Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 31st Jul 2008 22:03 UTC
Legal There are probably lots and lots of lawsuits going on every day in the technology world, and generally, they are quite uninteresting to all of us. Exceptions exist, of course, and the case of Apple and PsyStar is definitely one of them. It's a lawsuit that could test one of the most debated issues in the world of software: the EULA issue. To refresh your memory: PsyStar started offering Macintosh clones earlier this year, which caused quite the uproar in the Mac community. Apple was silent on the issue at first, but a few weeks ago the company decided to take legal action against PsyStar, claiming PsyStar violated Apple's copyright and license agreements (EULAs), and motivated others to do the same. While several legal experts agree that Apple's EULA will stand the test of court in The Netherlands, the situation in the US might be completely different. PsyStar seems prepared for the worst, as they have hired lawyers from Carr & Ferrell LLP, a firm who successfully fought Apple in court over IP issues before. I'm breaking out the popcorn, because this is hopefully going to be a big one.
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RE[4]: Comment by Gryzor
by nevali on Mon 4th Aug 2008 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Gryzor"
nevali
Member since:
2006-10-12

OK, but making the reasonable assumption that none of the people who are buying clones would be buying Apple's hardware in any event, I still fail to see how it harms Apple. I am, of course, speaking of people who have bought and paid for the OS not unbridled piracy.


That's a pretty big assumption to make; maybe they would have bought a Mac, but saw the clone was cheaper. The clone market is tiny right now, but if it became legitimised it's possible it could grow to be reasonably large—large enough to be problematic for Apple. Remember what the clones did to IBM, after all?

Personally, I consider my copies of Mac OS X to be subsidised in part by the hardware, and in practice retail copies are “Upgrade” versions, because every Mac sold similarly at retail already ships with a licensed version, and the license tells me I can't install it on anything else (I have, but the user experience and hassle of installing it on a Dell laptop was so poor I ended up re-installing XP on it and letting my Macs be the ones to run Mac OS X). Whether this is true, right now, in legal terms or not, I don't know. It's possible that Apple missed a trick, but they can always change the license terms to require that you must have a previously-licensed full version of Mac OS X in order to install retail copies and never actually sell them (or sell them at a much higher cost to cover the lost hardware sales).

Despite what some think, I can't for the life of me see why it's possibly in Apple's interests to “go mainstream” with Mac OS X: ask anybody who's done low-level hacking on an operating system kernel how much of a pain in the ass differing hardware configurations are; Apple already supports a fair number of its own, without having to deal with the multitude of unknown combinations customers might throw at it. There's a misapprehension that Apple clearly wants to have Mac OS X running on every desktop it can—perhaps it does, but not if the hardware isn't made by Apple; that route just isn't profitable (and frankly, Apple's business decisions haven't exactly done its shareholders a disservice since Jobs got back to the helm and put a stop to the Mac clones the first time around).

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