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Apple Believes Someone Is Behind Psystar 606

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the put-on-your-foil-hats dept.
rgraham writes "From the article on Growler: 'Apple apparently believes that somebody else is behind Psystar, which might help to explain why a major law firm would take on what seems like a fly-by-night's case; also why Psystar has been so bold in continuing to sell its products. I knew this thing felt funny. As Alice in Wonderland might put it, "It gets interestinger and interestinger."'"
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Apple Believes Someone Is Behind Psystar

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  • Folowing the money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by actionbastard (1206160) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:50AM (#25989445)
    That's all the amended filing is doing is covering all bases by looking for anyone with deep pockets who may be bankrolling Psystar.
  • by saterdaies (842986) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:56AM (#25989553)

    There are lots of PC companies that probably see Windows as a bit of a stumbling block to future sales. Dell has definitely said that it would like to sell machines with OS X. Should a court rule that Apple does not have the right to restrict OS X to its own hardware, that would open the floodgates to major manufacturers including Dell and HP to selling machines with OS X. It's not that hard to imagine one of those companies throwing money at a legally separate LLC/Inc that could bring the issue before a court. Should they [Psystar] loose, small loss. Should they win, those companies get a new product to sell in a market clamoring for Apple stuff.

  • by Starturtle (1148659) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:02PM (#25989643) Homepage
    It's not unusual to add unknown defendants to an action where all the tortfeasors are not known yet. This is simply a precautionary measure to ensure that Apple can bring a claim for damages against a party unknown to them should, through out the course of the proceedings, it is found that an unnamed defendant arises. By not adding an unknown party, would leave them in a situation where they would have to reinitiate the process from the start. As someone stated earlier it's simply a case of covering all bases.
  • sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:08PM (#25989737)
    You know, this sounds really familiar. Oh yeah [slashdot.org]. Maybe now that SCOX is mostly dead the Microsoft dirty tricks shell corporations (e.g., Baystar) are looking for a new game.
  • Biased much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:10PM (#25989765) Homepage Journal

    which might help to explain why a major law firm would take on what seems like a fly-by-night's case

    I have no interest in Psystar's products but that doesn't mean they're illegitimate. The biggest allegation I've heard on Slashdot is of them pirating OS X, but I've seen no proof that they've sold more copies than they've bought. I don't get the double standard of why Compaq's cloning of the PC was good while Psystar's cloning of the Mac is bad, other than Steve's reality distortion field.

  • Re:Awwww... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:10PM (#25989777)

    I would think Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony etc. not MS, whose world domination strategy still centers around Windows.

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:11PM (#25989781) Homepage Journal

    Seriously it could be any one of a number of reasons. Lawyers are like dance hall hookers - you got the money they got the time so the fact a high price firm gets involved means little really.

    The size of a company's bank account is usually proportional to their size. High-priced lawyers tend to want lots more money that a small company like Psystar likely has unless they have a puppetmaster.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:14PM (#25989819)

    ell has definitely said that it would like to sell machines with OS X. Should a court rule that Apple does not have the right to restrict OS X to its own hardware, that would open the floodgates to major manufacturers including Dell and HP to selling machines with OS X.

    Sure, except you forget that Microsoft still has both hands on their balls right now. "Go ahead, sell OS X, but we won't give you OEM pricing then, you'll pay retail." Small companies like this one are the only ones that can pull this off because they don't have legions of angry shareholders and lawsuits to worry about, who would be rightfully pissed about a $100 increase in unit shipping price over an OS with a ~7% market share. Most won't even put Linux on their systems right now because of this, and Linux is free.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:15PM (#25989833)

    Well... The last time Mac OS had a licence for 3rd party use. Apple almost died from it. But also it can be a case to discredit the value of OS X. By opening the legal floodgates for having OS X compete on the same level that MS does gives MS and advantage as Windows tends to run better on Crappy (not necessarily slow but 3rd party rip off, or the product that do not have full functionality, eg. celerons ) hardware. And being that OS X doesn't have drivers for all the different platform options and the hardware makers already grudgingly make the drivers for Microsoft. Will make OS X run more unstable and flakier then Windows. Thus having Apple to loose a competitive advantage. However this is rather a complex marketing strategy. I would suspect the funding for the law suits were probably from companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo who just want to be able to ship OS X on their platforms so they can be Hip and Trendy too. Also not be stuck with Windows.

  • by glop (181086) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:15PM (#25989839)

    Yeah right! Microsoft can't wait till everybody can buy MacOS X for their PC!
    And what joy it would be to them if Psystar could invalidate the EULA so that Dell could then ship their PCs with MacOS X!

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:19PM (#25989893) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe it would be them. Undermining EULAs hardly serves MS's interests. On this case, I would expect Apple and Microsoft to be allied and want the same outcome: that people agree (lawyer speak) to contracts that they never actually agreed (laymen speak) to.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:20PM (#25989933)

    6. Get sued to hell and gone by shareholders and the SEC who just found out they diverted money off the books.

    Apple watches their SEC filings -- and they have to disclose where all their money goes as a publicly-traded company. If its discovered that Dell directly financed this company and didn't disclose it in their SEC filings, their next investment will be in Crisco.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:22PM (#25989955)

    Or maybe by someone who wants to save us from Apple's ridiculous and limiting EULA shrinkwrap nonsense.

    >Should they win, those companies get a new product to sell in a market clamoring for Apple stuff.

    That's true, but we also get a whole hell of a lot more consumer rights. Imagine being able to return software for a refund! Or running the software you paid for on anything you like. Or selling it. You know, the basic consumer rights we take for granted for everything except software.

    Freedom to tinker and freedom to use is bigger than Apple. Much bigger.

  • by tuxgeek (872962) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:35PM (#25990161)

    I seriously doubt Microsoft would be behind this scam.
    After reading the Groklaw article it sounds like the PCs are cheaply built with the options of Vista or Mac OSX.
    No finger pointing here, but China has become pretty adept at distributing reverse engineered and/or unlocked proprietary software.

    My magic 8 ball says that Apple will successfully shut Psystar down eventually, only to re-emerge under a different name somewhere else in the future.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:39PM (#25990251)
    Apple is alleging 2 things which, if either is proven, means that Psystar would lose.
    1. Psystar modified OS X to run on these machines.
      Psystar does not have permissions to modify OS X and resell it.
    2. Psystar is distributing patches.
      Psystar was never given permission to redistribute OS X.

    Whether Apple should be forced to sell to their competitors is another matter. As it stands now, legally Apple has a case.

  • by monkeyboythom (796957) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:39PM (#25990269)

    From the OP, it's actually "curiouser and curiouser" cried Alice, not "interestinger"

    Sheesh.

  • Re:Growler Groklaw (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:40PM (#25990275)

    "PJ is a paralegal, not a lawyer."

    http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=20040923045054130 [groklaw.net]

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:42PM (#25990305)

    Yes, but when talking PC MANUFACTURERS, Dell and HP have a serious competitor in Apple. Much of that attractiveness that Apple has compared to their offerings is in their operating system. In effect, Apple can manage to jack up the price and offer an extremely limited number of hardware options, but still pull in sales due to an advantage that Dell and HP simply don't have access to.

    Eliminating that advantage would do a lot to drive some Apple customers to Dell and/or HP. At the same time, a lot of people with Windows systems that they don't want to replace might jump at the chance to replace it with a Mac(TM) by Dell or Mac(TM) by HP.

    Either way, if this decision went in favor of Pystar, I don't see it being anything but good for the other major computer manufacturers.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:42PM (#25990311)

    I do believe a little ruling a few years ago basically said no, Microsoft CANT do that. This is why Dell and HP have been able to sell Linux and Unix systems on top of their Microsoft OEM products.

    No, Microsoft couldn't contractually force them to sell only Windows. That doesn't mean they can't just say "we're not giving you a discount anymore and we're not saying why." You think people that are fired for being gay are ever told that's why? Or people that are profiled by the police are told "We pulled you over because you're black"? There's always been ways around laws that say you can't do X for reason Y, because there's always reason Z, which is what everyone will claim was the reason, never Y.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:53PM (#25990525)

    As Alice in Wonderland might put it ...

    Sheesh.

  • by eltonito (910528) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:59PM (#25990615)

    Every time I see that "Honda/road" analogy I just want to grab the guy from Psystar who said it by the collar and shake him senseless for making such a craptacular analogy.

    A more apt analogy might be "Imagine that Honda created some ECU programming that yields 15% better fuel efficiency. Instead of developing their own programming, Hyundai backwards-engineers the Honda ECU into their cars and buys the Honda ECU's on the aftermarket. Hyundai then advertises that they are running the Honda ECU efficiency program and Honda takes them to court."

    It doesn't even have to be efficiency. Maybe the ECU makes the motor spew fire or something, but it makes a lot more sense than the ill-formed "Honda/Road" analogy.

  • by fermion (181285) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:11PM (#25990807) Homepage Journal
    MS Windows might be a stumbling block to future sales, but the OEMs are hardly doing anything about it. Decent laptops are not that cheap. A decent laptop, wth decent screen size, and decent memory, are $900. If one upgrades to the full Vista, then it is $1000. Sure one can get a cheap laptop, but I would hardly consider those vista ready. Sony of course has really nice, really expensive machines, better than Apple, if you don't care about battery life.

    I have said this before. If MS windows OS was an issue, HP/Compaq have the experience to fix it. Dell, Sony, etc and the others only flog whatever they are told to flog, so they are pretty much stuck. the only reason any of them would want to sell Mac OS machines is to have an excuse to raise the price of the machines, like they have done with *nix machines.

    What we saw in the previous Mac OS licensing experiment was that it was difficult to support all those clones. I know many people whose machines worked at first, but over time become incompatible with the OS. One part of the Apple strategy is that it will only support it tech that it wants to. We no longer have SCSI. We no longer have firewire on the low end machines. We have not seen a floppy on a Mac since 1999. The strategy of the PC OEM, which is to use whatever is cheapest component at the moment, and expect MS to support it, will not work with Apple. It only works because of most offices, computers are set up as a redundant array of cheap PCs, in which any machine is expected to fail, and redundancies are built in.

  • Re:Biased much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:24PM (#25991013)

    Try it with a Harry Potter book and see how far you get.

  • by LandruBek (792512) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:27PM (#25991057)

    No one claimed it was a quote from Alice, instead it is something "Alice might have said," for instance if she ran Groklaw.

  • Re:Awwww... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:48PM (#25991427)

    QUESTION:

    Why is it illegal to clone Apple Macintosh computers, but it was not illegal to clone the IBM PC? Why is Apple protected, but IBM was not? What's the distinction?

    ANSWER:

    The IBM PC was generic hardware with an operating system owned by Microsoft, and Microsoft didn't have any agreement that precluded them from working with other companies. OSX is an operating system owned by Apple which Apple is not willing to license to other companies.

  • Re:sounds familiar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EricWright (16803) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:48PM (#25992395) Journal

    Hmmm... Baystar. Psystar. Coincidence? I think not!

  • Re:Biased much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:54PM (#25992471)

    Apple sold them thousands of copies at full retail, which would mean those copies are subject to the usual EULA for OSX. One of the conditions is that OSX is only licensed for use on Apple-branded hardware.

    The usual EULA terms apply.

    The unique EULA terms OSX uses to assert that it binds the user to use it with Apple branded hardware MIGHT apply. Normally when you BUY something, the vendor doesn't get to decide what you use it with, or whether you resell it.

    So apple is claiming Psystar broke elements of the EULA, and Psystar is claiming those elements of the EULA are bullshit. Hence the lawsuit. Psystar hasn't violated anything if the EULA terms aren't valid.

    Additionaly, I'm pretty sure it's full of language preventing you from selling modified copies of OSX

    They aren't modified copies. They are the originals with some software added. Next you'll be saying its illegal for me to buy a Dell, install some software, and then resell it, simply because "Dell said so."

    Hint: Dell doesn't get to decide what people do with things they buy. As long as they don't violate copyright and other laws, its not up to Dell. Apple doesn't automatically get special powers simply because it wrote them in a click-through EULA. The EULA has been upheld by law, insofar as its terms are =standard=.

    Strange or unusual terms have no automatic legal standing.

    This also means bypassing a technical means of controlling access to a copyrighted work (DMCA violation).

    1) Copyright is not violated by the bypass. And their is no intent to violate copyright. And indeed the technical measure in question is not there as part of a copyright scheme.

    2) per the DMCA
    --
    a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to... [indentify/analyse], or for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.
    --

    So it doesn't cause infringement, and it does enable interoperability with the bios and software layers psystar uses to get OSX to boot up.

    Apple bringing the DMCA into this is ABUSE. Plain and simple. The DMCA was written to protect copyright, not to legally enshrine the right of companies to prevent end-users from arbitrary non-copyright related uses.

    For example: suppose I wrote software with a technical measure that prevented you from using it on Thursdays. That is clearly "technical measure restricting access to a protected work". However it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the DMCA, and it would not be appropriate to charge someone who bypassed that measure with a DMCA violation. To even attempt to do so is a gross abuse of the DMCA.

    If I don't want you using the software on Thursdays, and you sign a contract agreeing to it, I can sue you for beach of contract, but it shouldn't have anything to do with the DMCA.

  • by EEBaum (520514) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:54PM (#25992483) Homepage
    I highly doubt she might have put it that way. Word choice is very heavily geared toward how things sound and flow in the Alice books, and "interestinger" sounds terrible. It chokes up the sentence.
  • Re:Awwww... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @03:03PM (#25992613)

    The sound output on an iPod isn't *that* bad... it's about on a par with any other MP3 player in the same range... at least, the ones I've used: Zune and a Sansa, as well as my Nokia 6085 cell phone, which I'm using now. The main problem with sound quality in an iPod has nothing to do with the decoding hardware, and everything to do with the crappy headphones it ships with.

  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @03:39PM (#25993167)

    To be fair, sometimes they added a twist where there was an obviously disgruntled minor character AND an amicable minor character. The gang would then always incorrectly pursue the disgruntled character (who likes a grumpy gus anyway?) only to be shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU! when the disgruntled character proved instrumental in helping them catch the real culprit, the amicable one. Also, the disgruntled one was usually an under cover cop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:30PM (#25993857)

    I still say doctrine of first sale should apply here. OS X is a commodity good sold off the shelf, not a work for hire nor is it a rental. In fact it's not even a licensed work, just as a book is not licensed. It is simply a commodity good covered by Copyright. When I buy software, I am buying a tangible good, NOT a contract. If I open the software and see the EULA and reject the "license," I cannot get a refund. So, they take my money and I cannot make use of the product? That's bull crap.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

    Once you purchase it (as Pystar does) you should (and do) have the legal right to do what you like with that good, including using the DVD as a coaster, a frisbee (er, flying discuss), landfill, decor, or, yes, even install it on a non-Apple-branded peecee or reverse engineer it, regardless of bullshit "for Macintoshes" or "For Apple-branded computers" being listed in the system requirements. As far as the EULA goes - do they (Apple) even accept returns on opened software packages? You don't see the EULA until install time, but again, it's a commodity good, you OWN THAT COPY. The ONLY thing you cannot do is violate the copyright outside of the limited framework allowed by Fair Use. So long as Pystar ships the PCs with legally-purchased OS X media, I fail to see Apple's complaint as anything other than frivolous.

    It is not a commodity. Software is licensed to you, not sold to you. You do not own software, you are licensed to use it.

  • by bnenning (58349) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @05:07PM (#25994389)

    THat is to say, if you are buying an apple it's either for aethetics, ease of use for grandma or the volunteers at your non-profit, or compatibility, or the relatively low cost of tech support, set up, and training.

    Or because it's a Unix that runs Office and Photoshop, and supports wireless cards and GPUs without having to compile experimental kernel modules. (Yes, Linux is getting better. No, it's not there yet).

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @06:11PM (#25995219) Homepage

    WTF are you smoking, and WTF are those who modded you insightful smoking?!

    Or maybe by someone who wants to save us from Apple's ridiculous and limiting EULA shrinkwrap nonsense.

    What kind of dumbass are you? The shrinkwrap EULA stays the same whether you get OSX with an Apple or a "compatible" piece of hardware. How does that save you from Apple's EULA?!

    >Should they win, those companies get a new product to sell in a market clamoring for Apple stuff.

    That's true, but we also get a whole hell of a lot more consumer rights. Imagine being able to return software for a refund! Or running the software you paid for on anything you like. Or selling it. You know, the basic consumer rights we take for granted for everything except software.

    Again, WTF ARE YOU SMOKING?! If you don't want an OSX system, don't buy an Apple. You have already indicated that you prefer a typical PC, than an Apple branded one. WHY WOULD YOU BUY AN APPLE BRANDED PC THEN IF YOU DON'T WANT OSX?!

    If you *DO* want OSX, then you don't get to return the software since you need that license.

    Freedom to tinker and freedom to use is bigger than Apple. Much bigger.

    Apparently, in your case, it also provides freedom from thinking. And those stupid modders too.

  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @07:13PM (#25996061) Homepage Journal
    If the Psystar counter claim had succeeded it would have put quite a lot of pressure on quite a number of companies. Imagine that you could no longer make printer cartridges that only work in your printer. Or that the cartridges that hold the twine in your weedwacker had to be universal or you could be sued.

    The implications of making one part of a system proprietary would go right out the window and many companies would be at a serious disadvantage. That few people understand the nature of a monopoly is obvious. It's even more obvious that they understand the law even less.

    It has never been illegal to have a monopoly, it is only illegal when you have such a monopoly that you can merely threaten your competition out of business. Or by withholding your product from people that deal with competitors and thereby seriously impact the entry to the market.

    Having a monopoly however brief is the be all and end all of all capitalistic entities not matter who they are. Cheating to keep that monopoly is where companies like MS run afoul of the law. While AT&T was merely so large that they could keep anyone from competing.
  • The vicious Cycle (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @07:23PM (#25996213)

    As the world is increasingly stupefied, the demand for Macs rise...

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