Second firm tests Apple's legal resolve with Mac OS X-ready PCs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Ignoring action just taken against Psystar, a new company known as Open Tech says it's making Mac OS X-compatible PCs, and believes it has found a loophole that prevents legal action from Apple.



Open Tech Inc. is following in the same vein as its now well-known predecessor and is launching two purportedly "open" PCs, the Open Tech Home budget computer and the quad-core Open Tech XT, that are effectively just custom-built Intel systems based on commonly available -- and somewhat outdated -- parts.



Unlike the similarly-designed Psystar Open Computer (initially OpenMac), Open Tech hopes to promise Mac compatibility while avoiding a conflict with Apple's Software License Agreement that forbids selling Mac OS X installed on non-Apple hardware.



Instead of installing Mac OS X itself or bundling a copy with the sale, this new builder is offering its customers a mystery "do-it-yourself kit" that will guide them through installing a separately-purchased copy of the Apple software. The company itself would absolve itself of responsibility and put the focus on the user.



In making claims of compatibility with the software, however, Open Tech is nonetheless still at risk of running afoul of some of the same legal roadblocks that resulted in Apple's lawsuit against Psystar last week, full details of which have since been obtained by AppleInsider.



While Apple's core complaint in the 35-page lawsuit centers around Psystar installing (and encouraging others to install) Mac OS X without permission, the legal filing also accuses the Florida-based PC assembler, now known to be founded by brothers Robert and Rudy Pedraza of Doral, Florida, of violating copyrights by simply displaying Apple's trademarks for the operating system without permission. It also charges that Psystar misrepresents Apple by falsely implying to customers that the third party has the Mac maker's blessing.



The consequences for Psystar should it lose the trial are also more serious than first thought and would serve as a warning sign for Open Tech and other firms. Besides asking for a permanent halt to sales of any of Psystar's Open Computers preloaded with Mac OS X Leopard, Apple's lawsuit also demands that the court force a recall of any systems already in customers' hands, as they 'dilute' the Apple brand by presenting it in a less than ideal way that has included breakdowns and imperfect software patches.



While it's unlikely that Open Tech has been aware of the full nature of Apple's lawsuit against its fellow vendor, the new arrival still appears to be conscious enough of potential legal challenges and is going to great lengths to conceal its actual point of origin. Prices are listed in US dollars, but the website itself is hosted on a domain belonging to the New Zealand territory of Tokelau -- and the only known contact is Elijah Samaroo, whose only traces suggest either a UK Apple enthusiast who once made a comment at TUAW or else a young American from Davie, Florida running a computer service firm known as CPU Prodigy.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    The price is the same whether you buy it with Vista pre-installed, or if you buy it with only the Leopard do-it-yourself kit plus having to purchase Leopard separately. This makes the OS X version $129 more expensive, plus taxes of course



    Just a hoax methinks.
  • Reply 2 of 73
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    If this is true, I wonder if it would run into problems because it is basically encouraging people to violate EULA agreements. I don't remember if the legalese word is inducement or something else.



    I don't know if Apple's product qualifies for DMCA protection at all (might be a shaky argument, unless it has copy protection / encryption), but telling people how they can break copy protection is a no-no under that law.
  • Reply 3 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    If this is true, I wonder if it would run into problems because it is basically encouraging people to violate EULA agreements. I don't remember if the legalese word is inducement or something else.



    I don't know if Apple's product qualifies for DMCA protection at all (might be a shaky argument, unless it has copy protection / encryption), but telling people how they can break copy protection is a no-no under that law.



    The EULA isn't really enforceable and since the DMCA should allow you to alter copyrighted code to suit your personal needs—something that Psystar wasn't doing as a reseller—this method should work fine. After all, all they are doing is supplying instructions that you can get at OSx86 Project and InsaneyMac. Like how head shops can sell bongs as tobacco pipes but not the weed the hippies smoke, or how you can legally buy stills or instructions to build stills online even if your state doesn't allow the the production of alcohol.



    Plus, they may not be telling them how to break the copyright protection, but how to install a copy of OS X and get it working properly after the copyright protection is already broken.
  • Reply 4 of 73
    Posted about this slightly more in depth this morning here: http://www.esquiremac.com/2008/07/op...nces-vs-apple/
  • Reply 5 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EsquireMac View Post


    Posted about this slightly more in depth this morning here: http://www.esquiremac.com/2008/07/op...nces-vs-apple/



    Nice blog.
  • Reply 6 of 73
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Apple, allow Mac OS X on any PC out there and sell billions of Mac OS X copies.



    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!
  • Reply 7 of 73
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The EULA isn't really enforceable



    Enforceable is different from legal, which copyright infringement is not.



    Quote:

    Like how head shops can sell bongs as tobacco pipes but not the weed the hippies smoke, or how you can legally buy stills or instructions to build stills online even if your state doesn't allow the the production of alcohol.



    Then you agree: If Open Tech advertises their computers as being suitable for running Mac OS X, then Open Tech is breaking the law by helping its customers to infringe on Apple's copyright. Just possibly Apple might first need to notify Open Tech that no one outside of Apple has a license to install Mac OS X; hence, any assistance Open Tech provides for installing Mac OS X on a non-Apple computer amounts to copyright infringement. But once warned, if Open Tech continues the practice, they won't live much longer.
  • Reply 8 of 73
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    Apple, allow Mac OS X on any PC out there and sell billions of Mac OS X copies.



    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!



    Quote:

    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!



    And Apple in two. Removing 50% of your revenue and all control over your most fundamental assets doesn't sound like a very good idea to me.
  • Reply 9 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Enforceable is different from legal, which copyright infringement is not.



    I'm well aware of the differences in terms, hence my use of the term enforceable.



    Quote:

    Then you agree: If Open Tech advertises their computers as being suitable for running Mac OS X, then Open Tech is breaking the law by helping its customers to infringe on Apple's copyright. Just possibly Apple might first need to notify Open Tech that no one outside of Apple has a license to install Mac OS X; hence, any assistance Open Tech provides for installing Mac OS X on a non-Apple computer amounts to copyright infringement. But once warned, if Open Tech continues the practice, they won't live much longer.



    I don't agree that a blanket black/white outcome can be determined if Open Tech doesn't break any copyright laws. Is suppling details on how tumblers in a lock work the same as breaking and entering?



    Plus, isn't the domain for Open Tech hosted in another country. If they can add another company and country between their web hosting and connection with the customer and the people that build and ship the machines in the States then wouldn't this even be more difficult to attack. For instance, if Open Tech USA, Inc. is legally operated by person X who only builds basic machines for another company outside the US then what laws are they breaking if Open Tech in Sweden, for example, emails you the instruction set for OSx86 if you so desire and without informing the Stateside HW team of this?





    Anyway, I still think Apple's only viable move is to start using HW authentication in future Macs.
  • Reply 10 of 73
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    Then you agree: If Open Tech advertises their computers as being suitable for running Mac OS X, then Open Tech is breaking the law by helping its customers to infringe on Apple's copyright.



    I don't get the impression that you understood solipsism's point.



    Quote:

    Just possibly Apple might first need to notify Open Tech that no one outside of Apple has a license to install Mac OS X;



    I think you need to restate that. If you put a new hard drive in a Mac, and run the install disc, you're basically installing OS X.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    They are selling a Pentium D based PC. Wow, a PC running Leopard that is probably slower than a PowerPC G5 running Leopard. Yeah, that will sell like hotcakes. Their upper model is an Intel Core 2 Duo for over $1,000. Why would anyone waste money on a POS PC box with no guaranteed compatibility with OS X or any future releases?



    Allowing Mac OS X to run on any PC would be a huge mistake. Then it will have all the compatibility problems, just like Windows. Too many mix and match hardware parts leads to problems. Apple's success is based on the stability of OS X, as well as everything else they do.



    Macs are selling in record numbers compared to the rest of the market. Apple doesn't need to license OS X to anyone. People are realizing the Mac is worth the money. They are now willing to buy a quality product, not some piece of crap PC box.
  • Reply 12 of 73
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zunx

    Apple, allow Mac OS X on any PC out there and sell billions of Mac OS X copies.



    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!



    Apple sells an image almost as much as they sell a product. An image of the elite. To allow OS X to be open or run on Windows-based machines would destroy this reputation and cause all sorts of compatibility issues that Windows machines already have. Apple has one hardware to maintain compatibility with; they're the smart ones. Microsoft could take notes. Allowing Mac to run on Windows-based machines would not be a lucrative business move for Apple, it would destroy Apple and make them the same as Microsoft.
  • Reply 13 of 73
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    They are selling a Pentium D based PC. Wow, a PC running Leopard that is probably slower than a PowerPC G5 running Leopard. Yeah, that will sell like hotcakes. Their upper model is an Intel Core 2 Duo for over $1,000. Why would anyone waste money on a POS PC box with no guaranteed compatibility with OS X or any future releases?



    Those "low cost" Psystar machines turned out to be more expensive with comparable HW when you upgraded the components.



    Quote:

    Allowing Mac OS X to run on any PC would be a huge mistake. Then it will have all the compatibility problems, just like Windows. Too many mix and match hardware parts leads to problems. Apple's success is based on the stability of OS X, as well as everything else they do.



    Apple has enough issues with drivers on their limited HW as it is.



    Quote:

    Macs are selling in record numbers compared to the rest of the market. Apple doesn't need to license OS X to anyone. People are realizing the Mac is worth the money.



    If they were going to do it they would have done it back in the 90's when they could have used a leg up. Yet oddly, the more successful Apple's Mac line becomes the more we hear "Apple should license OS X to everyone" and "Apple doesn't care about Mac people."



    Furthuremore, I don't understand why anyone wold consider buying from Shyster-like companies. If you aren't good with computers then a hacked copy of OS X is not for you as issues will be solvable without mailing your HDD to them or getting some on-site tech support. If you are good with computers then why not just build your own as it would be cheaper than a 3rd-party build and all the info you need is freely available in one location.
  • Reply 14 of 73
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    I am seeing more home-grown boxes like this appearing on Craig's List. However, who would really want to own one of these bloody things? AppleCare is second to absolutely nothing—what do they have to offer other than rubbish?
  • Reply 15 of 73
    gmon750gmon750 Posts: 39member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    Apple, allow Mac OS X on any PC out there and sell billions of Mac OS X copies.



    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!



    Isn't that what Linux on the desktop was supposed to do? Still holding my breath on that one.



    Apple will not (and should not) be expected to support the countless different hardware configurations. It's why their OS is a leaner system than M$' bloatware. Regular users would end up blaming Apple for making an inferior OS because it doesn't run on their 512MB Pentium PC with Voodoo graphics.
  • Reply 16 of 73
    citycity Posts: 522member
    $129 should be the upgrade price for MacOS with the full version at $1299.
  • Reply 17 of 73
    wattsmwattsm Posts: 1member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    Apple, allow Mac OS X on any PC out there and sell billions of Mac OS X copies.



    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!



    While I've pointed this out before elsewhere, it evidently bears repeating on occasion.



    The issue here is not how much Apple makes in hardware versus software. It was when Steve Jobs killed the original cloning program, to the degree that the cloners were undercutting Apple's high-end machines and Jobs decided that this was a path to ruin. You can argue about whether that was a good idea or not even then, but you can't deny Jobs has had an awful lot of success with his "closed" path.



    No, the problem with selling OS X on non-Apple hardware is more fundamental: it's declaring open war on Microsoft.



    See, Linux doesn't really do that, despite what Linux enthusiasts would like to believe; Linux is still relatively hard to use, has a dearth of commercial software outside the server realm, etc., etc. But OS X has solved all those problems. It's a serious competitor. It's a serious competitor to Windows even requiring Apple hardware -- but that "oh, and you need to buy a whole new computer to run this" block is enough to make the competition slightly indirect. Slightly.



    But if Apple puts boxed OS X copies on the shelf that advertise being able to run on non-Apple hardware, they'd better be ready for a fight to the death. As fashionable as it is to make fun of Microsoft's products, they're dead serious as competitors, and they will do everything they can to derail someone who challenges them head-on.



    And bluntly, in Apple's case, that's a lot. Microsoft Office on the Mac? Gone. Licenses that allow any legal use of Windows on VMWare Fusion and Parallels? Gone. Oh, yes, that ActiveSync implementation just rolled out with the iPhone 2.0? Darn, that doesn't seem to be quite compatible with Exchange 2010, does it? Oh, so sad! But we've worked out this special deal with RIM so if you upgrade your company to Exchange 2010, you get two years of BlackBerry service for free...



    I don't completely rule out Apple opening up OS X to non-Mac hardware a few years down the road, depending on how their other product lines go. (The iPhone may well be Apple's biggest platform in a few years.) But you can bet your bank account that they're not going to do that unless they're confident they can replace everything, everything, that they get from Microsoft for all their platforms, top to bottom.
  • Reply 18 of 73
    kenaustuskenaustus Posts: 894member
    "Inducing Breach of Contract" is the term that caught my eye. While it may be a pain for Apple to go after every little company that crops up they may advise the credit card processors that being a part of any transaction of selling a Mac clone, or "Mac intended" clone will include them in this Inducement of Breach of Contract.



    That would put all credit card companies, and their processor companies, in a situation where they would rapidly cut off these little companies from receiving payment via a credit card.



    Another approach might be to stiffen up the activation process that includes the installer pulling the Mac's serial number and verifying that it is, in fact, a

    Mac.



    There are other approaches, including increasing the price while giving Mac users discounts, or developing engineering changes that future OS X versions will verify.



    The point is, if these little companies keep cropping up Apple will need to take a macro approach to the problem, not micro approach of going after individual companies.
  • Reply 19 of 73
    wheelhotwheelhot Posts: 465member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zunx

    Apple, allow Mac OS X on any PC out there and sell billions of Mac OS X copies.

    Even more: open Mac OS X and give it for free to make Windows history in three years!



    Honestly, I dont understand why there are still people like you. You guys kept saying apple should offer OS X on PC and the crap but you all never realize that they did that before! and it doesn't work, instead the company suffer more. If you cant own it, dont buy it. As simple as that. Mercedes don't need to make a cheap version of their car so people of lower income can buy it, same goes to Apple. Yeah my point is rude but Im getting pissed off with you kind of users.



    Quote:

    Apple sells an image almost as much as they sell a product. An image of the elite. To allow OS X to be open or run on Windows-based machines would destroy this reputation and cause all sorts of compatibility issues that Windows machines already have. Apple has one hardware to maintain compatibility with; they're the smart ones. Microsoft could take notes. Allowing Mac to run on Windows-based machines would not be a lucrative business move for Apple, it would destroy Apple and make them the same as Microsoft.



    Yup, definitely agree with you.



    Apple is a company that sells you their product in a complete package, of course there are some good and bad by doing this but its how Apple is run. If you are not happy with this, get a Linux and modify it to look and function like OS X or even better.
  • Reply 20 of 73
    davidwdavidw Posts: 956member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The EULA isn't really enforceable and since the DMCA should allow you to alter copyrighted code to suit your personal needs—something that Psystar wasn't doing as a reseller—this method should work fine. After all, all they are doing is supplying instructions that you can get at OSx86 Project and InsaneyMac. Like how head shops can sell bongs as tobacco pipes but not the weed the hippies smoke, or how you can legally buy stills or instructions to build stills online even if your state doesn't allow the the production of alcohol.



    Plus, they may not be telling them how to break the copyright protection, but how to install a copy of OS X and get it working properly after the copyright protection is already broken.



    The analogy works this way. If you sell a $20 case of beer to an adult and then tell him that he can turn a quick profit by selling that case of beer for $30 to the high school kids down the block, you are as guilty has he is for supplying alcohol to minors.



    The same would be true if you sold alcohol to an adult that you knew was supplying alcohol to minors.



    The law that Apple should be able to win on, against these Mac clones, is that no can profit from your copyrighted material without your permission (license).



    The classic example of this is the movie you buy or rent. On it is the EULA that states that it's for personal viewing and that you can only view the movie in a home. Another words, you can not set up your own little neighborhood theater and charge admission to others to watch on your home theater system. Nor can you show it in a place of business in hopes of making money from your customers.



    And this EULA is enforcable. A while back my health club use to have movie nights. On Wednesday nights my club would show a couple of movies that they rented from the local Blockbuster. They did not charge admission, they served free popcorn and charged a dollar for a pitcher of beer. They weren't dong this to make money. It was just a benifit for the members.



    Well an attorney showed up one day and told them they had to stop it. Even if my health club didn't think they were profiting by selling dollar beer. the attorney made a case that by having the members hang around the club a few extra hours, the club could be making extra money on other items those member could buy. Like soda, candy bars, can/bottle beers, potato chips, etc. My health club got the advise from it's own attorney that they could no longer have movie nights. Unless they show actual non-copyrighted home movies.



    The same law applies here with the Mac clones. They can not use someone elses copyrighted work to make money. Not without the permission of the copyright owner. Just like you can't use someone elses copyrighted movie to make money. Even if you bought and own the movie. The copyright owner has every right to protect all potential income derieved from using his coyrighted work.



    This is why most hackers don't profit from their hacks. They are right on the border of legal and illegal when they hack other peoples copyrighted software. But they cross over to the illegal side once they try to sell their hacks. They would now be profiting by using others people copyrighted material. Without permission.



    So it shouldn't matter whether it's illegal to hack OSX. Or that they encourage the buyers to hack OSX. The only thing that matters is that the Mac clones are using OSX to sell their ware. OSX is copyrighted by Apple. And therefore the Mac clones shouldn't be allow to use OSX as a means of selling their ware. Without Apple's permission or license.



    And I won't even get into the RIAA and copyrighted music.
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