Pystar 0, Apple 1: Psystar loses its California case

Psystar, the Macintosh ‘clone’ maker, was dealt a major blow in its on-going litigation with Apple.  The Judge in the case has ruled in Apple’s favor, saying that Psystar illegally copies the Mac OS X operating system that it installs on the ‘clone’ machines.  Psystar, instead of installing OS X on the machines using the actual copies that they bundle with the machine, were using images made from OTHER copies of the operating system, a clear violation since they did not have permission to do so.  Had they actually installed the OS from the same discs they gave to customers, they may have avoided losing that particular argument. 

It didn’t end there, however.  In order to get the operating system to actually boot, they had to circumvent Apple’s EFI boot loader and encryption scheme.  The Judge ruled that, by doing so, they violated the DMCA.  That, alone, will hand them a heft fine. 

There were other things they were found to be in violation, but the DMCA violation and the illegal copies are more than enough to torpedo any remaining arguments that they have.  This ruling, by the way, was in the California case.  They still have a case in Florida, but, given the ruling in this case, the Florida case looks worse than the Titanic.  They should settle, if that is still possible.

Personally, I think this stinks.  While the illegal copying is wrong, that does not mean they don’t have a valid argument here.  Apple’s exclusion of non-Apple hardware is bad.  Yeah, I know, they have a right to control their products…but, remember, so does Microsoft and, yet, our government here in the States as well as the European Union, think otherwise.  Those two governing bodies should stick their long noses in Apple’s business as well.  What Apple is doing is, essentially, saying “well, you can only use our gas in our car.  You cannot use that gas in a Ford.”  They allow you to put other operating systems on their hardware, so why not Mac OS X on OTHER hardware?  Well, the answer is two fold and simple:  they want to sell their computers and if you want the ‘Mac experience’, then they need to control the whole package.  The other reason is that the do not know how to support the operating system on non-Apple hardware.  They can barely support their own legacy…oh, wait, they don’t.  They only go back a generation, not much further.  And if Joe User has a Dell and puts Mac OS X on their, they would not know what to do other than to say ‘talk to Dell.’  It is an expense they do not want.

Psystar was doomed.  I admire the spirit of what they did, but not the tactics.  They should have done it right by installing the same copy of the operating system that they gave the customer and not make the images (i.e. illegal copies.)  What a shame.  This will only embolden Apple to continue these ridiculous restrictions.  The fact that they actually went out of their way to lock out the Atom processor speaks volumes.  How anyone can still hold this company up high just baffles me.  And they said Microsoft was the evil empire. 

You can read more about the case here.

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