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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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  • Awwww... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vvaduva (859950) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:50AM (#25989447)

    ...are they implying that Microsoft has something to do with this? Steve Mobs has quite an imagination. Come on guys. :)

  • by liraz (77590) * <liraz@turnkeylinux.org> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @11:50AM (#25989455) Homepage

    These are pretty serious allegations, but if it's true it wouldn't be the first time this has happend.

    Hmmm... I wonder who would have the most to gain by undermining Apple. Could it possibly be a major corporation with an infamous [linux.com] track record of attacking [boycottnovell.com] its competition by proxy [channelregister.co.uk]?

  • by NtroP (649992) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:02PM (#25989649)

    Do you suppose it might be someone like Dell interested in testing the waters anonymously?

    Not saying it's Dell or HP but I know they are in a bit of a pinch lately and I'd bet they believe they could out-compete Apple on margins and use their name-recognition to get the unwashed masses to switch. Imagine a Dell that could run Linux, Windows and OS X out of the box for $500.00. People would be switching left and right. Many Windows users could give a crap about aesthetics or build-quality so they'd not hesitate to go with Dell. Also, Pystar is selling servers, which is another area Dell is big in that could benefit from a broader selection. Apple would lose for sure unless they started selling OS X client for $500.00 a pop and server for $1000.00. But Dell would never risk "testing the waters" themselves, so when they see this little upstart come along, it's in their best interests to support them and help them succeed.

    1. Support PyStar quietly in the background
    2. if they gain traction "buy" Pystar
    3. diversify their offerings so as not to miss the mac surge and have leverage with MS
    4. ...?
    5. Profit
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:08PM (#25989735)

    This part is interesting...

    8. On information and belief, persons other than Psystar are involved in Psystarâ(TM)s unlawful and improper activities described in this Amended Complaint. The true names or capacities, whether individual, corporate, or otherwise, of these persons are unknown to Apple. Consequently they are referred to herein as John Does 1 through 10 (collectively the âoeJohn Doe Defendantsâ). On information and belief, the John Doe Defendants are various individuals and/or corporations who have infringed Appleâ(TM)s intellectual property rights, breached or induced the breach of Appleâ(TM)s license agreements and violated state and common law unfair competition laws. Apple will seek leave to amend this complaint to show the unknown John Doe Defendantsâ(TM) true names and capacities when they are ascertained.

    I wonder what they mean by "on information and belief".

    Is that standard language for "we suspect", or does 'on information' mean that Apple has come across something more substantial?

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

    by gfxguy (98788) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:16PM (#25989855)

    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...

    Because IBM was big and evil and Apple isn't, so we get to apply different standards based on our whims.

    FWIW, I support Psystar, too. I'd love a Mac at less than Mac prices.

  • Re:Power Computing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comcast. n e t> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:32PM (#25990099) Journal
    Only problem with that is anyone who was important with Power Computing was bought by Apple. Power Computing was the only clone manufacturer who was completely bought by Apple as opposed to having their contract canceled like the other and for good reason, their computers unlike the other clones where excellent. Apple even hosted Power Computings tool and software utilities for years after they bought them out.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:34PM (#25990141)
    I think you're being a little naive (and the mods too) because this looks precisely like what happened with SCO, which was also a fairly small company that was trying to find (rediscover in their case) "a niche to grow in". To actually push their claims, they required large influxes of cash from a Microsoft shell corporation [linux-watch.com]. The way to answer this is to find who is financing Psystar and what conditions that financing is contingent on, e.g. in the case of Baystar, they actually threatened to sue SCO if SCO failed to continue their strong-arm legal tactics against IBM and linux in general. If Psystar were "just a small business" and not being pushed by someone else, why would they sue Apple so dramatically? More likely they would try to stay under the radar off Apple until they were comfortably profitable to resist the inevitable law suit from Apple.
  • Re:Is it.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:35PM (#25990177)

    The Gates foundation is too busy building Doomsday seed vaults [globalresearch.ca] with the Rockefeller foundation and Monsanto and genetically engineering mosquitoes [americanscientist.org].

  • No Bias Here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:44PM (#25990337) Homepage

    So, Apple apparently believes that somebody else is behind Psystar,

    Apple also initially believed Psystar did not exist. Apple has a bit of a blind spot to the capabilities of a garage startup. That may seem surprising, since they were a garage startup. But then, it's been three decades of anti-competitive lawmaking and sanctification of the megacorp since then.

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

    Yes. 'cuz god forbid a decent law firm would represent a pissant. If we can't rely on the legal system to prejudicially inhibit the growth of disruptive startups, we'll be throwing the doors open to unrestrained justice, treating small firms as though they have the same rights as our most honored entrenched divas.

    also why Psystar has been so bold in continuing to sell its products.

    Indeed - how dare they continue running a business which they believe to be both legal and profitable, despite the fact that they have so clearly upset The Steve?!?

    I knew this thing felt funny.

    Which thing? Your wild editorializing and doe-eyed acceptance of Apple's press-release-by-court-filing?

    I'm not saying that what Psystar is doing is necessarily in compliance with the law, but come on - this is a conspiracy theory. If Psystar was backed by some shadowy CABAL, their first address wouldn't have been a house (which lead to Apple's hypothesis that the whole company was a hoax).

    Here's my question: What is going to happen when Psystar can't produce these back-room ne'er-do-wells? Will Apple press discovery and demand that Psystar prove a negative, that the conspiracy is not?

  • Re:Biased much? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:45PM (#25990365) Homepage

    Apple *IS* evil... way more evil than IBM could ever try to be in their wildest imaginations.

    Apple once granted permission to make an Apple 2 clone to a company that did that and made it LOTS better. Apple sued and won on the basis of "We said you could make a clone, not embarrass us by making it way better!"

    This is the story of the Apple IIe and the Franklin computer. It is one of the ugliest things I have seen happen in the business world and I will never forget it and the company associated with it.

    The practice of making clones and copies is one of the most important practices behind development, innovation and technological progress. Try to restrict that and you are trying to stop the world from growing.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:53PM (#25990531)

    I think you're being a little naive (and the mods too) because this looks precisely like what happened with SCO

    I'm not being naive, I'm trying to avoid slashdot turning into a forum where people have had their sense of humor surgically removed. Sacred cows make the best hamburgers, and Apple's fanbase is just too tempting of a target. nom nom nom.

    But if we must be serious... Why sue Apple in a "dramatic way". Well, has anyone sued Apple in a boring and non-dramatic way recently? No. Apple's lawyers are legendary. Suitors routinely stage reenactments of Custer's last stand in the courtroom. Why would you try to stay "under the radar" until being sued? What -- hoping that the armies of Mordor won't notice the Ring Bearer until its too late? It makes more sense to use the lawsuit as free press, rather than wait for them to descend on you. Besides, it looks better bravely charging into battle than it does making your last stand -- people are more likely to buy your product if they think you're on the offense than if you're fighting extinction.

  • Re:sounds familiar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:18PM (#25990925) Journal

    it's a baiting scam. first they sell a couple million psystars with OSX, then when justice says all of those copies must be wiped from the hardrives and returned to apple, owners will have to replace the OS with vista.

    they annoy apple senselessly AND cash in a couple million sales. win-win for redmond

  • Re:Awwww... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Keith Russell (4440) <keith.russellNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:22PM (#25990985) Journal

    Complaining that iTunes on the iPod doesn't support Microsoft DRM doesn't pass my sniff test. I simply do not believe there is a customer in the world that would sue over that.

    1. Joe Baggadonuts buys a PlaysForSure-compatible media player
    2. Joe accumulates a large collection of PlaysForSure-encrusted songs
    3. Joe's kid breaks the media player
    4. Joe sees that iPod is "compatible" with Windows Media files
    5. Joe buys an iPod
    6. (Joe misses fine print stating that iTunes converts WMA to AAC)
    7. (Joe misses fine print stating that iTunes will not convert DRM-encrusted WMA files)
    8. Joe realizes that none of the songs he bought for his old player work anymore
    9. LAWSUIT!

    PJ can be a little paranoid sometimes. God bless her, she's got a good heart, but it occasionally outraces her brain.

    Then again, have we seen this yet?

    1. Joe Baggadonuts buys a PlaysForSure-compatible media player
    2. Joe accumulates a large collection of PlaysForSure-encrusted songs
    3. Joe's kid breaks the media player
    4. Joe sees that Zune is also by Microsoft
    5. Joe buys an Zune
    6. (Joe misses fine print stating that Zune doesn't use PlaysForSure DRM scheme)
    7. (Joe misses fine print stating that PlaysForSure licenses can't be converted to Zune Store)
    8. Joe realizes that none of the songs he bought for his old player work anymore
    9. LAWSUIT?
  • Re:Awwww... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:26PM (#25991043)

    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?

  • by raddan (519638) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:46PM (#25991401)
    As soon as Apple can't restrict sales of Mac OS X to people who own Apple hardware, you know what you'll see? Apple will stop selling Mac OS X as a standalone product. The Apple faithful will just suck it up and buy new hardware.
  • Apple is behind it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:57PM (#25991567)

    Apple probably hired pystar to create a weak but precedent setting test case they could smash.

    More seriously,
    one can claim pystar is somehow a good value or something but this takes sheer cognative dissonance since it's impossibly far from the truth.

    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.

    Now let's think about this. Does pystar meet any of those features? uh.... No. not one. they are loud, highly idiosyncratic, hard to keep updated, and a support nightmare, and many softwares and hardware devices won't work.

    What's the market? cheapness? well certainly not at the low end. And at the high end--well it you want performance and dont care about comptibility then get a PC or a linux machine?

    it's the OJ simpson defense: it does not fit.

    But Apples implication that it's just a loss leader. Shove anything out the door so you can get a foot in the door makes a lot more sense.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:04PM (#25991675) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Re:Awwww... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:15PM (#25991837) Homepage

    Look to Amazon software top 10, you will be really surprised.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/software/ref=sv_sw_0 [amazon.com]

    First is MS Office (yes, true) and second is MS Office for MAC! MS makes huge money from OS X software sales. If you remember the best, optimistic market share of OS X is 10%...

    Norton Antivirus at #3 of that list should be very alerting for a sane OS vendor BTW.

    ps:it is a dynamic list so it may change

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:31PM (#25992099)

    A lot of people aren't copying Apple's hardware though (at least not their computers). The most serious competition in the desktop computer market, where the majority of computers are sold, is an area where Apple doesn't even have an offering: a basic tower system. Trust me for the people who are actually buying Apple for the hardware, they'd keep buying Apple hardware if OS X was licensed out. For the people who don't really care about the system (ie, me) but just want the OS, they'd probably go with something different.

    Business use for Macs? A lot of the problem here is that companies often negotiate long term contracts with hardware vendors. Apple doesn't compete there on one important element: cost. Also, many government institutions like where I work are under a state-level contract with one vendor (in our case, Dell). I can buy whatever computer or server that I want so long as it's a Dell.

    As to your problem with Apple's server offerings: I don't see how that would be a problem if they were just licensing the OS. OS X itself makes for a good server OS (and most of the open source software that runs on Linux will run on OS X too), and if other companies could make servers that run it, then lower spec rack mounts wouldn't be an issue.

    It's obvious that while Apple would lose hardware sales, they'd sell AT LEAST as many copies of the OS as they already do. They're already racking up nearly 10% of all new computer sales. So say that went from 10% of computer sales to 15 or 20% of all operating system sales (almost instantly - plenty of room for that to grow over time). I'd wager than 15% of all operating systems sold on new computers would be plenty enough profit to keep Apple nice and healthy. And if they keep up at the pace they're going (and Microsoft keeps faltering), then I can see that 15% EASILY becoming 40-50% within the next decade.

  • Re:Awwww... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Verdatum (1257828) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:55PM (#25992487)
    From Triumph of the Nerds [pbs.org]:
    Bill Lowe
    Head, IBM IBM PC Development Team 1980
    He kind of said well, what should we do, and I said well, we think we know what we would like to do if we were going to proceed with our own product and he said no, he said at IBM it would take four years and three hundred people to do anything, I mean it's just a fact of life. And I said no sir, we can provide with product in a year. And he abruptly ended the meeting, he said you're on Lowe, come back in two weeks and tell me what you need.

    An IBM product in a year! Ridiculous! Down in the basement Bill still has the plan. To save time, instead of building a computer from scratch, they would buy components off the shelf and assemble them -- what in IBM speak was called 'open architecture.' IBM never did this. Two weeks later Bill proposed his heresy to the Chairman.

    Bill Lowe
    And frankly this is it. The key decisions were to go with an open architecture, non IBM technology, non IBM software, non IBM sales and non IBM service. And we probably spent a full half of the presentation carrying the corporate management committee into this concept. Because this was a new concept for IBM at that point.
    BOB: Was it a hard sell?
    BILL: Mr. Carey bought it. And as result of him buying it, we got through it.


    In other words, IBM said "0 n0ez, @pp1e be drinkin' mah milkshaik!! BUILD PC FAST!!1!"
  • Re:Biased much? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:21PM (#25993747) Journal

    All of the mustang variants I'm aware of are done through cooperation and permission with Ford.

    It's also in the nature of a car to be modified by its owners and resold--the car is primarily a functional item, rather than an expression. If you built something else with the same *lines* as a mustang, ford lawyers would be parachuting in :)

    hawk

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:46PM (#25994111)

    You argument is greatly weakened by citing boycottnovell. You should stick to sources that don't make up a large chunk of their material.

    For instance, BN repeatedly claims that MS is behind Acacia. They base this entirely on the fact that a couple of ex-MS people work for Acacia. What they completely ignore is the long history of Acacia threatening to sue (and occasionally actually suing) Microsoft.

    Further, they ignore that the Acacia suit against a couple of Linux vendors was underway for a long time before Acacia hired any ex-MS employees.

    Acacia is small enough that it is simply NOT POSSIBLE for them to both be a major legal opponent of Microsoft, and to be cooperating with Microsoft, without running into serious problems from both a legal ethics standpoint (and much of their management is lawyers who take those things seriously) and from a financial standpoint (as a public company, they would not be able to work both sides of the street this way without it showing up in their filings)

    This is typical for BN. I challenge you to spend one week reading every news item there, and trying to follow all the links in it to original sources. You will be shocked just how much turns out to be based only on rumors that originated in earlier BN stories. BN's authors are the Nancy Grace of open source reporting.

  • Re:Awwww... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AndrewStephens (815287) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @08:30PM (#25997029) Homepage

    This is a very interesting part of computer history. Basically IBM used a whole lot of off-the-shelf stuff in the IBM PC (both the hardware and MSDOS). A few other companies realized that they could get in on the game, but they needed the BIOS which IBM would never give them.

    Columbia Data Products eventually came up with their own version of the BIOS by having one team of engineers reverse-engineer the IBM BIOS and write a specification. That specification was given to a totally separate team to implement. This so-called development method was designed so that IBM could never claim that the CDP BIOS was a direct copy of theirs even though it was pretty much exactly compatible down the to register level. [wikipedia.org]

    Of course, this was all before software methods could be patented - it is likely that any company doing something similar today would be sued.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @08:40PM (#25997145)

    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.

    Youve never tried to set up a Mac in a mixed corporate environment have you?

    Per machine, Mac's have the highest support cost, not to mention the highest downtime due to the fact that it takes an authorised "Apple" repair centre 5 days to replace a power supply in an Imac, Dell or Toshiba will replace a motherboard with 24 hours of making a support call so just one incident of failed HW per year tends to give Mac's the highest downtime and Macs have at least one hardware failure a year. Mac's have the same failure rate as any other PC using consumer components (because they use the same components (Seagate HDD, Intel Processor, Foxconn Motherboard) as any other manufacturer), we overestimate and say that each machine will have three HW failures a year and plan accordingly for the machine to be out of commission for the average repair time, for mac's that 5 business days per incident. While we are on HW, Mac HW diagnostic programs are a joke. Also I spend more time just getting Mac users to connect to the Windows and Linux servers than I do fixing complex XP and Vista problems.

    Put a Mac in an mixed environment where real tech support is needed and every minute of downtime costs money and the true cost of operation sky-rockets. Not to mention that just like everything else Mac related, an extended HW warranty (a must for any piece of HW to be used in a business) is more expensive then any of their competitors.

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