Print 83 comment(s) - last by sebmel.. on Nov 17 at 9:35 AM

RIP Psystar?? A judge ruled in a summary judgment that Psystar infringed on Apple's copyrights and violated the DCMA, in building Mac clones. One of these clones is pictured here, a $599 clone here that comes packed with a 3.33 GHz Intel processor, a GeForce 9600GSO, iWork, and iLife (all at approximately half the price of a comparable setup from Apple).  (Source: Psystar)
A summary judgment goes very badly for Psystar

Apple has been trying to crush Psystar for over a year now.  After all, the persistent company has been selling OS X clones at cheaper prices than Apple's own designs.  In doing so, it is undermining Apple's closed box model of using software to justify hardware price markups.  More recently, the company threw more dirt in Apple's face, releasing a tool to help customers freely install OS X on any machine, something Apple has long fought against.

However, Apple has at last gained the upper hand over Psystar, delivering it a potentially fatal blow in court.  In a summary judgment delivered on November 13 in a San Francisco court, Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar infringed on Apple's copyrights to put OS X on the unauthorized computers it built and sold.  He also ruled that Psystar violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by circumventing Apple's software protections that block its software from being installed on third-party hardware.

Reads the ruling, "Psystar infringed Apple's exclusive right to create derivative works of Mac OS X.  Specifically, it made three modifications: (1) replacing the Mac OS X bootloader with a different bootloader to enable an unauthorized copy of Mac OS X to run on Psystar's computers; (2) disabling and removing Apple kernel extension files; and (3) adding non-Apple kernel extensions."

Psystar, which is claiming Apple is misusing its copyrights, was also denied its own request for summary judgment.  The company was told that it was perfectly legal for Apple to use its EULA to control what platforms its own software is allowed on.

A second hearing is scheduled for December 14 and an official trial will start January 2010.  The summary judgement does deal a major blow to Psystar as it sets the mood for the trial, and may lead to Apple gaining a restraining order against Psystar's sales.  As Psystar already went bankrupt once, this could spell doom for the young company.

The ruling also is a pleasing victory for Apple as it validates its argument that it installing OS X on forbidden hardware is a violation of the DMCA.  And as California, unlike most states, requires evidence to be presented before summary judgment is determined, the ruling could be viewed as more considered or binding.  This could open the door to Apple being able to crack down harder on individual Hackintosh makers. 

Apple recently looked to stomp out the Hackintosh community by killing support for the Intel Atom processor, effectively making its Snow Leopard and Leopard unable to be installed on netbooks.  However, despite Apple's determined efforts it can't seem to stop fans of its operating system from freely installing OS X on a variety of systems.

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RE: And yet...
By mellomonk on 11/16/2009 9:42:13 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, but you assume a larger market share equates to more intellectual importance and more profit, which of course it does not.

The BMW auto group does not have the markeshare or profits of say Toyota or GM. But that does not mean they don't carry a disproportionate mindshare due to their trend setting products and developments. Apple may only have 5+% of the overall PC marketplace, but their trend setting designs, powerful marketing and unique features (ie.OSX) give them a far larger portion of the news and mindshare. Something is only as 'important' as people think it is and they are obviously very important in the consumer PC space.

RE: And yet...
By Spuke on 11/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: And yet...
By jragosta on 11/16/2009 1:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
"Companies exist to make a profit and 4% marketshare is nothing."

That's why Apple doesn't make a profit.

Oh, wait......

Apple has a business model which makes them the most profitable computer maker in the world. You don't like that model. Big deal. Once you've demonstrated the level of success which indicates that anyone should listen to your whining rather than Apple's years of success, then perhaps we'll listen.

RE: And yet...
By xmichaelx on 11/16/2009 4:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
Apple makes good profit on their computers, but until they branched into gadgets they saw 20 years of flat returns: .

Apples computer profits are a drop in the bucket when compared to 50%+ margins on iPhones and iPods.

RE: And yet...
By kmmatney on 11/16/2009 6:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
Seems liek if Apple "important", we wouldn't be getting an article about them everyday. I'm eagerly awaiting tomorrow's Apple/iPhone article.

RE: And yet...
By Master Kenobi on 11/16/2009 12:23:07 PM , Rating: 1
I concur. Mindshare is a term invented by people who can attain the perception of being better but are unable to capitalize on it to grow their marketshare in a similar manner. Apple has good public perception, but their marketshare does not reflect them as being an industry leader in the PC market. In the Portable Media Device market however they were successfully able to market their brand and attain marketshare reflecting their reputation. In the PMP market a closed system is standard from all vendors, in the PC market software and hardware are not tied to each other and Apple's outdated business strategy in the PC market is a reflection that they have not modernized their business plan since its inception to match the changes in the PC market.

Another theory I have seen thrown around is that by tying their OS to their Hardware they are preventing themselves from directly competing with Microsoft, allowing them to "fly below the radar" in terms of the PC OS market.

RE: And yet...
By jragosta on 11/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: And yet...
By nikon133 on 11/16/2009 3:52:40 PM , Rating: 4
Still, Apple does compete against coalition set by MS, PC hardware and mobitel manufacturers.

You can't pretend that they don't have any contacts out there and exist on completely separate planes - if iPhone take sales from Windows Mobile phones, MS does suffer - even if they are not making phones themselves. If Apple take sales from HP, Dell... MS does suffer, even if they are not making PCs.

And the same goes the other way around.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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