Apple Finally Sues Psystar For Selling Mac Clones

from the bring-up-the-eula dept

Apple has finally sued clone maker Psystar. This was widely expected, so the most surprising part is that it took so long. Psystar, of course, is the company that came on the scene a few months back claiming to sell Apple’s operating system on non-Apple hardware. At first, many people thought it was a hoax, but then Psystar actually started showing machines. Then the question turned to whether or not this is legal. While some say that this is almost certainly the end for Psystar, the company has insisted that what it’s doing is perfectly legal. That may be quite debatable, but if this does go to court, it could put to the test the question of just how enforceable end user license agreements (EULAs) really are. Apple’s EULA prevents buyers from putting its OS on a non-Apple machine — but as we’ve pointed out, even Apple has been known to ignore this provision. While chances are Apple will prevail, if Psystar is willing to put up the fight, it has the potential to limit the power of click-through agreements. Update: This just gets better and better. Not only is Apple suing, but it’s demanding that all Psystar machines that have already been sold need to be recalled.

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Companies: apple, psystar

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Comments on “Apple Finally Sues Psystar For Selling Mac Clones”

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Me, the fuzzy melon. says:

Fuck Jobs

Just as I should be able to install any software I own on any machine I choose. If I have one license to use I be able to own it on what ever I like.

Apples is still profiting from the Psystar sales, because Psystar purchases legitimate Copies of the OS.

EULAs are outdated and worthless.


Re: Fuck Jobs

I agree, that is dead on money. That is just a large corporation that has gobs of money that can do whatever they want to us poor PC/Mac loving bastards. I hope Psystar can win this case, it would be awesome to see OSX on a windows machine, Vista is basically Mac 5 years ago anywayz right? So why are they going after this small innovative company. Cause they can but this might be the flea that bites this big dog on the balls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Fuck Jobs

It might be a bit harder to understand, but the main reason why OS X is so strong on Apple machines is because it’s built on them. That specific set of hardware optimized and coded into the OS makes it what Windows isn’t. Because OS X works on limited hardware, it makes coding, optimizing, and troubleshooting that much easier. Less time developing and testing and more time innovating. Windows runs on everything because Microsoft spends its time regulating and yelling at other companies to make their hardware compatible.

It will be interesting where this goes.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re: Re: Fuck Jobs

Silicon Graphics did the same thing with specialized hardware/OS and then they had to sell off Cray Research and Maya, and they still went bankrupt a few years ago. I have a $30,000 machine that I couldn’t sell for $30 right now if I tried.

I don’t know if this is Apple in the future but SGI was the epitome of licensing as well since the hardware was serialized so that vendors could lock you in to one machine and you could do little about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Fuck Jobs

Sorry… I just got myself a mac, it just works, and I don’t want the driver problems that’s plaguing my windows machine. I mean, if the Pystars die, who’s fault is it to fix? Apple’s or Pystar’s? If Pystar goes out of business, is Apple supposed to service these windows boxes?

MLS (profile) says:

Of course Psystar may attack the enforceability of the OS EULA, but I would expect as part of its defense that it will charge Apple with violating antitrust law by tying the sale of one commodity (the OS, which can be purchased separately) to the use or puchase of another commodity (an Apple laptop/desktop).

The likely outcome at this stage of the proceedings is not at all apparent, and it will be quite interesting to read Psystar’s answer to the complaint.

JS Beckerist (profile) says:

Re: Re:

However, Apple is the sole producer of both the hardware and software. It isn’t violating anti-trust because there are certainly other options out there (ie: PCs)

Apple’s argument is that you can’t have one (software) without the other (hardware.)

Apple’s real point of contention is that they can jack the price of their hardware to 400% manufacturing costs, which is how they make a large portion of their money. With a competing hardware provider, their software (sold cheap) isn’t going to make them the same gobs of cash.

Apple: “Our product is both hardware AND software, you can’t sell one without the other.”

Psystar: “F— you, we don’t have to SIGN anything to get your software, and it’s perfectly legal to resell…”

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

However, Apple is the sole producer of both the hardware and software. It isn’t violating anti-trust because there are certainly other options out there (ie: PCs)

JS Beckerist, I believe MLS was referring to other aspects of antitrust law that forbid certain types of bundling. It’s unrelated specifically to market share.

It’s a defense that Psystar is likely to make and one that might have the same impact on EULAs, effectively putting a limit on what a company can put in their EULA if it violates other laws.

Firewalker says:

Making Money

Apple is first and foremost a hardware company. If you look at the cost of their software vs like MS products you will see the cost to the end user is substantially less. Apple makes very little on it’s software efforts. It is a mechanism to sell their hardware.

EULA is just that an agreement. You agree to abide by the terms by using the software. Remember the key word is License. You aren’t purchasing the software only the right to use it under the terms specified.

No I don’t work for Apple and I’m not a developer. I simply think that paying for good product is something we should do if we want continued quality and inovation. Apple has given us both in the past couple years, far more than their competition. Let’s pay them for the effort.

bobbknight says:

Lets compare apples and ornges er windows

XP Pro retail $270

SP1 Free

SP2 Free

SP3 Free

Total Cost $270

Apple OS X over $100

OS X.1 over $100

OS X.2 over $100

OS X.3 over $100

OS X.4 over $100

OS X.5 over $100

Total Cost Over $600

Plus you have to pay 2X as much for the box it goes on.

The value is with Windows here.

Of course if we added GNU/Linux the value would be with it.

WTF says:

Re: Lets compare apples and ornges er windows

Comparing XP to OS X 10.0-10.5 is not even a proper comparison. First off, 10.1 was free to 10.0 users. Second, unlike Service Packs, new OS X versions contain a slew of enhancements/new features, rather than just updating the base OS. The exception to this is the upcoming 10.6 “Snow Leopard” update, which focuses on performance and stability.

The better comparison would be XP-Vista and OS X 10.0-10.5. That’s $490 vs $500 (assuming you had been a 10.0 user continuously upgrading).

Andrew Farris says:

Re: Lets compare apples and ornges er windows

You cannot be serious… try comparing X.1 to Windows 2000, X.2 to XP, and X.3 to Vista, and you run out of any offerings from Microsoft to even compare to X.4 and X.5. These are not covered up bugs, but real innovative changes in the operating system.

What Apple is offering with those OS upgrades far outstrips the comparison of Service Packs which are merely collections of patches (for dangerously buggy software I might add) bundled into a single installable binary.

The value is certainly in favor of Linux these days, which has the UI polish to compete with OSX easily (Compiz Fusion in particular, especially with KDE4). But the first comparison you make equating cost of OSX to Windows is very inappropriate and inaccurate.

Sumbuddy Stoopid says:


Like to see how this pans out… Apple will prbly win cause they have the money to take it on. But it would be nice if they would modify the EULA to be installed on any system so I could use it on hardware from Newegg for half the price of a Mac. Pardon my sentence structure you grammer Nazi’s I’ve been drinking in front of computer again. Nothing new really… I am stoopid.

Freedom says:

>> Sorry… I just got myself a mac, it just works, and I don’t want the driver problems that’s plaguing my windows machine. I mean, if the Pystars die, who’s fault is it to fix? Apple’s or Pystar’s? If Pystar goes out of business, is Apple supposed to service these windows boxes?

Who cares? Seriously, if Pystar goes out of business, it’s just a basic PC box and probably any shop in your town could fix it. The same can’t be said for your Apple hardware. Nothing special about their boxes except they choose the right mix of hardware that plays well with Apple’s OS.

Bottom line, if you buy a Pystar, you shouldn’t expect support from Apple any ways. Get over it. If you need that sort of support, their box isn’t for you.


P0G0 says:

Not the first time

Steve Jobs wrote a spreadsheet in the early 80’s, gave it away at the computer Faires, and on CALL APPLE. where I got a copy. Soon after, Visicalc came out, then Lotus 123. Somewhere in there, Jobs had a shot at selling his little demo, and he actually tried to recall the product he had freely given away at the faires and published. I recall being twitched by his audacity then. Apple was also very pro-active, at Jobs insistance, in controlling access to the Apple ROMs, a move largely acknowledged as why they lost their majority market share in the PC world to IBM, which did not go out and train Customs agents to seize chips and motherboards, as did Apple. It’s how he thinks, and why he’s not as rich as Bill Gates- his short term greed has gotten in the way of his long term greed for most of his career. If he hadn’t been Wozniac’s partner in crime, selling phone phreaking boxes, I doubt he’d have ever made it to our collective radar screens.

Rose M. Welch says:

They might...

At BTR1701-

In Oklahoma, if you make a purchase at a pawn shop, and that item later turns out to be stolen, you would be compelled by a court of law to return the item. The pawn shop might or might not be compelled to return your money.

If a court decides that these machines are some sort of stolen goods, then they might demand a customer list and go from there.

A month ago, I would have said that they might get money from Psystar, but nothing else… But with FISA passing, a wrist-slap for ComCast, and customer lists to Viacom, I believe that anything can, and will, happen.

Fucking sad, huh?

Fuzzy Melon says:

Re: They might...

Well thank god the sued in California then. Dumb ass.

Stolen? How the fuck could you consider a Psystar machine stolen? There is no way Apple is getting these recalled. Psystar owned and resold the copy of OSX installed on the machine.

The issue is did Psystar violate the EULA by installing it on non-apple hardware. This is the only beef apple has with them.

I hope to God that Psystar wins.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: They might...

> If a court decides that these machines are some sort of stolen goods

The Supreme Court ruled long ago that copyright infringement is *not* theft, therefore no court could legally find these computers to be stolen goods.

But even if they did, all you’d have to do is say, “The machine broke and I got rid of it. Gave it to Goodwill, sold it at a garage sale, threw it away, etc. I have no idea who has it now.”

There are so many ways you could reasonably have disposed of it that unless they’re willing to run criminal search warrants on all property associated with every single customer (and I’d love to see the probable cause affidavit on that one), there’s no way they could reasonably force people who bought these computers to return them.

Rose M. Welch says:

Re: Re: They might...

I didn’t say it would work.

I said they could try.

And I said that I have zero trust in what the court system will do nowadays.

Do I think it makes sense?

Hell, no! But neither does the Viacom deal or many, many other things that are passing by the wayside, Constitution and legal precedence be damned.

Ed Nugent says:

Psystar is going to get their ass handed to them, and the reason is simple. Apple has a right to decide who can resell their products as new. Every manufacturer of any product has the same right. If Ford doesn’t want you selling their new model cars, you can’t. You can however sell “used” Fords. Psystar are not selling used macs or used OSX disks (as in the AutoDesk case). Psystar has positioned itself as a VAR of sorts for OSX, and they have no agreements in place with Apple to act as such.

DanC says:

Re: Re:

Apple has a right to decide who can resell their products as new. Every manufacturer of any product has the same right.

Psystar legitimately purchased the OS, since Apple has made available separately. Therefore, due to the first sale doctrine, they have the right to resell it. You are mistaken if you believe something must be “used” before it can be resold. Once the first sale has occurred, the manufacturer can no longer exercise control over the sold product.

The real question is whether Apple’s EULA stipulation that the OS can only be installed on Apple hardware is enforceable.

tater says:

the customer agreed to nothing

You only agree to the EULA if you are the one who clicks “I Agree” or “Yes”. If you never saw it then you agreed to NOTHING. If the OS is preinstalled and boots straight to a login or desktop or doesnt present the EULA in any way then the customer did not agree and is not bound by it.

Once sold, if psystar is a licensed software dealer to buy for intent to resell, then Apple has only copyright infringment for hacking OSX.

Apple cannot get a recall unless something is considered stolen. If the copies of OSX are paid for then nothing is stolen , only infringed upon. They could ask for the OSX disks to be returned at best. Me personally, I would tell Apple to go fu%k themselves if I owned a Psystar box.

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