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Clone Mac maker Psystar loses to Apple in attempted court appeal

post #1 of 40
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Psystar, a company that previously gained notoriety for building custom computers with hacked copies of Apple's Mac OS X operating system installed, lost an appeal in court this week, perhaps signaling an end to the lengthy saga.

Circuit Judge Mary Schroeder ruled in favor of Apple in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this week, according to CNet. The judge maintained that Psystar violated Apple's copyrights related to Mac OS X in building custom knock-off computers.

The ruling may be the final ruling for Psystar, which has dragged on the proceedings with Apple for years. The ruling comes more than a year and a half after Psystar appealed the initial decision in January of 2010.

Apple initially sued Psystar for copyright infringement in July of 2008. The Florida-based company attempted to go on the offensive with a countersuit, accusing Apple of using anti-competitive tactics to defeat possible rivals, but the measure failed.

In December 2009, Psystar agreed to pay Apple a $2.7 million partial settlement. An injunction soon followed, effectively ending Psystar's business, but the company attempted to stay alive with its appeal that was struck down this week.



Even after Psystar was shut down, the company's website and store remained operational for some time, selling a t-shirt with the slogan "I sued Psystar... and all I got was a lousy injunction" written on it. There, visitors could provide the bankrupt company with donations in the amount of $20, $50 or $100.

Psystar also sold an application called Rebel EFI, which allowed Intel-powered PCs to run Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Sales of that product were halted by the court, which found that it violated Apple's copyright.
post #2 of 40
This was soooo big a few years ago. I remember all my podcasts talking about it.

I almost forgot about it!
post #3 of 40
Anyone know the damages? Did they have to compensate Apple for any of this? Court costs?
post #4 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Anyone know the damages? Did they have to compensate Apple for any of this? Court costs?

Except they have no money, unless I make a donation of $20, $50, or $100.
post #5 of 40
Screw Psystar, what a bunch of morons trying to fight Apple and countersue, when they were clearly in the wrong and it was obvious that they were going to lose.

Apple doesn't go after individual people who make their own hackintosh and who installs OS X on it, but somebody who starts a company to mass produce and sell hackintoshes can't be the brightest person around. They were practically begging to be taken down due to their arrogance and stupidity, and Apple happily complied with their wishes.
post #6 of 40
It takes a fearless frame of mind to even start a company like Psystar so it does not surprise me that they fearlessly battled (and lost) in court.

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post #7 of 40
Does SJ have "steal my IP" written across his forehead? What is it with these people?
post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

It takes a foolish frame of mind to even start a company like Psystar so it does not surprise me that they foolishly battled (and lost) in court.

You're only off by two phonemes.

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post #9 of 40
I was listening to the 1997 keynote a while ago where Steve was talking about how the clone-makers didn't want to pay licensing fees that were any higher than what they had paid before, even though those fees had seemed to be too low. I read something a while later about how after that, no one again tried licensing a Mac OS - but is that true? Does anyone here actually know if Apple would allow another company to license the OS if they paid a "fair" fee, or is it just not allowed after that fiasco 14 years ago?
post #10 of 40
we all figured pystar was being funded by apple competitors
why can't apple get all their documentation to discover WHO was the puppet master
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
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post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Does anyone here actually know if Apple would allow another company to license the OS if they paid a "fair" fee, or is it just not allowed after that fiasco 14 years ago?

I really doubt that. As a matter of fact, I'd bet money against it happening, especially with Apple's position today. Steve Jobs was really pissed at those clone makers and he even used a curse word during that keynote, something that you normally don't see during an Apple keynote.
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Does anyone here actually know if Apple would allow another company to license the OS if they paid a "fair" fee, or is it just not allowed after that fiasco 14 years ago?

Of course they wouldn't. That's not what Apple is today.

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post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

I was listening to the 1997 keynote a while ago where Steve was talking about how the clone-makers didn't want to pay licensing fees that were any higher than what they had paid before, even though those fees had seemed to be too low. I read something a while later about how after that, no one again tried licensing a Mac OS - but is that true? Does anyone here actually know if Apple would allow another company to license the OS if they paid a "fair" fee, or is it just not allowed after that fiasco 14 years ago?

Apple shut them down. I don't think the argument was about licensing fees, from what I remember. The problem was that the clones were supposed to expand the Mac market, but mostly took sales away from Apple.

One problem was that it was expected that the clones would compete by making less expensive Macs on the lower end, and that Apple would reserve the high end for itself. That way, people would buy the clones because of price. But what happened was that the clone makers began to compete on the high end, and often got new cpu's before Apple did, because they didn't need as many, while Apple needed to wait until stocks were enough.

So by the time Apple made a high end machine, a lot of customers already bought one from a clone maker.

The licensing was badly written, is my guess.
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

I was listening to the 1997 keynote a while ago where Steve was talking about how the clone-makers didn't want to pay licensing fees that were any higher than what they had paid before, even though those fees had seemed to be too low. I read something a while later about how after that, no one again tried licensing a Mac OS - but is that true? Does anyone here actually know if Apple would allow another company to license the OS if they paid a "fair" fee, or is it just not allowed after that fiasco 14 years ago?

It is incredibly doubtful that Apple would license OSX to any general purpose OEM (there may be some vertical folks). A while back Dell had publicly stated that they'd be willing to ship an OSX compatible box but Apple never took them up on it. And why would they, they don't make money from OSX (or iOS), they make it from hardware sales. A fact apparently lost on many pundits years ago who were crying to Apple to "follow Microsoft" and turn the company into a software company (right after they switched from PPC to x86).

So no, I certainly would not hold my breathe waiting for the second coming of the Mac clones (or iOS clones either for that matter) regardless of how much someone was willing to offer.
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Apple shut them down. I don't think the argument was about licensing fees, from what I remember. The problem was that the clones were supposed to expand the Mac market, but mostly took sales away from Apple.

Even the cannibalization would have been O.K., Jobs maintains, if Apple had earned more from licensing. But the fees ''don't come close'' to covering engineering and marketing costs, he says. Without killing off the clone program, ''Apple would have a very hard time returning to profitability, and it would drag down the whole Mac ecosystem.''

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/37/b3544085.htm
post #16 of 40
You gotta love some of the Apple clones that were sold back in the day!

Was this the Macbook Air of it's day?



post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Even the cannibalization would have been O.K., Jobs maintains, if Apple had earned more from licensing. But the fees ''don't come close'' to covering engineering and marketing costs, he says. Without killing off the clone program, ''Apple would have a very hard time returning to profitability, and it would drag down the whole Mac ecosystem.''

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/37/b3544085.htm

Nah. That wasn't a real situation. There was no way that licensing fees could ever be large enough to do that. It wasn't the reason. He was just saying that IF they could have charged enough, it would have been ok. But they couldn't.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Even the cannibalization would have been O.K., Jobs maintains, if Apple had earned more from licensing. But the fees ''don't come close'' to covering engineering and marketing costs, he says. Without killing off the clone program, ''Apple would have a very hard time returning to profitability, and it would drag down the whole Mac ecosystem.''

http://www.businessweek.com/1997/37/b3544085.htm

Yeah, that's pretty much what I remember reading, but as melgross pointed out, that seems like just a convoluted way of saying they don't want any licensees anymore because it wouldn't ever be worth it.
post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Nah. That wasn't a real situation. There was no way that licensing fees could ever be large enough to do that. It wasn't the reason. He was just saying that IF they could have charged enough, it would have been ok. But they couldn't.

Why is Steve Jobs claiming in this video that he would love to license Apple's software to the clone makers, but the clone makers told Apple to go pound sand?

This is where he announces that Apple is killing the clones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maIgu_7oLm0
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Why is Steve Jobs claiming in this video that he would love to license Apple's software to the clone makers, but the clone makers told Apple to go pound sand?

This is where he announces that Apple is killing the clones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maIgu_7oLm0

I know, I was there. But it wasn't realistic, as I said. Jobs really didn't want clones. He really didn't. I don't know how much he was asking, but it had to be unrealistic. It was thought at the time, and I agree, that Apple was deliberately asking for amounts that wouldn't be accepted.

The situation was that the Mac at the time was going nowhere. Micheal Spindler really screwed up holiday season 1995. That led to all of this. Businesses were divesting themselves of Macs. Apple asked what would make them consider Macs again, and the answer was to multi source them, because Apple was a fairly small company, and they were worried it could go out of business. So Apple complied. Motorola helped to push them in that direction.

But it didn't work out. Apparently, the agreements weren't spelled out formally. So clones took the place of Macs instead of adding to them. At first, it was thought that within two years, Mac sales would double. But that didn't happen. If it did, then things would have been fine.

I'm pretty sure, from talking to people I knew at Apple, and in a couple of cases, still do, that Apple wanted out of the clone business, and that it was thought they would turn Apple's offer down. That's what happened. The rest is Marketing speak.
post #21 of 40
Those clowns are still around?!

I think they should have sold t-shirts saying "I thought I was smarter than Apple and now I am broke!"
post #22 of 40
It's hard to seriously discuss the clones of that era (mid/late 90s) because there was no reason for the Mac to increase market share. The Mac lineup was a disaster. Performas? Please. OS8? Get outa' town. What a mess. I'm a Mac guy going all the way back to the Quadra and then the 7100. But Apple in the 90s was a disaster. There was no way clones could do anything other than eat up the sales of Macs back then. It wasn't like it is today, where people are switching to the Mac. Back then, people were leaving.

The iMac was the beginning of turning it around. OSX, even more so. iPods? Even more so.

The fact that Apple killed off clones has a lot to do with the success of the walled garden approach today. It's why Apple is probably close to releasing the iPad 3, meanwhile nobody else has even matched the iPad 2.
post #23 of 40
Even if Psystar had won, they would be irrelevant. Installing Snow Leopard or Lion on properly selected non-Apple hardware has become much easier in the last couple of years. It still isn't easy enough for the general public, but it's easier than installing Linux and in some cases, almost as easy as installing on a genuine Mac.
post #24 of 40
Still waiting to hear who is really paying the legal bills for this farce--which of Apple's enemies is the man behind the curtain?
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post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

So by the time Apple made a high end machine, a lot of customers already bought one from a clone maker.

I don't think it qualified as "a lot" by even the most generous description.

Power Computing certainly sold a fair but very small amount back in the day, but no other clone maker could ever lay claim to literally have cut into any Apple product's share. That would be a hypothetical and theoretical claim for legal purposes, and I support its position, but it didn't actually occur by any stretch since they pulled the liscense from Power Computing. (I actually bought my mom a Motorola Mac clone during the "sneeze and you'll miss it" timeframe they were sold. Don't remember ever seeing another in civilization then or since.)
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Still waiting to hear who is really paying the legal bills for this farce--which of Apple's enemies is the man behind the curtain?

Imagine how hilarious it would be if it was revealed to be Samsung.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I really doubt that. As a matter of fact, I'd bet money against it happening, especially with Apple's position today. Steve Jobs was really pissed at those clone makers and he even used a curse word during that keynote, something that you normally don't see during an Apple keynote.

Shoulda had George Carlin as a consultant. The presentation would have been a lot more colorful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL3bRyFrrG8

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post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2oh1 View Post

It's hard to seriously discuss the clones of that era (mid/late 90s) because there was no reason for the Mac to increase market share. The Mac lineup was a disaster. Performas? Please. OS8? Get outa' town. What a mess. I'm a Mac guy going all the way back to the Quadra and then the 7100. But Apple in the 90s was a disaster. There was no way clones could do anything other than eat up the sales of Macs back then. It wasn't like it is today, where people are switching to the Mac. Back then, people were leaving.

The iMac was the beginning of turning it around. OSX, even more so. iPods? Even more so.

The fact that Apple killed off clones has a lot to do with the success of the walled garden approach today. It's why Apple is probably close to releasing the iPad 3, meanwhile nobody else has even matched the iPad 2.

I remember buying a Power Computing Mac clone. The machine specs were much better than Apple's but Apple software just wouldn't work on the clones. It crashed so much I was determine to switch to Windows (It was a moment of desperation). I thought it was Apple's software until I got a good deal on a real Mac and it never crashed. It was the clones fault all the time.

That was 1999-2001 and I've never fell off the wagon again. I love my Macs because they work as long as you stick to Apple's software or dedicated Mac developers. Windows ports and Adobe crapware will make any MacOS unstable.
post #29 of 40
Samsung is next!
post #30 of 40
No it doesn't. It just takes deep pockets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

It takes a fearless frame of mind to even start a company like Psystar so it does not surprise me that they fearlessly battled (and lost) in court.
post #31 of 40
Of course Apple can continue to restrict it's own software to it's own hardware. Just because Microsoft has a certain business model doesn't mean everyone else has to too. Thanks Judge.
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Of course Apple can continue to restrict it's own software to it's own hardware...

And IMO this is Apple's biggest strength. It makes it easier to innovate and stabilize integration when your customers are all using the same gear, and the customer trust it.
post #33 of 40
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post #34 of 40
Surely, the opposite of this scenario is VMWare Fusion/Parallels/Boot Camp.

So why is it OK to run Windows on a Mac but not run OSX on a PC? If you or a company buys OSX they should be allowed to use it on a system of their choice as they have paid the licence.
post #35 of 40
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post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Surely, the opposite of this scenario is VMWare Fusion/Parallels/Boot Camp.

So why is it OK to run Windows on a Mac but not run OSX on a PC? I

Microsoft's Licenses explicitly allows you to do this - Apple's license explicitly does not.
post #37 of 40
When Jobs returned, he realized that the unique strength/opportunity for Apple lie in controlling the user experience end-to-end, OS AND hardware. There was much quality and ease of use to be realized there as opposed to the rest of the PC market. That's why the clones were killed, imho. It's called "vertical integration", and they've been wildly successful with it. Normally that would also get the attention of the Anti-Trust lawyers, but since Apple was such an underdog compared to WinTel, they had cover. Wonder if that might eventually change?
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naboozle View Post

When Jobs returned, he realized that the unique strength/opportunity for Apple lie in controlling the user experience end-to-end, OS AND hardware. There was much quality and ease of use to be realized there as opposed to the rest of the PC market.

I am more willing to bet that Jobs realized that it was stupid to compete with a convicted monopolist using the same sales tactics without the illegal tactics that MS employed. The fact that it was vertical integration wasnt really unique - Apple did that (along with most computer companies) for a long time

Quote:
That's why the clones were killed, imho. It's called "vertical integration", and they've been wildly successful with it. Normally that would also get the attention of the Anti-Trust lawyers, but since Apple was such an underdog compared to WinTel, they had cover. Wonder if that might eventually change?

Not really likely. It takes some very specific things to prompt an anti-trust. One of the easiest ways is to to use one uniquely specific market monopoly (like the PC computer market) to gain another monopoly in another unrelated market. Apple has lots of popular products, but non of them illegal serve to gain a monopoly or to prop up another. Monopolies alone arent a problem. Apple can even have several monopolies (arguably they dont and the courts have never ruled any of Apples products that way either). Its how you get those monopolies and what you do with them. Right now, Apple just has several popular products, but they are in no way preventing a company from legally competing with them - in fact pretty much every product that Apple has a market product in, their are several competitors and the markets have been shown to be quite active - the opposite environment of an anti-trust situation. You have to basically be a Microsoft or have Google search marketshare numbers before the government looks at you.

And all that implies that the government is interested in enforcing the Sherman Anti-trust laws - something that I havent seen the government judicial bodies interested in per suing as of late. Its possible, but so are lots of other things.
post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

I don't think it qualified as "a lot" by even the most generous description.

Power Computing certainly sold a fair but very small amount back in the day, but no other clone maker could ever lay claim to literally have cut into any Apple product's share. That would be a hypothetical and theoretical claim for legal purposes, and I support its position, but it didn't actually occur by any stretch since they pulled the liscense from Power Computing. (I actually bought my mom a Motorola Mac clone during the "sneeze and you'll miss it" timeframe they were sold. Don't remember ever seeing another in civilization then or since.)

It was a lot. I'm not saying it was a majority. But Apple's sales had dropped to 3.3 million machines, and clones were several hundred thousand a year, mostly, mid and high end machines. That qualifies as a lot. I even bought a SuperMac to try out in my place. It was pretty good. But there were still some odd things about the clones that were hard to understand. For example, you couldn't use the "c" key to start from a CD. You needed some multiple key combo to do that, which I've now forgotten.

I had also purchased a Sony 900 24" widescreen monitor, the first of it's kind, as a relabeled Power Computing model for $1,000 less than Sony's model, which came with a calibration unit which I already had.
post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Surely, the opposite of this scenario is VMWare Fusion/Parallels/Boot Camp.

So why is it OK to run Windows on a Mac but not run OSX on a PC? If you or a company buys OSX they should be allowed to use it on a system of their choice as they have paid the licence.

You get a license to run it on Apple branded hardware. I don't see the problem. Apple isn't in the business of selling OS's to everyone as is Microsoft. Apple has their OS to make their hardware desirable. They sell it at a price that's well below what MS sells theirs for. If Apple sold OS X to everyone, it might sell for $299, like MS's Ultimate. But it never sold for more than $129, and for two upgrades running has sold for only $29.99. That's a giveaway.

What people should be asking is why MS sells their software for so much. People complain publicly about Apple's pricing and profits, but not about MS's, which is much more.

If someone really wants a Mac, they should buy one, and stop complaining. If they don't want to pay the price, they can get a refurb from Apple.
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