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  (Source: Psystar)
Psystar is now refocusing its efforts on its unlocking software, but Apple is looking to hand it another defeat

Apple's legal campaign to crush Mac cloner Psystar made headlines several times over the last year and provoked diverse responses.  Some were supportive of Apple, arguing that the company had every right to tightly enforce the strict provisions on its operating system.  Others argued that Apple was being abusive and manipulating its position to sell overpriced hardware.

In the end Psystar was handed a defeat in a summary judgment.  Earlier this week it announced that it was partially settling with Apple.  Now details of that settlement have been finalized.

Psystar, which already went bankrupt once, has agreed to pay Apple $2.647M USD in damages for marring its "brand image" by releasing Mac clones.  It also agreed to suspend production and sales of all its Mac clones and has since pulled the sales page from the company's website.  The decision casts uncertainty on the status of orders from those who bought Mac clones in the final days before the settlement, individuals whose systems have not yet been shipped.

While the situation seems to be dire for Psystar, the company vows to persist in its campaign of rebellion.  The company is now focused on its unlocking software offering Rebel EFI, which allows OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to be installed easily on a variety of hardware configurations with Intel processors.  Rebel EFI provides support for multi-boot systems with a mix of Linux, Windows, and OS X installed.

Apple is trying to kill off Rebel EFI, though.  The company is battling Psystar in a separate case in Florida court.  The Mac clone case took 17 months, so it appears that the final fate of Psystar won't be decided for some time.  The odds seem stacked against the company, though; the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which helped hand Apple a victory in the clone case, specifically outlaws users or businesses to circumvent software protections, even on devices they legally own.  As Psystar is doing exactly that, it seems to be on some pretty weak legal ground, regardless of how "fair" the DMCA is.

Until the hammer drops, though, Psystar plans to continue to sell its software and defy Apple's closed box business model.



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By talozin on 12/3/2009 12:44:51 PM , Rating: 4
Apple is a hardware company, Microsoft is a software company.

As has been pointed out, it's not quite that simple. Apple does make and sell software. Microsoft does make and sell hardware.

A better distinction would be that Apple is more vertically integrated than Microsoft. Apple wants to sell you the entire computing experience -- computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, operating system, applications, media management, e-mail presence and data synchronization, and so on. The upside of this is obvious -- it's what people have taken to terming "the cult of Apple". The down side is, you have to play even in low-margin sections of the "computing experience" market, or sections you aren't especially good at.

Microsoft, by contrast, has mostly stayed away from the systems integration part of computing. They'll sell you the OS and the applications, and they'll sell you accessories (mice, keyboard, etc.), but they won't sell you an actual computer, or certain types of related hardware (anything internal to the case, it seems like). They get to focus on those parts of the market that they're best at, or that they see high-revenue opportunity in.

Of course, this doesn't really hurt your main point, since Psystar is, after all, taking sales from a class of product that Apple does sell and Microsoft doesn't. Theoretically, at least -- it's a very open question as to how many people who bought a Psystar box would have bought an Apple system absent Psytar's existence.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser














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