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Psystar "Definitely Still Shipping" Mac Clones 833

Preedit writes "Continuing its defiance of Apple, Psystar is reassuring customers that it is "definitely still shipping" its line of Mac clones. And, in a further nose-thumbing at Steve Jobs, Psystar this week said it's now making Leopard restore disks available to its customers, even as Apple insists that Mac clones sold to date be recalled. In its story on the latest developments, Infoweek is reporting that tiny Psystar apparently has no intention of backing down in its legal dispute with the much larger Apple."
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Psystar "Definitely Still Shipping" Mac Clones

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:14AM (#24599685)
    I for one am tired of Apple's Monopolistic business practices on their Mac range.
    • by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <nacturation@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:21AM (#24599791) Journal

      I for one am tired of Apple's Monopolistic business practices on their Mac range.

      Isn't that like saying you're tired of Slashdot's monopolistic business practices on its Slashdot brand? By default, every company has a monopoly on its own products.

      • cars (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zogger ( 617870 )

        We went through this with cars. The manufacturers, who had just as deep of pockets and just as many or more of lawyers as apple could possibly throw at this situation wanted to make it so you could only get and install bloated price OEM parts to go on their cars. They lost in court and now you can go to the parts store and get a variety of parts that don't come from the major manufactuers and have their stamp on them, but they will fit into place and work. You can get out your welder and mix and match for t

    • by OptimusPaul ( 940627 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:51AM (#24600317)
      I'd have to say you are mislead. Apple is doing much the same thing that many of manufacturers do. So Apple makes computers and the operating system, and doesn't allow that operating system to run on other makes of computers. Let's just change a few things around. Ford makes cars and the operating software for the cars computer and doesn't allow that software to be used on other makes of cars. Would it make sense for ford to sell their cars computer code to say Toyota? Not at all. Toyota also makes cars, and it is possible that the software is compatible, but it isn't in fords interests to make it compatible. Maybe ford is being monopolistic, but I don't think so. That's just good business.
  • Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:16AM (#24599723)

    Where are Psystar getting the money from for all this? Because defending a case of this nature is going to be damn expensive and if they're such a small startup the last thing they want to be doing is spending all their money on legal bills.

    • Re:Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:22AM (#24599823)

      It could be funded by a larger OEM manufacturer to use as a test case.

      Of psystar fails, no effect to them. If it succeeds, they roll out their own line of Mac compatibles.

    • by redaction101 ( 1309783 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:23AM (#24599843)
      Two options: 1) Psystar backs down and stops producing Mac clones. Psystar goes out of business. Creditors lose out. 2) Psystar fights the good fight, gaining plenty of free publicity (Slashdot included) for taking on Goliath. If they lose, same scenario as 1. If they win, they (hopefully) have a larger customer base. Insolvency law usually ensures that the people taking the fall from a company's demise are the unsecured creditors. It is considerably easier to gamble with the money of others.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      1. Sell Mac clones
      2. Rake in profit
      3. ???
      4. Get sued, loose but all the money is already in your pocket and the company goes out of business

    • Re:Follow the money (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @12:32PM (#24600987)

      When a person or private company is being sued by a large corporation or vice versa, in some cases the private company can claim in advance for expected legal fees, which they usually have to reimburse if they lose.

      For example my father fell victim to a shady trick by a landholding corporation during a $1.2M real estate deal, and he refused to refund their $50k deposit. The corporation sued him for the deposit, and he countered with a claim for expected legal fees in advance, and was awarded $5k before even setting foot in court. He also had a strong case for misrepresentation, so the corporation withdrew the suit rather than add to their potential losses, realizing their bully tactics wouldn't work. The court ruled they still had to pay the $5k.

  • Good for them... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by joelholdsworth ( 1095165 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:18AM (#24599735) what I say. It's nice to see the little guy stand up against big buisiness muscle. Apple is beginning to look more and more Microsoft-esque by the week.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

      If it was 1990s which clones were legal, Apple wouldn't license Mac to Pystar company. If you look at the clone makers, they were very well established companies with years of experience in Macintosh market.

      Apple founder believes software and hardware should be perfectly integrated just like your average household device. They even do same thing on iPhone. Why nobody thinks about the possibility of licensing iPhone OS to other handset manufacturers? Because they are phones? Well, for Apple, a computer shoul

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They were always as bad as Microsoft morally, they've just gotten better at the technical portion of it.
    • Except Apple is in the right. They own the copyright to OS X, which means Psystar has no right to distribute restore discs (which they are) nor to modify OS X (which they do to create restore discs and install), nor to install (which is part of the EULA/contract).

  • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:19AM (#24599753) Homepage

    I don't think any sane company will break Apple's agreements, licenses on USA soil.

    Remember the company shipped "Apple G6 Desktop" and got sued big time? It wasn't based at USA and they weren't trying that hard to get sued. Some media guy browsing Alibaba found the machine, that is all.

    For some reason we can't know, Pystar looks like they will be very, very happy if Apple sues them further or this thing becomes more complex.

    Would you dare to mess with a gigantic company who even tried to sue State of New York for "Apple" logo? If you dare, would you start your business in USA? Some very big promises/guarantees by very big corporate powers must be given to Pystar. Don't get surprised if there is real IT media left and uncovers it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Its probably a good strategy actually. Their company is small enough that if they get sued into oblivion it won't really matter all that much but the media exposure they'll get will be huge. If they can hold their ground they will be sky rocketed into the mainstream and people that want Macs without the price will flock to them in droves.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Would you dare to mess with a gigantic company who even tried to sue State of New York for "Apple" logo?

      Depends. If I don't have a family to support, a respectable cushion fund, and can represent myself... why not?

      Even if I make a complete fool of myself, the experience alone would be worth it. If, by some freak occurrence, I actually won.... Well, let's just say I'd like that fact engraved on my grave.

      If you dare, would you start your business in USA?

      Since the US legal system is the only one I have even a basic knowledge of, yes. :)

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:46AM (#24600229) Homepage

      If they win, they will have invsestors beating down their door. And they will break into the market of the fastest growing personal computer manufacturer. Plus, it will resolve a long standing legal question as to the validity of EULAs. I see no down side here for them at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        If they win, anyone can ship OS X installed PC and believe me there are lot better companies with very known brands to ship it.

        So it is like a suicide mission but for who?

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:19AM (#24599757)
    Anybody remember when IBM (which was mightier than Apple can ever hope to be) failed at utterly crushing tiny Compaq?
    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:25AM (#24599861) Homepage

      I think Compaq had Microsoft and some part of Government/Corporate scene who is very afraid of IBM monopoly behind them.

      Microsoft was allowed to license MS-DOS to _anyone which wants_ from the beginning. It is part of their agreement with IBM and it is why BillG and Ballmer are called "visionary". There is no such thing on OS X. Apple believes in integrated hardware/software combination from the very beginning.

      Having reports like "I pressed power button but my Mac slept 10 secs later, it must be broken" is very common on Apple scene. It is nothing on a PC running Windows or Clone OS X.

      What those idiots did is also convincing Apple that clones/licensed machines was always a bad idea. They ship JUNK PC.

    • Compaq did a clean-room implementation of the IBM BIOS. Psystar didn't do a clean-room implementation of OS X.
  • I admire their gall (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:20AM (#24599767) Homepage Journal

    I have to say that I admire their gall. They're paying a rather dangerous game*. Unless they have some really kick ass lawyers who can convince a judge of the unenforcability of Apple's licensing terms, I don't see anything happening except Psystar getting smacked down HARD. As in, take all their assets + punitive damages hard.

    Of course, this could be a situation like General Computer Corporation. (The Namco & Atari partner who created Ms. Pac Man.) They were just a bunch of college kids having fun, and they didn't have money anyway. When they got sued, their reaction was: "Cool, we get to go to court!" Sometimes it's nice not having anything to lose.;-)

  • Mac Compatible... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sunshinerat ( 1114191 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:23AM (#24599841)

    While it may be shaky grounds to sell these machines as Mac Clones. There should be no reason not to sell those machines with a Linux Equivalent. The nice thing is that you -could- buy a Leopard disk and load it, that is your own choice.

    This is no different as my Intel PC that runs Ubuntu, but -could- run Vista if I wanted to.

  • If PsyStar were limiting themselves to shipping hardware and bundled unmodified OS X 10.5 retail disks, I really think why would have no legal issues at all. However, by the sound of it, not only are the PsyStar systems running a modified variant of the OS X operating system (including some modifications to get the system running on generic hardware, just like OSX86), but they intend to ship 'Restore disks' that sound suspiciously like modified OS X 10.5 install sets.

    That's going to be their downfall in this - the derivative work.
  • Watch carefully!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:29AM (#24599953)

    This is a VERY interesting case. Who is Psystar?

    Seriously, out of nowhere, a tiny company starts to sell mac clones. It was so sketchy, we on slashdot originally called it a hoax.

    Now, they got the guys who beat Apple once before representing them in the fight.

    Curiouser and curiouser. It may be an intentionally staged dispute by various oems to create a Mac market for themselves. Vista is not moving boxes, but Mac compatible motherboards may be profitable.

    The objective may be Apple's refusal to allow MacOS on non-Mac hardware. If they win, and Apple is not able to enforce this restriction, I can see a whole bunch of clones flooding the market.

  • Not clones! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Leomania ( 137289 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:31AM (#24599997) Homepage

    Psystar ships its own flavor of hackintosh... they are not clones. I don't get the persistence of the label. Is it just the desire of folks to have an actual clone as a choice to run OS X that keeps the term active in discussions?

  • by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:34AM (#24600033)
    I bet it's the size of an office stapler and sounds like a jet plane at takeoff, but still ... maybe the 3G will actually work.
  • by Carbon016 ( 1129067 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:34AM (#24600035)

    Read TFA, googled a little. It seems like I'm missing something. It seems they simply charge outrageous markup on generic, mediocre Intel systems []. Throw in a moderately cheap-looking case and charge $155 [] for the OS installation. What's new here?

    If this was back when Apple was using PowerPC processors, maybe they'd have a point. But I don't see this as being a "clone" of a Mac, because clone implies hardware and this (and the Mac's) hardware is the same as everyone else's.

  • In defense of Pystar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:36AM (#24600065)
    BSD developers should start building an OSX clone from some flavor of BSD specifically for Mac Clones like Pystar, plenty of desktop apps out there now for BSD flavors just take a look at PCBSD which uses KDE but other desktop environments would suffice too XFCE is a good one,,,
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:47AM (#24600253)

    Even if Psystar somehow manages a court victory that would allow them to purchase and sell copies of OS X installed on generic x86 boxes, all that Apple has to do is stop selling OS X to any retail outlet other than its own. If Psystar can't get legal copies of the software to put on the machines it sells, there isn't any legal way that they can stay in business at that point, other than going to Apple stores and purchasing copies of OS X at full retail price.

    We're also heading towards a future of digital distribution. It started with music, has moved to movie rentals, and looks as though it can be expanded to anything in the near future. What's to stop Apple from selling you the newer versions of OS X online? In five years when everyone wants to upgrade to Puma or whatever else they end up calling it, you have the option of downloading the upgrade to your computer instead of having to go out and purchase any physical install media.

    Does it really matter if the court rules that Psystar can do whatever they want with a copy of OS X once they already have it if Apple does everything that they possibly can in order to prevent Psystar from ever obtaining a copy of OS X?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phoenix321 ( 734987 ) *

      Then Psystar buys them in the Apple store and tries on the "first sale principle".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Microlith ( 54737 )

        Then Apple requires you register your system serial number, and limits the number of copies they'll sell to you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Svartalf ( 2997 )

      That'll work...

      Considering that they sell out of Fry's and now Best Buy of all things, I don't think you realize how unviable that route will be for Apple. They need those other places because they can't afford to open up a bunch of those Apple stores to offset the loss of those venues.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @12:01PM (#24600487) Homepage

    Psystar is going to win this as long as Apple sells their OS as a boxed product.

    Insisting that Apple's separately sold software has to be run on Apple's hardware is an unenforceable and illegal tying arrangement under US antitrust law. This exact issue has come up before in 734 F.2d 1336 DIGIDYNE CORP. v. DATA GENERAL. []. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: The issue presented for review is whether Data General's refusal to license its NOVA operating system software except to purchasers of its NOVA central processing units (CPUs) is an unlawful tying arrangement under section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1 (1976) and section 3 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 14 (1976). We conclude that it is.

    That's clear enough.

    In antitrust tying cases, it's very unusual for a tying provision in a contract to be found legally enforceable. A more common situation is that some victim of a tying arrangement wants a court to compel the company in a monopoly position to do something, like sell them spare parts. [] Even then, the tying company usually loses.

  • Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AP31R0N ( 723649 ) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @12:04PM (#24600533)

    Why does Apple do things this way?

    This is my own musing on the subject - MS did the smart thing in just making software and letting people install it on whoever's hardware. This allowed dozens of companies to create systems for Windows to run. i think that was a big part of what allowed Windows to become dominant (more than the anti-competitive stuff they did later). Wouldn't the MacOS run on more machines if there was competition in the market to build hardware to run it? If Psystar can build less expensive and less queefy looking boxes, Apple might lose money on hardware but sell more copies of the OS. Part of the fun of playing in Windows world is that i've got dozens of vendors that can sell me an assemble system, or i can buy the parts from hundreds of vendors/manufacturers and build it myself. That's another thing Apple seemed to miss.... The MS model created entirely new industries. Apple spawned a few companies that make things for hte iPod, but that's about it. From a previous /. conversation i learned that it is possible to home brew a mac, but it's very difficult and few people have the knowledge to do it.

    Could someone more familiar with the history post on why they this is their business model?

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin