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back to article Apple wants life ban for clone maker

Apple is seeking a permanent injunction to stop Psystar ever again selling cloned Mac software or hardware. Apple won a recent injunction but wants this to be extended to cover Snow Leopard, because otherwise Psystar will not stop copying its intellectual property. The company is also seeking damages and attorney fees. It is …

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I'm on the fence

On one side I completely agree with the ruling, that Psystar broke the law, and Apple is right in this case. I'm also no fan of any company selling cheap shit, half baked systems at any price, especially one using questionable business tactics.

On the other side, some part of this ruling should require Apple to open up at least a little, and offer OEM licensing agreements at reasonable prices (say $250 for the OS, without iLife). Yet at the same time I know Apple could never support any kind of mad sales increase. They're only 9% of the market now, but if they doubled or trippled in less than a couply of years, there's no way support could keep up, and the user experience would go to crap. The only way apple could reasonable arrange OEM deals would be on strict hardware requirements, and to force the vendor to provide their own support (except for the OS, for which support from Apple would be extra as it is from M$). That's not going to provide cheap systems to anyone who;s not willing to saccrifie support... There's no way Apple's going to be able to support an ad-hoc Os-on-a-shelf model either.

Psystar did a bad thing. Apple won, and further strengthened their position. They however seem to be showing some caution, like they know the coults could do things to make life very painful and much less profitable for them.

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Contradictory

"On the other side, some part of this ruling should require Apple to open up at least a little, and offer OEM licensing agreements at reasonable prices (say $250 for the OS, without iLife). "

Sorry, if you understand and agree with the ruling, the above statement is contradictory. Apple has the complete right to do whatever they want with their software. Just why would the court affirm that right and then take it away?

Apple has no legal or moral obligation to license their software. They have apparently decided that they have no financial reason to do so, either - and they have undoubtedly done much more detailed market research than you have.

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Gold badge
WTF?

"copying its intellectual property"

Now I'm sorry that I haven't read all of the stuff about this, but I'm lost. The comment that got me lost was:

"because otherwise Psystar will not stop copying its intellectual property"

But I missed that part entirely. I thought that they LEGALLY BOUGHT software that is sold by Apple, and then they installed that software on some hardware they put together.

If I particularly like the new Ford car radio, I don't see why I shouldn't legally buy it and install it in my Toyota. Even if I have to shave a few corners off the radio to get it to fit in, that should be up to me, I bought it after all.

So was the "copying" bit because they used it in a way that Apple doesn't like? Using this as a basis, can Toyota reposses my car because I put a different radio in it?

What if I use my Apple Mac to post a comment on a website that Apple have appaling customer service? Surely this is against their wishes! Can they now sue me too?

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Alien

@BristolBachelor

This has to do with Apple's business model - they are a hardware company that produces an OS that makes the hardware work better. Note that the OS upgrades are cheap... (I know that one might consider them service packs.) They do the same thing with iTunes and the iPod/phone. SO Apple has put limits on the software use to protect their hardware sales.

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Stop

nope.

They legally bough "upgrades" and sold them with machines that did not also include an OEM copy. This is no different than PC makers who sell upgrade copies of windows insatead of full installs on new computers. They're skirting licensing to save dollars.

In this case, apple offers no retail full license, only upgrades (clearly states on ALL packaging and their web site: "System requirements: Mac Computer with OS 10.5 or higher" for the 10.6 media, and "System requirements: Mac Computer with OS 10.4 or higher" for the Mac Boxed Set for 10.6. Previous versions simply indicated "System requirements: Mac Computer with OS X" as a prerequisite.

The l;icense both on the box, in the box, in the EULA before clicking accept, in online copies referenced by links on the box, by printed materials available in the store before purchase, and in their legal copies online, ALL of these indicate the boxed software is an UPGRADE ONLY, and in fact on the 10.5 and 10.6 packaging, it clearly states "upgrade your mac" in the first line of the product description.

This is not an arguement, this is a fact.

Apple's choice to not sell full retail copies is not a monopoly stance (they're 8% of the market, not 100%). They have every right (as does Palm, RIM, TiVo and others who sell devices with pre-installed and not retail available operating systems) to restrict the sale of the OS. They do this NOt to maintan market presence, but to prevent the swarm of support calls and user experience decline that would result from the doubling or trippling of their user base should they release an OS to run on just any hardware for a reasonable price.

Apple has previously suggested they're workong on a public box retail release of OS X, and if and when they do release it, it will be somehere in the $400 price range.

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Jobs Horns

$400??

...and you Mac fanbois are always criticizing Windows for being expensive?

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Alert

@ Micheal C

You're right they sell the software as "upgrades" but in truth it contains a full copy of the O/S. (You can install an upgrade on a completly wiped Mac and it will run fine. The preconds are to stop people running it on their own hardware. If you build your own machine and spoof the spoof the O/S you can have your own Hackintosh completly legally. Jobs won't come after you because he's likely to get thrown out of court and set a precident. Pystar unfortunately took a shortcut of selling their boxes with a legal boxed copy of the O/S but a pirated version installed. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out, anyone remember the IBM Clone wars?

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Read the ruling

"But I missed that part entirely. I thought that they LEGALLY BOUGHT software that is sold by Apple, and then they installed that software on some hardware they put together."

Please read the ruling. You are very, very confused as to the facts.

1. Psystar didn't buy the software. They licensed it.

2. They violated the license agreement

3. They violated DMCA

4. Installation of the software on non-Apple hardware was ruled to be illegal.

Please stop posting nonsense until you've read enough to understand the court ruling and its implications.

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Not true

"If you build your own machine and spoof the spoof the O/S you can have your own Hackintosh completly legally"

That's not true. Read the court ruling. Doing what you describe violates DMCA as well as Apple's EULA and copyrights. The court specifically ruled that doing so is illegal even for an end user and that Psystar is guilty of contributory infringement for aiding such actions.

Granted, Apple may not think it's worth the trouble to go after end users, but that doesn't make it legal.

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Err...

You're missing the point. Mac OS X doesn't install on their hardware, you can't slide a Mac OS X DVD in the drive and install it - it won't work. The software has to be modified to run - that's an "illegal copy" (essentially hacked) the fact they put a DVD in the box has nothing to do with it. Also the copy of Mac OS X put in the box is an upgrade, not a fully copy (Apple don't sell full copies of Mac OS X - you only get that with a system).

Can you imagine Microsoft letting an OEM hack Windows to remove WGA and put an upgrade DVD in the box?

Apple don't tell you what you can do with your Mac, if you want to post anti-Apple postings all over the web, you can.

Mac OS X isn't a car radio.

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Windows 7

You can install Windows 7 upgrade on a system that doesn't have an OS installed - your point?

Just because you CAN do a thing doesn't mean you have the RIGHT to do it.

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Thumb Down

Analogy error

Your analogy is partially correct, Apple isn't suing private citizens for installing OSX on their own machines so yes you can buy a Ford stereo and fit to your Toyota but Ford would take Toyota to court if they bought shipments of Ford stereos and fitting them into their Toyota's for sale.

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Breaking a contract is not illegal.

You are confused in your use of legal terminology, Psystar was illegally redistributing software whereas private citizens who install OSX on their own machine are breaking the EULA, breaking a contract is NOT illegal, Yes Apple would have a legal right to sue you for damages resulting in you breaking their EULA but it is not a criminal offense (as in illegal)

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Paris Hilton

Well, let's face it ...

... they now have something to protect yes?

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White Box

I wish I could run OS X on my Toshiba Satellite without a lot of work on my part. I would pay for the license and support.

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Megaphone

Listen up trolls

Not this again! Let's clear these up, before the knuckle-dragging trolls turn up.

1. Psystar did not license it, all they claimed was, that they bought boxed copies OSX, when asked to produce receipts, they couldn't find them! So no one even knows if they did actually buy any boxed copies of OSX, let alone license it. No way they could have licensed it. Apple would have denied them any sort of licensing agreement outright.

2. Psystar have circumvented the EFI bootloader ( using tools they "stole" from the OSX86 hacking community! ) to force an O/S to run on alien hardware, contrary to the now famous EULA line, "not to be run on any hardware not officially branded by Apple". No trolls, simply sticking a white fruit logo on your PC is not the same as "official Apple branded hardware", OK?

3. Apple are not a monopoly 'cos they keep OSX to themselves. They opened up the hardware to run any Intel based O/S. Nothing stopping you buying an iMac and installing a legal copy of Windows 7, heck Apple even give you the Windows drivers to do it! You'd be pretty daft to buy overpriced, metrosexual toys like iMacs to simply run Windows, but nothing stopping you! The complete opposite of monopoly.

4. If Apple started letting all and sundry run OSX, they would have a bloody nightmare on their hands dealing with zillions of hardware combos. They make a niche system for a small market, they lock down the O/S to their hardware, so they can ensure the O/S stays as stable as possible. They know the pain MS go through to keep Windows afloat, it simply isn't worth the pain to Apple. The O/S is worth peanuts in relative terms, Apple OSX is a nice shiny way to advertise what the stuff that actually makes money, ie the hardware, pricey though it is, can do for you! You look at the price of Apple iLife and iWork, £70 a pop each while MS Office retails at over £200 copy! Breaking even, more like. iLife/iWork are simply more marketing ads to sell shiny Apple hardware.

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Alien

@C 22:20 GMT

"iLife/iWork are simply more marketing ads to sell shiny Apple hardware."

I am not sure this is the real reason for iWork - more to the point to keep other companies from holding them (Apple) hostage. If MS told Apple it would drop Office unless they did 'something' Apple could tell them to stuff it. Same is true for Adobe.

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Jobs Horns

I am not a lawyer, but...

It seems pretty nuts to me that MS selling IE as part of Windows is "anti-competitive" but Apple stance isn't.

Please Explain!

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Anonymous Coward

It's simple really.

First, take of your Microsoft tinted glasses. Apple have between 5% and 10% share of the *COMPUTING* market. Microsoft have between 85% and 95% of the same market (OS install base). Apple's licensing states that their OS can only be installed on their hardware. Microsoft license states that it can be installed on any supported hardware. Apple make hardware. Microsoft don't. If you want to buy a computer, you can easily do so. Their is a lot of choice If you don't want to run Windows, you have a few choices—many of the free (as in beer). If you want to run OSX you must also have Apple hardware—in much the same way that if you want to play XBox game, you must own an XBox. There is no monopoly to abuse.

Microsoft have what economist call a dominant market share. They have been accused of "leveraging" (using) this position to make there Internet Explorer browser the number one buy illegally forcing OEM's to include IE by initially terminating license agreements with OEM's that included competitors products (see US vs Microsoft) and then unnecessarily tying it to the OS claiming that the browser was an integral part of the OS. Hence "anti-trust" (abuse of a dominant position or monopoly).

To preempt the inevitable "Microsoft should just stop Windows installing on Apple hardware". Thank fuck you guys don't run Microsoft - even Ballmers not that blinkered. There now is 5%-10% of the market that was inaccessible to Windows that is suddenly accessible! The last thing that they should be doing! One day, kids, you'll understand that the sole target of *any* business is to MAKE MONEY!

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Welcome

Apple's Worst Nightmare

What Apple is trying to prevent is VMWare from buying the assets of Psystar at fire-sale prices and enabling Mac OSX to run as a guest OS and support PCoIP.

This would enable business to buy one large server and make (multiple instances of) MacOS available to thin clients much like is being done with Windows under VMWare View.

In a twist of fate, this may still happen without any money changing hands.

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Anonymous Coward

Not relevant

As the license stands you cannot install OSX into a VM.

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Flame

Better yet

Force them to sell AND support Vista and ME in perpetuity.

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Gates Horns

Over Confidence

"Once the litigation is over, we'll have our arses handed to us and we'll be worth FA."

Perhaps they should merge with SCO.

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Stop

i dont get it...

Why dont Apple want to make more money by selling their OS seperately? It's not exactly a clone is it, when the hardware is the same as any PC hardware!!

From what I make of it, this is a licensing issue - Apple dont want to license their OS X to OEM's. Which is bullshit.

While I dont hate Apple's products, I do hate their corporate ethos.

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Paris Hilton

Great idea!

"Why dont Apple want to make more money by selling their OS seperately? It's not exactly a clone is it, when the hardware is the same as any PC hardware!!"

Well, gee. I'll bet Apple never thought of that. I'm sure Apple has never even considered doing any market research on clones. And it never occurred to them that they could sell more systems if they licensed the OS freely to 1,000 junkware manufacturers. After all, Apple couldn't possibly know what they're doing in the computer business - they only have $35 billion in the bank and steadily growing profits.

You're absolutely right. Apple should throw out their entire business model and take advice from anonymous trolls who have never run a successful business, much less a successful multi-billion dollar computer business.

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Pirate

Re: Great Idea

I seem to recall Apple granting a licence to Motorola to produce & sell Apple Clones in the 1990's, under the name Power PC's, running Apple's (Current at the time version) OS until Apple realised that the clones were faster, better engineered, & generally more capable, and most importantly cheaper than the equivalent official Apple Product...

Suddenly & apparently without warning, Apple pulled the licence from Motorola...

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Silver badge

3rd party hardware

If Apple were smart enough they could significantly increase their userbase by allowing (by contract) 3rd party companies to produce complete units capable of running MacOS and (the most important part of the contract) be compatable with virtually all MacOS products.

This is partly why I and others think the Amiga fell by the wayside, I really enjoyed using Amigas but the fact they kept tight control over the chipsets was part of it's downfall, I reluctantly moved over to PCs because Amigas just couldn't keep up in terms of raw computing power, especially when the prices and performance of the hardware wasn't even in the PC's ballpark by the time I switched.

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Anonymous Coward

They've done that before.

Instead of eating into Windows share, the clone makers just cannibalised Apple's already diminishing share. This is why Microsoft ended up "lending"* Apple $150m so Apple wouldn't go under. This happened in 1997. Without being rude, before passing comment on these issues it's worth knowing the background.

*They actually bought $150m in *non voting stock* which has since been sold.

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Jobs Horns

WTF

"I'm also no fan of any company selling cheap shit, half baked systems at any price, especially one using questionable business tactics."

Michael you're being idiotic. Psystar's machines outperformed the originals and were sold with support contracts too. See http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2009/11/25/apple_clone_ban/ and go read the comments page.

So do your research first. PS: Apple sucks.

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FAIL

"The complete opposite of monopoly."

That made me lol.

It runs on Intel chips therefore it's not a monopoly.

There's just no arguing with that is there?

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Anonymous Coward

That's not what was said or even intimated!

So because OSX runs on Intel hardware, it should be available on any platform that supports said hardware? Why? Again, were having to explain what a monopoly *in law* is. I cannot be bothered personally. It's boring! Wikipedia's explanation is OK, the OECD's is spot on. Look them up.

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given how much money Apple makes

No-one could exactly ever look at their business model and shout 'you're doing it wrong!'

Apple make hardware, the OS is given away as a loss-leader @£25 to cover distribution costs. If they opened up the OS to run on anything, it would have to be as expensive as Windows and they'd not sell as much hardware which is where they make their money.

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@AC RE:$400??

I'm not a Mac fanboi - yes I use a Mac at home, but I also use a VM with Windows 7.

The difference is, once you've bought a Mac which comes with OS X, you only pay for upgrades - Snow Leopard was £25.

With Windows, you buy a PC with for example Windows Vista on, then when Windows 7 comes out you have to pay around £70. Not only that, if you want more features with the OS, you then have to pay yet another £70 to get all the functionality (Home Premium to Ultimate for example.)

OS X is unrestricted.

Also iWork (the Mac office suite) costs about £60. The standard version of MS Office costs around £250. Even the Mac version of Office is £110.

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