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back to article Apple wins attack of the clones

Apple has won its long legal battle against clone Mac maker Psystar. Psystar came to the attention of Apple's many lawyers in July 2008 a few months after it started selling a $400 box capable of running Apple's OSX. Apple claimed infringement of copyright, trademarks and of its licensing agreements while Psystar claimed fair …

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Anonymous Coward

Lots of people are "selling a $400 box capable of running Apple's OSX"

however, they don't sell them as such or preload a version of OS X based on the work of the Hackintosh community and then attempt to blow a load of legal smoke around their actions.

The biggest outstanding question is how Psystar ever thought they were going to get away with it.

I'll leave the remainder of this comments page to the usual flamewar bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

But still can't win in Europe

Apparently Apple have yet to even contact PearC who have been doing the same, legally, in Germany for some time.

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Bronze badge

A bit like the Gates tax in reverse.

So on "PCs" we have the Gates tax - you have to buy a copy of windows with it. (Because sytems without it usually cost more than ones with it)

If you want to use OS X you have to pay the Jobs tax, you are forced to buy expensive hardware.

(I like Macs, I just don't like the attitude that you can't run OS X on non apple kit.)

I would think it fair if they were to say, this system is designed for Apple supplied hardware, if the user chooses to run it on non Apple equipment, then they accept that Apple bears no responsibility for any support or problems.

I am surprised that there is no Apple mode in things like Virtual Box.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Olden days?

For a brief period within Apple's history it dabbled with licensing MacOS to run on clone systems. The idea was to grow the market. Instead of doing that, which was difficult, the clone makers went after Apple's market directly. This reduced Apple's profitability and threatened to take the company under. Killing the clones saved Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Good

Inevitable really, Psystar didn't have a hope in hell of getting away with this.

Let's hope future versions of OS X won't require serial number activation or entry of a license key. No need of that 'Installs for sure' crap on a Mac thanks.

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Jobs Horns

Pretty much the same as happened in the 80s

When it was about PCs, last century in the 80s and 90s, courts have blocked the PC clone industry and gave the only right to manufacture PCs to IBM. Therefore, I am writing this comment on a genuine IBM PC...

Hmm, wait...

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N2
Bronze badge

Shame

Much as I like fruit machines, they really could have worked with Psystar to license a cheap clone

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Anonymous Coward

@Jess

"If you want to use OS X you have to pay the Jobs tax, you are forced to buy expensive hardware."

No. Apple don't care if you buy a copy of OS X and install it on your Hackintosh. Just don't expect any support from them. They're not going against the hobbyists here.

Apple DO care if you sell Hackintoshes with OS X pre-installed. That's the big no-no.

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I agree with Jess

Where is the consumer choice in this story ? As always, nobody care even if it's essential.

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Unhappy

The Clone Wars

Blast! Darth Jobs and his evil empire, which Rebel base will he attack next?

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Go

Re: Scary

The argument isn't that making a copy in memory is illegal, it's that Psystar installing a copy of Mac OS X on the hard disk is illegal. Including a purchased copy of the Mac OS X installation disks with the hardware doesn't help.

If it makes it easier to think about, consider that Apple don't sell FULL copies of Mac OS X. They only sell UPGRADES. You need an existing Mac OS X license (which is only available with the purchase of hardware) in order to be allowed to install the upgrade. What Psystar were trying to do is really no different from someone buying cheap upgrade licenses for something like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, modifying the software to remove any checks for an existing license, then reselling it as a full copy. This is blatantly illegal and a breach of both copyright and the DMCA. Apple's other complaints (that it's a breach of contract, trademark infringement, and unfair competition) are still outstanding and not affected by this ruling.

As to whether Apple SHOULD sell full copies of Mac OS X for use on any hardware, that surely is a decision for them. They are no more obliged to do that than HP are to provide you with a copy of their printer management software for use with an Epson, or BMW are obliged to sell you a copy of their engine management software for use in an Audi.

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FAIL

Forced?

Every time I hear this word used in this context, I wonder where the guns are, because as far as I'm aware neither Microsoft or Apple point guns at people if they don't buy their products. If you want OSX but not the hardware, then you are not forced into getting the hardware to use the software. You either suck it up and pay for it, or you go without. Same goes for other computers. If a computer comes pre-loaded with Windows but you don't want it, you aren't forced to get it. Either suck it up and get the computer, or go without. It's all about voluntary interaction, and from what I can see, this is all voluntary. If people are going to use words like force, you better have something to back up those words, like say, evidence. As soon as you can show me the gun in the room then we can start using words like force and tax.

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FAIL

In so many words...

Apple sucks

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FAIL

Hasn't taken long...

...for the stupid to crawl out of the woodwork.

As long as it is within the law (and this is exactly what this case set out to prove) then Apple is entitled to write whatever conditions into their EULA that they like. It's not as if they are permitting certain companies to do this, and were somehow being anticompetitive just towards Psystar. Apple doesn't allow *anyone* to do this, as is their legal and moral right. Apple doesn't *have* to let you do anything with their software. Wishing it were different doesn't make it so.

Note that the comment about PearPC is irrelevant. Just because Apple hasn't sued them yet, doesn't mean they condone what they are doing.

This isn't about the Hackintosh community. Those who chose to install Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware will be in the same situation that they were before this ruling. Yes, they are breaking the EULA, but the sum total of Apple's response to these people will be to deny them support.

This is about slapping down a company who thought it was OK to take Apple's property and try and cut Apple out of the hardware revenue to which they were due.

Mac OS X is not sold as a stand-alone product like Windows. It is sold as an update-able component of an Apple hardware system.

You are entitled to not like this, but Apple is also entitled to slap you down for breaking the terms of the license to which you agreed when you opened the box.

As the judge said, if you don't like Apple's terms, don't use Apple's products. There are other options.

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@Rolf Howarth and Daniel Jarick.

Nailed it.

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@ Rolf Howarth

I'm at a bit of a loss how I manage to install these 'upgrades' on brand new unformatted harddrives which are fitted into macs with no other harddrive and therefore no OS to upgrade and somehow I still manage to end up with a full OS on the HD.

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Bronze badge

untitled

Inevitable really.

But amazing that Psystar were so stupid about the whole thing (considering it was their only business model) that they didn't even get as far as a full trial for the majority of the charges.

I also find it amazing how many people are _still_ attacking Apple over this. Apple put more money into developing both software and hardware than Psystar put into their entire business, and the reality of business law is that you _must_ prosecute any known breaches, or risk losing out when a bigger breach comes along.

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Jobs Horns

@AC "Apple sucks"

Well said.

But seriously, how on earth did Psystar think they were gonna get away with this?

I want to know, not knowing much legalese, they must have anticipated this...

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Anonymous Coward

@Ivan Headache

Even if you install a new unformatted drive in a Mac, you still bought OS X when you bought the Mac, so you're still effectively upgrading that licensed copy.

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FAIL

No, Anonymous Coward 16/11/09 12:21 GMT

The LAW sucks, except in this case it doesn't. It's wholly just and the only criminals (yes, they broke the law) are Psystar, like it or not.

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@AC

> No. Apple don't care if you buy a copy of OS X and install it on your Hackintosh. Just don't

> expect any support from them. They're not going against the hobbyists here.

>

> Apple DO care if you sell Hackintoshes with OS X pre-installed. That's the big no-no.

Well that makes perfect sense...

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@Ivan Headache

You can use the 'upgrade disk' to install a new copy of OS X onto a virgin hard drive so long as said hard drive is installed in Apple labelled hardware. Since you already have the Apple labelled hardware (ie hardware made/assembled by/for Apple) you already have the license to do this. Please don't insult the readers or your own intelligence by pretending that you don't understand this extremely simple concept.

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Silver badge

@ Ivan Headache

If you put a new drive in a Mac and insert an update disk you are then prompted to install the OS disk which came with the machine in the first place.

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Yes, but…

If it is a true update disc, that's what will happen. But most retail editions of OS X are full installers that don't demand any previous OS install to exist, and the last known "update disc" (Snow Leopard) happened to be a full installer too.

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@Rolf Howarth and Ian Davies

Hit the nail on the head. Nuff said.

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@daniel jarick

"If a computer comes pre-loaded with Windows but you don't want it, you aren't forced to get it. Either suck it up and get the computer, or go without"

Yes, because last time I walked into my local PC World, there were thousands of PCs on the shelves without Windows. I had that choice...

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@Ivan Headache

Whether the installation disk contains a full copy of all the files you need or just a subset which has changed is completely irrelevant. These days, software manufacturers usually find it's much easier just to include everything. It's also irrelevant how, or even whether, they choose to enforce that you have an existing copy. If I'm a software developer and decide to sell you upgrades for my software based purely on an honour system (i.e. I believe you when you tell me you have an existing license, or are a student in full-time education, or whatever) that in no way diminishes my rights. The Mac OS X license makes it very clear what the conditions are to be allowed to legally install and use the software.

Apple should be praised for being so enlightened and making it so easy to install their software... or would you rather they enforced a Windows Genuine Advantage-style activation system?? And has been pointed out many times, Apple take absolutely no action whatsoever against individuals who decide to install Mac OS X on their own hackintosh systems for fun. It's only companies that decide to systematically violate their copyright for profit who can rightly expect to find themselves in trouble for it.

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@CitizenErazed

Funny that, my local PCWorld stocks a couple of Macs, quite a few Windows based PC's, and no PC with any variant of Linux pre-installed. Not one. They certainly don't have "thousands" and you cannot categorically purchase a PC WITHOUT an OS. You can't buy the bits to build your own, but that not the same thing. I know this to true as of Friday. In short, BULLSHIT!

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Apple care only about money.

By allowing OSX to be installed only on their hardware they can choose to put huge markups on that hardware. The fanbois will say you aren't forced into anything but if you want OSX you do have to put up with Apple's crippled and limited range of hardware. It may be their right to do that but its also my right to call them money grabbing cunts.

Secondly, this is bad for the internet as a whole. Since one OS accounts for 95% of PCs out there its very easy for a virus writer to hit a large number of users and the incentives to write viruses are therefore greater. This has less to do with Windows security flaws (and of course they exist) than the fact that its such a huge target. There are only a handful of alternative OSes and even fewer of those are of appeal to the consumer market. Apple creates one of these and they sell it like its some sort of luxury chocolate. Ignore the marketing and fanboi bleating and you will see that it really isn't any such thing, but what it does offer is an alternative to Windows that has lots of software and hardware support.

If the diversity of operating systems was as great on PCs as it is on mobile phones, virus writers would have a much tougher job spreading their payload. It would also put to the test fanboi claims that OSX is virus proof. As it is, Apple sit in their isolated corner of the internet and mock Microsoft for making an operating system that doesn't just run on the handful of PCs Apple makes. Apple are elitist control freaks who like to think of themselves as visionaries. They are no more than peddlers of shiny trinkets to the vain and the stupid.

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Jobs Horns

This shouldn't be a surprise

Really. Did anyone think Apple wouldn't win? An 800 pound stylish gorilla vs. a 10 pound paperweight? Psystar never had solid ground to stand on. They'd have done better selling Ubuntu boxes than OSX. That would've actually been useful. This OSX on non-Apple hardware nonsense, clearly was of no use to anyone.

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Stop

Parallels...

OK, 1: apple has between 7% and 10% of the PC market, depending on who you ask, so they are CLEARLY, not a monopoly, and not subject to any restrictions as such would be anticompetitive.

Compare this to IBM, which has the clear lions share of the Mainframe market, yet for which you also can not acquire licenses to run OS390 seperate from the purchase of hardware.

Or Sun, no licenses for their clustered systems or high end HPC systems without a hardware purchase.

Or HP for HP/UX...

They are not alone.

You can buy UPGRADES, but you can not buy a retail copy and install it on your own system as there IS no retail copy... IF and when Apple chooses to support selling retail copies depends entirely on their abiltiy to SUPPORT those copies, which they are FAR from prepared to do. Think about it, if you could buy OS X for $320, and put on on almost any machine (excluding netbooks and given some limitations like a descrete GPU and an intel processor), then a LOT more than 7% of the market would do so. Apple would have to double, tripple, or even quadrupple their staff, set up vendor relations with a hundred other providers for driver certification, and spend hundreds of millions on product testing and support. Their profits would shrink and quality of support would decline, as well as user experieince would decline.

Apple does NOT go after hobyists who legally acquire a license for OS X and "attempt" to install it on their own machines, knowing full well apple's refusal to support it. However, that is NOT the case for retail buyers. PsyStar violated this by making poeople believe Apple had some level of support for their wares, and by not paying apple for the partnership and distribution rights. A few thousand people trying this on their own, most being capable computer people and all being people who are either highly unlikely to ever buy a mac (or who already own one and are loyal customers), is a non-issue. A million machines sold by a 3rd party cuts into their profits and strains support, and provides an inconsitant customer experience. Letting clones exist is a lose-lose for apple.

When they have 20% of the market, I'll begin to expect retail copies of OS 11/12 to start coming available. until then, it's buy a mac (which is a VERY good machine for the price, often CHEAPER than the COMPERABLE hardware).

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@windywoo

Firstly, calm down dear.

Secondly, let me see if I understand you. If Apple had a 50% market share there'd be fewer Windows viruses out there? 5000 instead of 10,000, say? Not quite sure I follow your logic there.

Thirdly - "Apple sit in their isolated corner of the internet and mock Microsoft for making an operating system that doesn't just run on the handful of PCs Apple makes." Boot camp. You've heard of it, right? Of course you have. Windows will install on any Intel Mac straight from the box, as you well know. Weasel words don't alter that fact, sorry.

Oh, and fourthly. Again, as you well know, Apple allow you to install OS X on the hardware of your choice. Many people do. Just don't expect support from them if things screw up, and don't re-sell. Not so difficult to understand is it?

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Jobs Halo

@Jess

I think you might be missing a point. If you want to buy a copy of OS X and try to hack it to run on some hardware, Apple probably wouldn't object. For one thing, you weren't going to buy their hardware anyway. They made a sale of OS X. And they won't do any support for you, obviously.

Now, Psystar was doing this, but not for personal use, but reselling the boxes. This is directly in violation of the EULA and about five or six laws. Why Psystar thought this would go unchallenged and thought they would have a legal leg to stand on is beyond me.

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@windywoo

I was waiting for one of you lot to chime in with your usual brand of nonsense. I've read some tinfoil-hat bollocks on these pages, but this really takes the biscuit! This ruling is based on points of law, not the impassioned rantings of a foolish fanboi. Yes. I'm calling you a fanboi. So here goes at taking your comment apart piece by piece.

"By allowing OSX to be installed only on their hardware they can choose to put huge markups on that hardware." Absolutely. This is a FREE MARKET ECONOMY, and this is how they work. The reason that Apple have a significantly smaller market share (when are you going to learn that market share isn't actually THAT relevant?) is BECAUSE they charge more. It's also the reason that they have made more money than Dell. It may be your right to call Apple money grabbing cunts, but it doesn't mean that you are correct. In fact it makes you look like a colossal dick, of which I have the right to say too.

"Secondly, this is bad for the internet as a whole. Since one OS accounts for 95% of PCs out there its very easy for a virus writer to hit a large number of users and the incentives to write viruses are therefore greater. This has less to do with Windows security flaws (and of course they exist) than the fact that its such a huge target." And therefore easy! In what fucking universe is this Apples fault or even their problem?! It's not the DoJ's fault, and it's certainly not Microsoft's fault. It's got to be just about the most fucking stupid point that this debate has heard! If anything the blame for this lies with cheap consumers, of the percentage you quoted, how many of those are pirated? I'd guestimate at a fair few (MASSIVE understatement). Who's fault is that?

"There are only a handful of alternative OSes and even fewer of those are of appeal to the consumer market. Apple creates one of these and they sell it like its some sort of luxury chocolate. Ignore the marketing and fanboi bleating and you will see that it really isn't any such thing, but what it does offer is an alternative to Windows that has lots of software and hardware support."

You're repeating yourself here and you are still wrong. This is a FREE MARKET ECONOMY, and this is how they work. For instance, I can grow Braeburn apples and market them as the sweetest apples in the world, selling them for £100 each. I would have perhaps a small market share, but I'm the only grower of this particular variety, and it's my right to sell them at a price I see fit. This could result in me selling none. You could come along and sell Macintosh apples for 10p a pop, marketing them as apples that are sweet enough. That's your choice, but you would have to sell 100 apples for every one that I sold. To achieve this, you let anyone sell our Macintosh apples. You would arguably have the market share, but at what cost financially to you and your investors? Also by flooding the market with a cheap alternative, you run the risk of sub par products getting through. These are essentially the two different business models that Apple and Microsoft follow. Both have their merits, and if the former works (it is for Apple, but sometimes it doesn't, and the company goes bankrupt) it's far easier to manage and much more profitable for less work. You don't have to like it, but the other option is no choice, and we all know how well that worked out. You can by the cheaper apples if you want, but the if you want the Braeburns, you're going to have to pay. Go and have a read of 'An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations; by Adam Smith' (found for free here; http://www.adamsmith.org/smith/won-intro.htm). It outlines this far more eloquently than I ever could.

"If the diversity of operating systems was as great on PCs as it is on mobile phones, virus writers would have a much tougher job spreading their payload. It would also put to the test fanboi claims that OSX is virus proof." I've already answered that. I don't think anybody has ever claimed that Mac's are "virus proof" in any seriousness. If they have, then I have to agree that they are just deluded fanbois. No more deluded than you though! Trying to blame Apple's business model for a lack of diversity in the market place and the resulting 'pandemic' of viruses is at best clutching at straws, at worst, fucking stupid. Really, if one buys/downloads a free AV client, and takes the proper precautions (i.e. NOT PIRATING SOFTWARE) viruses and trojans are not really that much of a problem for anyone. Microsoft have responsibly tackled this with each release of Windows, making it a very secure platform, AS secure (and maybe more) as Mac OS, Linux and the other Unices. They've had to do it with using unpopular mechanisms, but IT IS THEIR RIGHT TO PROTECT THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, just like Apple have the right to protect theirs.

"As it is, Apple sit in their isolated corner of the internet and mock Microsoft for making an operating system that doesn't just run on the handful of PCs Apple makes. Apple are elitist control freaks who like to think of themselves as visionaries. They are no more than peddlers of shiny trinkets to the vain and the stupid." Ah, poor 'ickle Microsoft. :( It's not fair that those nasty boy from Apple bully you. Wait a minute...

You, sir, are an arrogant and deluded prick. Yeah, it's ad hominem, but after reading the shite that you wrote, you deserve it.

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Stop

@windywoo

Arrogant might be a bit harsh...

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Anonymous Coward

I built a Hackintosh ...

And it actually outperforms the genuine Mac Pro that it thinks it is. All off-the-shelf bog-standard cheap parts in a rather natty case with a real Mac wireless keyboard. I did buy a licence, too. OSX boots via a software EFI implementation in mere seconds, as well. It even updates itself. But it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears on my part and I learned a LOT along the way. I'm rather proud of the result.

I think what Psystar was doing was wrong, though. I built the Hackintosh for non-commercial experimental reasons. I also own a "real" Mac (paid for with actual earned money) as well a a Linux lappy.

I can't say I think Apple are doing themselves any favours by not making this easier for people to do. I know it isn't their business model -- but go on, Apple ... sell an OSX for PC hardware. You will make billions along the way and for not very much work.

AC for obvious reasons.

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@windywoo

@windywoo

> There are only a handful of alternative OSes and even fewer of those are of appeal to the consumer market. Apple creates one of these and they sell it

Apple are not in the OS business. They are in business to sell Macs. As a byproduct, in order to make their Macs attractive to consumers and differentiate them from other computers, they developed a stonkingly good OS. The OS is part and parcel of the computers they sell, and the boxed versions of OS X that are sold by Apple are made purely for people who already have a Mac to upgrade or otherwise re-install the OS on their Mac.

> what it does offer is an alternative to Windows

OS X is *not* an alternative to Windows. Macs are an alternative to PCs. If you want to switch from Windows to OS X you have to buy a Mac. OS X is one of the Mac's main competetive advantages, so making it available for any PC would immediately blow away one of the main reasons for buying a Mac.

> If the diversity of operating systems was as great on PCs as it is on mobile phones, virus writers would have a much tougher job spreading their payload.

The whole argument of your post seems to be that Apple should forget about the fact that they make their money selling hardware and should, out of the goodness of their hearts, sell OS X as a standalone OS for anyone to install on any machine they like, as some sort of benevolent stand against virus writers. Why would Apple, or any company that wanted to stay in business, do something that would potentially destroy their main source of revenue? Especially to help resolve a problem which really only affects one of their main competitors?

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Pint

Custom Builds

I like Apple's OS X, nice and clean and mostly stable.

I DON'T like the hardware configurations of any Macintosh.

If Apple would make, and support the use of OS X on any Intel/AMD system board, I would gladly pay the licensing costs for the OS!

Instead of suing to shut down potentially lucrative markets, I wish they would fight to EXPAND their market!

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@RTNavy

Dear Numb Nuts, please explain how Apple could possibly provide support for an installation of their OS that has been altered in order to run on non-Apple hardware?

As someone else pointed out, Apple is not in the OS business, they are in the computer systems business. Hardware. Software.

Apple doesn't want to sell copies of the Mac OS to run on other people's hardware any more than it wants to sell hardware that just runs someone else's OS.

Where have you been while history was happening? The previous guys at Apple tried licensing the OS and it very nearly killed the company.

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Microsoft forced to disable IE

Reading this reminds me of Microsoft being forced to remove IE as the default browser in Windows OS.

Everyone keeps commenting about how Apple have the right to do what they want with their software and limit what others can do. Why don't M$ have this right?

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