posted by Thom Holwerda on Sun 8th Feb 2009 16:30 UTC
IconUS resident already had the pleasure/disgrace (take your pick) of buying non-Apple computers with Mac OS X pre-installed through PsyStar. European customers were left out in the cold, as PsyStar is a US-based company which undoubtedly makes shipping across the pond rather expensive. Despair no longer, European clone enthusiasts: German PearC is here.

PearC is basically selling machines very similar to the ones offered by PsyStar, with three possible base models ranging from 499 EUR to 1499 EUR, all with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard pre-installed. The machines range from an Intel Pentium dual core E2200 to Intel Core i7 machines with options of up to 12GB of RAM. For the rest, they offer a range of options and upgrades to choose from. They ship their Macintosh clones to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Spane, and the UK.

The website is in German, which I happen to speak rather well. The FAQ of the website contains a question concerning the legality of this whole setup. The answer:

Die Deutsche Gesetzgebung ist in diesem Fall auf der Seite Endverbraucher. Enbenutzer-Lizenzverträge werden in Deutschland nur dann zum Vertragsbestandteil, wenn Sie vor dem Kauf der Software vereinbart wurden. Die Einschränkung, die Apple für sein Betriebssystem Mac OS X in der EULA macht, haben daher in Deutschland keine rechtliche Bewandnis (BGB §307). Wir sind daher davon überzeugt, dass unser Produkt in Deutschland legal ist.

Basically, it reads that end-user license agreements in Germany are only valid if they have been offered before the transfer of goods/money, which in the case of Mac OS X does not happen. As such, PearC claims, the clause in Apple's EULA binding Mac OS X to Apple hardware is unlawful.

There is no word from Apple yet, but seeing the legal action undertaken against PsyStar, Apple Germany might start similar legal action against PearC. With German law probably being quite different from US law, such a possible case could follow an entirely different path than the US one. It also raises the question: where will this end? If every country gets its own clone maker, will apple go after each and every one of them, forced to take all the local laws and regulations into account?

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