeed.