back to article Hackintosh maker lands Apple punch

In its on-going legal battle with Apple, upstart clonemaker Psystar has won its first victory in many a month. It was a minor victory, to be sure: a US District Court judge has allowed Psystar to continue copyright - but not monopoly - arguments in its countersuit against Apple. But hope springs eternal for the Doral, Florida …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    It's a Mac

    It uses the same CPU, sound card and graphics card. Mac's are the PC clones now.

    Question has to be - who the hell would bother with OS X - it is so feckin dull.

  2. J
    Jobs Horns


    Hell, yeah. They have the monopoly of hardware suitable to run OSX. Not that I'd want to run that, but there are lots of people who like it.

    But considering it is not monopoly for the sake of argument: isn't still anticompetitive/illegal to sell something (OSX) that could be installed in many computers, but then forbid that? Isn't it like forcing me to use Bread X if I want to eat Jelly X, although I could very well spread the jelly on Breads Y, Z and W and successfully eat them? Might be even better than the original Bread X, of course. If not, the worshiped "market forces" should take care of the inferior competitors, no?

  3. Daniel B.
    Thumb Up

    Bring it on!

    I actually bet my money on Psystar. Power Computing was late in the game, but it was the only chance Apple had for its Macintosh OS to reach the cash-strapped market; that possibility was destroyed after the Second Coming of Jobs.

    If Psystar wins, either we will get Apple to sell OSX to everyone (and actually take a nice bite on the disgruntled Fista users) or it will return to good hardware, say, PPC and send Intel hardware where it deserves to be ... in the trash bin. OSX will never gain a foothold as long as it remains tied to Apple hardware. For example, the iPod didn't take off until the "Mac-only" restriction was lifted.

    I wish someone sued them for their non-user-serviceable batteries as well.

  4. P. Lee

    Oooh they're gonna lose!

    There might have been a possibility of getting away with it if OSX wasn't pre-installed but I can't see Psystar winning here. They are hardware sellers - they should have installed Linux with Appletalk, samba, bonjour etc configured as a "partner to your existing Mac" and thrown in a copy of OSX to upgrade "the Mac you've already got."

    Personally, I'd like to see more Mac compatible kit out there, but its probably best to not to make it quite so obvious as to what you're doing. Going for the "enthusiast" market would have been so much safer than trying for Apple's own turnkey targets.

    With the collapse of the Mac desktop sales, if I were Apple I would be looking at the market segments carefully. I'd be pushing a (slightly improved) mac mini for education. I'd like to see some display & control innovations too, allowing long distances between keyboard/mouse/screen and the main unit. I'd take a long look at the Wii as a possible direction for the mini too. They've got premium prices with a pretty interface. Now they just need some control-freakery when it comes to creating/publishing decent games. That shouldn't be too difficult! ;)

    The upshot is, Apple doesn't need cheap OSX computers any more than Gucci needs cheap handbags. However, if I were them, more worrying than hardware cloners would be things like KDE 4.2 (or Gnome). Apple still has the edge with iLife functionality and robustness, but the gap is closing fast. If someone goes after the top end of the market with an Apple-like strategy (limited options, low-volume, high priced, beautiful hardware, a limited selection of software, but one which covers most areas of what home users want) it won't be very long before Apple has a very serious fight on its hands which it can't litigate out of existence.

  5. Rab S


    Personally i wish Psystar all the best...Kick the kings of lock in right in the nuts.

    Well with a side order of "wheres you just works now asshole?" To some of the more annoying Mactards out there...Open the hardware gats on OSX, listen to the complaints about some weird bit of hardware not working on it...

  6. Paul
    Jobs Horns

    It's a PeeCee

    It uses the same CPU, sound card and graphics card. PC's are the Mac clones now.

    Question has to be - who the hell would bother with Windows - it is so feckin dull.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    If I recall...

    The Apple machines do not recognise AMD CPU's at all. It's just classified as an unknown processor.

    No guesses to how I know that.

  8. Mick Sheppard

    Re: Bring it on!

    Duh. If Jobs hadn't killed the clone market, which was taking away Apple's revenue, nothing would have been able to the cash strapped because Apple would have gone the way of Be etc.

  9. Player_16
    Gates Halo

    Apple controls the software.

    Like Bill Gates said some time ago: 'You need software to run a computer' (or something to that effect - not confusing desktop). If Apple looses, Apple just rewrite OS X app files and cancel out Psystar machines: like when iPhones are jail-broken, Apple rewrites code which causes all those phones to reset or brick. To say the lease, those Psystar machines will only be able to run OS X 10.5.6 or less. This isn't MicroSoft you know.

    Also Apple acquired PA Semi chip maker and they cold just say: 'Make us a chip to keep those pesky clones off our tail will ya'. What's Psystar going to do then, complain to the courts about Apple being anti-competitive with 'their' software? Apple's not committed to Pystar like MS being committed to all-those-other-manufactures-around-the-globe. Pystar NEEDS Apple.

    Pystar should just load Linux or an option to run any other Unix software on their machines. There's PLENTY of those folks out there just itching to get started on something cheap and different instead of just riding the coattails of Apple and MS trying to make a quick buck... that shit ain't happenin'.

    @ Daniel B:

    About 4 times a year, someone tries to sue Apple over their batteries but...,39024649,39130934,00.htm

  10. Simon Williams

    Just don't bet

    ''s never wise to bet on something over which outcome you have zero influence...'. So no horses, dogs, roulette, lottery, football pools etc etc, then.

  11. sleepy

    Twice almost destroyed by clones

    The first time around Apple ][ clones (check out

    The second time when they stupidly licensed Mac OS instead of innovating.

    This time, if Psystar were to win (unlikely), Apple will probably exit the PC business, taking 90% of the PC customers with it, much to the disappointment of more committed Mac users.

    It's surely a big PC incumbent who's indirectly behind baby Psystar's bottomless litigation budget. Smells champertous (look it up - just right click it on Mac).

  12. Alexis Vallance

    Psystar - no chance

    How can a product which only works if you alter the code ever be legal?

    OS X only works on Psystar's machines because various parts are hacked.

    Worst case scenario is if Psystar wins, OS X will become even more locked out to non-Apple machinery. Component ID codes etc.

    And then the only way for Psystar to install it would be with some serious hacking, which in turn would be even more of a copyright infringement. And the next round of court action would begin.

    The only way Psystar will win is it is ruled that Apple must open up OS X to work on all machines. After all sorts of high court appeal, even then I doubt Apple will go out of its way to make OS X work on non-Apple hardware. Quite the opposite.

  13. stu


    "I'd like to see some display & control innovations too,"

    yeh, one day some apple engineer will realise that those things on the end of his hand number more than one, and add more buttons to their crappy mice /touchpads.

    The moronic tosser who invented the mighty mouse for example (one button.. which 'intelligently' decides whether you are pressing with your left or right button finger) should be lined up against a wall and shot..

    1) it is ONE button.. what if I want to press both at once (gaming, etc)

    2) I'm left handed like 10% of the population... trying to persuade the thing to recognise a right button click was like russian roulette.

    And finally, have just spend a week putting OSX on an acer aspire one in a last chance attempt to 'give it a fair hearing' (I've got a mac min that runs vista for home entertainment as the box is nice and windoze is head and shoulders better than osx for efficient video codec support (coreavc, ffdshow, etc) ).. I finally admitted defeat and admitted that I USE APPLICATIONS not an operation system... the applications I want to use (Sony Vegas) are on windows. FCP is not sony vegas... it's like going back in time 10 years to Adobe Premier.. pathertic... not a criticism of osx, just FCP.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Twice almost destroyed by clones

    "The second time when they stupidly licensed Mac OS instead of innovating."

    Not quite, the reason Apple chose to license its OS was an attempt to increase its user base. More specifically, the idea was for the clones to offer a lower end products to complement Apple's high end ones. The idea itself wasn't a bad one (Bill Gates suggested licensing a decade earlier) and was a way to try and tackle the misconceptions John Sculley, had about user base when he was CEO.

    Unfortunately, in terms of what the products actually offered, Apple tended to play catch-up with the cheaper clones.

    It's worth remembering that the licensed clones appeared around the time of Windows 95 - the OS was seen 'Mac-like' enough to lure punters.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clones brought Windows to the world...

    ...and thus clones have a lot to answer for! But if apple want to be taken seriously in the real world, clones/licensing would seem to be the best way forward. They are the only desktop company with a hope of taking the fight to Microsoft in that market (sorry Linux fans, you have no hope at the moment, go kick Microsoft in the server).

    Apple no longer run on proprietary hardware and (if the drivers exist) most modern hardware will plug-and-play. If Apple could duff MS up a bit (say, get a 15% share) then this would force programmers to code to standards and ensure inter-operability. That might even give Linux a hope of breaking the 5% share barrier on the desktop.

    This has a whole host of other benefits (re-use of old hardware and cost savings, resilience, virus reduction, spam reduction; much harder to penetrate a heterogeneous environment). It will take Apple to seize the bull by the conkers and start squeezing.

    Apple can keep themselves as the "premium" brand they are, then license select partners to sell "approved" kit and install OS-whatever. These new "budget" users will almost certainly begin to buy more of the Apple brand. Everyone wins. Apart from MS of course...well, they might win if they upped their game.

  16. Giles Jones Gold badge

    I don't understand this case

    Sure, there are some people who want OSX on generic hardware. But to say that Apple locks it's OS to its hardware for monopolistic reasons is debatable.

    If you know exactly what hardware your OS runs on then you only need to write enough drivers for that set of hardware. If you don't know what hardware your OS runs on then you have a lot of uncertainty.

    Apple would spend a lot more time testing the OS, writing drivers etc.. Of course third parties would write drivers, but fairly badly as they usually do. Then you would have OSX falling over and users blaming the OS (not the crummy hardware and drivers they're installing).

    Increased development costs, increased testing costs, increased support costs, decreased reputation, decreased profits.

    The best situation is for Apple to licence OSX to specific hardware vendors, they could then ensure that the generic PCs were built to a known specification (ie. so existing drivers could be used).

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Not the only ones

    There are at least two more company's making machines with OS X (like above, these are no longer clones), one in Argentina and one in Germany.

    The EULA Apple depend on is worth shit in Germany so could the battle may not be worth fighting and Argentina are unlikely to be happy with a big American company threatening someone on their soil.

  18. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    You know what gets me?

    Bleedin' "Apple-istas", those khaka-wearing, know-nothing, know-it-alls you see on the train with their silly little Mac laptops! Sorry, but someone else wants to bring OSX to the masses, so your sad little club could be open to all the plebs! Oh no! Dear God! What are you going to boast about now, now you've been pushed from the tech zeitgeist that's so now, it's already yesterday's news?

    OK, let's be open. I have an Intel Mac, nice little, nifty desktop machine, it was a present from someone very special, it's nothing spectacular as a PC, it's quiet, clean, quick, but let's just say, no upgrades other than memory? Sorry Steve mate, "Eggs in one basket!", my wallet is paying for that basket and I dread the day it goes tits up and I can't repair it myself! So straight back to Apple for repair at 115 quid/hour labour plus parts! I tell you this, I like it and it was a great present, but there is no way in hell I would ever buy one out of my pocket!

    I wouldn't buy a PsyStar OSX is way, way overrated, but good luck to them, right behind bursting that pompous, "Apple-ista" bubble!!!

  19. Watashi

    3 Dimensional Thinking

    It's true to say that Apple is the master of the Vertical Monopoly. The iPhone is a prime example - if you want to use an iPhone, it has to be on a iPhone partner network provider, you have to use Apple software to put music etc on it (and download music from iTunes), all the Apps have to come from Apple's certified website and the only OS you are allowed to run on it is made by Apple. If you need a new battery, you have to get one put in by Apple.

    The Apple branded PC is also a Vertical Monopoly as you can only run MacOS natively on a Mac (and vise versa). Whether this is 'wrong' or anti-competitive is debatable. Is this any different from video games being console specific? Or Sky requiring you to buy a Sky decoder to watch their TV? When you buy a Mac PC you do it because you want the OS and other Mac software, as well as the status that goes with the Apple brand. You don't buy it for the actuall hardware itself as you can easily buy a Windows PC with equivalent hardware set made largely by the same hardware manufacturers as used in a Mac, but for less money. Just compare the specs of a MacBook and a Samsung laptop to see how much more hardware you get for your money if you buy PC rather than Mac capable hardware.

    What this company is trying to do is trade off the Mac brand without paying the owner of that brand for the right to do so, not 'compete' with Apple. If there was stuff you could do on a Mac that you couldn't do on a PC, that would be a different matter - but there isn't. The chances are, your reading this post on a direct Mac competitor, so that argument just doesn't fly.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @I don't understand this case

    Exactly right, the same goes for HPUX and various other proper OS vendors, the hardware and software are much more integrated.

    Things were so good until CRAPOS arrived, where scant attention was paid to the issues of hardware/software compatability, but hell who cares, its for the plebs.

    You pay for what you get.

  21. Scott Evil


    I cant beliveve i made it all the way past these comments without dozing off

    oh wait



  22. Big Bear

    RE: 3 Dimensional Thinking

    FYI – Sky don’t require you to buy a Sky decoder to watch their satellite broadcast. Most are produced by Amstrad, with lesser volumes by Pace, Samsung, and several other firms… When you order from them direct you get whichever one happens to be in the distribution centre feeding you, as long as it conforms to being a normal box, Sky+ box, HD, etc. Thus you can actually acquire a box from elsewhere, install it yourself if you know where to point it, and all you need to buy is the subscription package from them to start viewing, much like the standard PC business model.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Off topic...

    It's a shame that hardware vendors aren't forced to provide APIs to interested parties. That would certainly assist the BSD/GNULinux OSs function properly on a much wider variety of hardware. Making those OSs more easily installed and making them just a little more accessible to the home user.

    I'm sure both of the main home use OSs do everything they can to help prevent this. It's a shame they can't be caught and fined heavily enough to make it not worthwhile for them to break laws. That brings to the topic of corruption in business and government.....blah blah blah

    hahahahaha Sorry....

  24. Ted

    All Apple Batteries are replacable --

    @Daniel B.

    ALL Apple batteries are serviceable without voiding the warranty. iPod & iPhone batteries are $15, laptop batteries are $65 - $89 depending on the model. It's is just a myth you can't replace Apple batteries, so Apple is fine on this issue since they certainly don't require you to get a battery from them. Now you know!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Big Bear

    FYI – Sky don’t require you to buy a Sky decoder to watch their satellite broadcast.

    Wrong, to receive their (SKY) broadcasts a Sky receiver and a Sky card IS a requirement

    Most are produced by Amstrad, with lesser volumes by Pace, Samsung, and several other firms…

    Correct, under license to SKY

    When you order from them direct you get whichever one happens to be in the distribution centre feeding you, as long as it conforms to being a normal box, Sky+ box, HD, etc. Thus you can actually acquire a box from elsewhere, install it yourself if you know where to point it, and all you need to buy is the subscription package from them to start viewing, much like the standard PC business model.

    Partially Correct, to receive their packages you need their receiver, their card and their subscription, and to live in the UK or Eire. Try going to ITV (103), pull out the card and see what happens. So even some NON SKY UK telly requires a Sky Card UNLESS you choose another service.

    You may be thinking of FreeSat, no card, no Sky?

  26. alzain

    Pliz read this

    I want Pacstar or whatever its name is to win the case cause then there will be no more macs(what if apple changed its mind).......Then windows will rule and be supreme and unstoppable.c'mon how many people you know can play crisis on macs or Linux(forget the damn wine).sure windows has many flaws but its the most used os and there are millions or maby billions of configurations out there,so please dont think of windows as a flaw and please change over if you are a mac or linux user.Give it a try.Windows and Microsoft aren't bad or whaterer.Its what media makes microsoft look like.Now that Windows 7 is hot every media is Glued onto microsoft,but once there are bugs or holes and stuff its the media that criticizes.

    Microsoft makes the diff versions of windows vista and se7en to focus on the hard times of people and offer them with what they need(eg:Windows vista basic)cheapest and fully functioning

  27. Chris

    Endless debate?

    Mac clones. I'm not going to bother with the legal issues to any great extent.

    However, look at the history of Apple. Whenever Stevie 'Boy Wonder' Jobs has been involved (remember, the board of directors DID ease him aside for quite a few years) Apple has exhibited a particular type of behaviour.

    For example: Innovation. You know, they 'invented' the WIMP system - except they didn't - Xerox did.

    Then there's Litigation: since Apple 'invented' the WIMP interface they got into a cat-fight, which they lost, with Micro$oft over the Windows OS. Apple, under SJ, has historically got into endless litigation with various people. Even, on occasion (remember 'Apple Corp' and the 'no sound if you use our name' row - ever noticed the system sound called 'Sosumi', which exists to this day?) breaking agreements with others. That shows SJ's real attitude to the law...

    Finally, there's a degree of protectionism in Stevie's makeup. Getting spares for an Apple product is nearly impossible. To this day. This year my Intel iMac 24, which I use for work, died, for the third time in less than 18 months. The delay on getting a repair (it was on a 3 year warranty) was unacceptable, So, I now have a MacPro. Which suits SJ just fine...

    As far as the 'you CAN replace the battery' argument's concerned - yes, you can - NOW. Because, for once, Apple had to back down. The uproar about iPod batteries, within a year of it coming out, was such that with a successful class action looming and a lot of negative publicity they gave in.

    But obtaining out of warranty Apple spares is still virtually impossible.

    SJ is on record as considering the Mac OS as 'the crown jewels'. Bill Gates once advised SJ to follow the M$ route, SJ predictably scorned the idea. Mac Clones only existed when SJ wasn't in charge.

    SJ's business model, certainly in the computer field, is to sell marginally adequate hardware (no really - I have a PC (twin core 3.2Ghz, 2Gb RAM, 8800GTX) standing on my other desk that leaves my new MacPro (8 core 3.2, 8Gb RAM, 8800 GT, XP and more than twice the price) in it's dust) - in 'designer cases' - at hugely inflated prices, while defending this practice by aggressively litigating against anyone using 'the crown jewels' on more cost effective hardware.

    IF the Apple Mac hardware were as good as SJ would like you to believe, then there would be no need for this. The fashionistas would still buy Macs - possibly even after they realised 'the crown jewels' would run on far more cost-effective hardware. The rest of us, who actually like the Apple OS and some of the software that ONLY runs under it, would have cheap, reliable hardware that we could upgrade and/or repair easily and cheaply...

    But that would dilute the immensely valuable revenue stream that Apple's extended warranty and Apple authorised repairer schemes represent.

    I think that Apple loosing this litigation would actually turn Apple into a more competitive entity. Sales of the Mac OS would soar. Yes, hardware sales would decline. But this SHOULD be sufficient motivation for Apple to start designing truly 'state of the art' hardware. There's no shortage of existing PC hardware out there that could transform Macs from 'previous generation' state of the art hardware into something truly jaw dropping.

    As things stand, have stood for many years, Apple is poor at hardware, and rather good at software, especially in the field of the user interface. Given the present economic conditions, 'the crown jewels' are indeed Apple's most valuable asset - but NOT locked into overpriced, under specified hardware.

    SJ has a big ego. It's now (again) Apple's biggest problem. That and his 'not invented here' syndrome. Or should that be 'not invented on MY watch'?

    Remember the Newton? For it's time it was actually quite amazing. So, when he returned to Apple, he ordered it dropped - he also said that any Apple staffer seen with one was to be sacked...

    While I admire Steve Jobs to some extent, the man is, after all, an innovator, he's also not the ideal man to have at the helm today. Being forced to change Apple's strategy would be, I feel, no bad thing.

    One problem will be that the shareholders see SJ as God. Notice the effect his recent health problems have caused for Apple share prices?

    SJ can and very likely will play his ace card at some point in the not to distant future - by offering to step down.

    His real problem will be that the courts aren't likely to be impressed with that...

    Share holders he can probably ignore. But not the courts.

    Meantime, PsyStar do appear to have surprisingly deep pockets. Clearly Apple's plan was to use prolonged litigation to break PsyStar. This hasn't happened. So now the rumor's being spread that PsyStar have 'a backer'...

    Well, the list of potential candidates is long and complex. I won't speculate. Except to say I very much doubt Bill Gates is on it. Now if you made a list of ex-Apple board of directors members, that might be where to start looking.

    This whole thing's set to run and run. Sooner or later Apple's business model has to change. The longer it takes, the more damage Apple's going to suffer.

  28. McDave

    Let Macs be Macs and PCs be PCs...

    I know it must be embarrassing/annoying that an army of Windows & LINUX developers can't come up with software of the same quality that Apple gives away but is the open business model so weak that it's proponents need to break Apple's integrated model with legislation?


This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like