Attack of the clones: Psystar to battle Apple on EULA

Attack of the clones: Psystar to battle Apple on EULA

Summary: As I blogged yesterday, I have fond memories of the Mac clones – that's what compelled me to wax nostalgic there for a spell. I have since found these great photos of Power Computing's bungee tower from Macworld Expo Boston 1996, but I digress...

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TOPICS: CXO, Apple, Hardware, Security
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Attack of the clones: Psystar to battle Apple on EULAAs I blogged yesterday, I have fond memories of the Mac clones – that's what compelled me to wax nostalgic there for a spell. I have since found these great photos of Power Computing's bungee tower from Macworld Expo Boston 1996, but I digress...

Now that the memories of clam chowder and death-defying stunts over the Boston bay have faded, let's take a look at what's transpired since I reported yesterday on the Miami-based Psystar's purported US$399 cost Mac clone.

For starters, Psystar's Web site is somewhat accessible today, so you can read pages. But it still crawls.

The company changed the name of the "OpenMac" to the "Open Computer." It was smart to drop "Mac" from their name as Apple's lawyers have a certain fondness for it, not to mention a litany of patents and trademarks. Psystar's owner Rudy Pedraza told Ars Technica that the name change was not due to any threats from Apple legal. "This is a proactive step we took on our own, to avoid any issues," he said.

Psystar is still offering the Open Computer with Mac OS 10.5 pre-installed, for a $155 upcharge, which is sure to draw Apple's ire because it's a direct violation of the Leopard EULA, which states:

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions. A. Single Use. This License allows you to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so. This License does not allow the Apple Software to exist on more than one computer at a time, and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple computers at the same time.

Information Week's Paul McDougall spoke to a Psystar employee, Robert, who called the Apple EULA unfair and believes that it may violate US anti-monopoly laws. "What if Honda said that, after you buy their car, you could only drive it on the roads they said you could?" Robert said.

PsystarÂ’s Open Pro challenges AppleÂ’s Mac Pro

Psystar is now offering an upgraded version of the Open Computer called the Open Pro. The US$999 OpenPro can be accommodate 8GB RAM, 2.6GHz Core 2 Quad processor, 1TB SATA drive, GeForce 8800GT graphics card, a mirror-finish case (pictured), and Leopard pre-installed for US$2,169. Compare that withe a similarly-configured Mac Pro at US$4,349 and you're saving almost half.

More pictures of Psystar enclosures are in this gallery.

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Topics: CXO, Apple, Hardware, Security

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51 comments
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  • I would consider it

    I would seriously consider buying one, but only after I knew 1) Updates wouldn't render it useless and 2) The company wasn't going to be shut down by Apple.
    Badgered
    • Somebody ACTUALLY READ a EULA?? Ha! Ha! Snort!

      Do you guys actually read the license agreements for your software??? I would be amazed if more than 5% of the consumers read more than the first few lines. And then just the first one of them they ever had - never the second, third, ...
      If someone asks in a court of law if I read the agreement I would say no! Does anybody read those?
      The lawyer that wrote it probably didn't read it. Probably didn't even use a spellchecker.
      Somewhere down in the bottom it probably gives them the right to my firstborn child. I doubt that would be binding.
      rickjackson
  • Apple's OSX is illegal

    If Microsoft were to go into the PC hardware business and then say since its their OS, that they have the right to lock it down to their hardware, people would be running in the streets screaming bloody murder!

    OSX is an OS, they sell it as an OS independently.
    Thus if they do so, they cannot then say, that it is locked down so that you can ONLY use it with their hardware.

    This is an anti-trust law, anti-predatory law, that they are breaking.

    PSYSTAR simply makes the hardware, Apple makes the OS, if someone buys OSX, they have a legal right to transfer to another hardware.

    It is illegal for Apple to purposely sabotage their OSX to make it in-operable with other hardware. There is no reason that Apple OS cannot be run on a variety of machines. It's only Apple's sabotage that creates the incompatibility and this is well documented!

    Someone was trying to make the case that Connectix then should be able to run Sony games.Sony does not sell their OS.

    Being a monopoly is NOT illegal, monopolistic and predatory practices are!

    The rest of the PC market must abide by these rules, why is Apple exempt ?
    JABBER_WOLF
    • Not quite

      Apple includes OS X with every Mac sold
      and, when a new version comes out, it
      sells copies to existing Mac customers
      with the legal requirement (in the EULA)
      that it only be installed on genuine
      Apple hardware.

      I wouldn't be too excited about buying
      one. By the time your computer was
      ready to ship Apple will have a court
      order preventing it from shipping - a
      Federal Court order. You $399 will
      probably be going to pay legal fees as
      Federal Court is a lot more expensive
      that a state level court.

      By the way - has anyone actually seen
      one of these computers working? Any
      reporter, independent computer
      specialists? Anyone?
      Ken_z
      • That is not what the EULA says:

        Where you say: "that it only be installed on genuine Apple hardware." That is not correct, the EULA says "(1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at
        a time." So lets say I go out to the Mac Store and paid for a copy of MAC OSX, Now I own a license, I then went home and put a Mac sticker that I got when I purchased my IPod on my computer, Viola a Apple-labeled computer. Isn't that part within the EULA? If they are installing it how I think they are then I can tell you that it works and works good, a $500 windows machine can work just as well if not better then a $2000 Mac Pro. Quartz extreme support and all.
        NoThomas
      • You finally admit that there is no SKU for full install of OS X!

        [i]Apple includes OS X with every Mac sold
        and, when a new version comes out, it
        sells copies to existing Mac customers
        with the legal requirement (in the EULA)
        that it only be installed on genuine
        Apple hardware.[/i]

        I'm bookmarking your post as a counter every time anyone dares suggest that the $129 OS X version is a full version and not, as you now admit, an upgrade that [b]requires[/b] you to own a license to a previous version.

        I do find it [b]hilarious[/b] how Apple zealots will play both sides of the same argument depending on how they are attempting to apologize for Apple. It really is quite entertaining! :)
        NonZealot
        • What?

          I for one do believe the $129 Mac OSX is a full install. I bought a used B&W G3 off of ebay which came without any OS. I installed OS 8.6, did a firmware update and then loaded OSX. It went on like a champ.

          The EULA doesn't require a previous version of anything.

          So how is it an upgrade?
          aoresteen
          • Apple sold G3s without an OS?

            [i]I bought a used B&W G3 off of ebay which came without any OS.[/i]

            I didn't realize Apple sold G3s without any OS on them at all!

            No, of course the G3 came with an OS. The full version of Windows can be installed on a machine that has never had any version of any MS OS on it, ever: like a Mac. The $129 version of OS X cannot be installed on any computer that was not sold with a version of an Apple OS. Apple subsidizes the cost of OS X with hardware margins which is why you cannot compare the $129 charged for OS X to the amounts charged for the full SKU of Windows.

            [i]The EULA doesn't require a previous version of anything.[/i]

            Absolutely it does. It states it by restricting the install of OS X to Apple labeled computers. This is why I find the replies to the Psystar story far more fascinating than the story itself. We now have Apple zealot scrambling to prove the very things that they have been denying for years, one of which is that the $129 copy of OS X is an upgrade and not a full install. :)
            NonZealot
          • Used vs New

            NonZealot,

            I bought my G3 USED. It did NOT come with an OS. The drive was wiped clean. I had to BUY an OS and install it myself.

            While Apple has always sold their computers with an OS, they have always sold them with a power cord and an owner's manual. Saying that EULA requires a previous copy of Max OS is like saying it requires an Apple power cord and owner's manual. Or as you put it:

            ?The $129 version of OS X cannot be installed on any computer that was not sold with a version of an Apple OS.?

            Restated we can say ?The $129 version of OS X cannot be installed on any computer that was not sold with an Apple power cord and an Apple owners manual?. Both are true statements, not because the EULA requires it, but as a matter of historical fact.

            Try READING the EULA.

            http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macosx105.pdf

            Now where does it say ANYTHING about a previous OS as a condition for use.

            You wrote: Apple subsidizes the cost of OS X with hardware margins which is why you cannot compare the $129 charged for OS X to the amounts charged for the full SKU of Windows.

            That is complete nonsense! Of course you can compare them. The internal cost allocation of expenses is not the end users concern. I can compare what I have to pay to obtain either product. Apple has set the retail price of $129; it?s their decision and we can either buy the product or not. I can get an OEM version of Windows XP for $89, that is Microsoft?s decision to set the retail price of Windows.

            You are saying in effect that ?You can not compare a Chevy to a Nissan because GM subsidizes the Chevy car with features developed for the Cadillac.?
            aoresteen
        • bookmarking...

          Just don't get upset when someone laughs in your face
          and demonstrates that You Know Nothing, Schultz.

          Bookmarking your own post is one thing. But don't try
          putting words in somebody's mouth and say that you
          agree when that somebody didn't say it.

          As usual, Non-Zealot, you're trolling again.
          Vulpinemac
    • They aren't subject

      Apple is not considered a monopoly legally, so they are not subject to anti-trust laws.

      You are also confusing the concept of purchasing an item and purchasing a license. If one purchases a computer, they are allowed to do whatever they want with that computer. But the software is not "sold," it is licensed, meaning that the author of the software retains certain rights and privilages relating thereto. You have not paid for the right to "own" the software, you've paid for the right to use it. Kind of like renting, but slightly different. You are legally bound to the EULA until such time as a court decides that the EULA is illegal in some respect, and in this case, by agreeing to the EULA for OSX, you have agreed to not install the OS on any hardware that is non-Apple-labeled.

      In any case - No, at this time, OSX and the distribution model that Apple uses is not illegal. That could change if it all goes to court and it is decided that their methods are not sound. But until that happened, you are mistaken.
      laura.b
      • You can be declared a monopoly after abusing it

        Microsoft was first declared a "monopoly legally" by Judge Jackson in his "findings of fact". At the same time, he found them guilty of abusing said monopoly.

        So yes, Apple could be found to have a monopoly over Mac OS or the Apple hardware, and be found to have abused that monopoly, simeotaneously.

        Note that I personally disagree with this, but since it applied to Microsoft it had better apply to Apple as well. Gotta love precedent.
        PB_z
        • Re: You can be declared a monopoly after abusing it

          [i]So yes, Apple could be found to have a monopoly over Mac OS or the Apple hardware...[/i]

          That would make everybody a monopolist. It's like saying Time Warner has a monopoly on CNN. Well, yes, but it doesn't have a monopoly on cable news and that's the important thing.

          OSX has, what? I dunno... let's say 20 percent desktop market share. It's pretty hard to call that a monopoly and make it stick, even to a judge.






          :)
          none none
          • Bad Analogy...

            [b]That would make everybody a monopolist. It's like saying Time Warner has a monopoly on CNN. Well, yes, but it doesn't have a monopoly on cable news and that's the important thing.[/b]

            This doesn't work as an analogy for a number of reasons.

            CNN is owned by Time Warner - as are a number of other cable networks. As it is, CNN (and the other networks are available to other cable and satellite providers. This would make them more like Microsoft - they provide many products - i.e. channels.

            TW is also a cable provider, not just a network owner. It operates in 27 states. This would make it sort of like Apple in so far as they make the hardware and software.

            It could only work as a pure analogy to Apple's situation IF TW Cable was the only cable company that was allowed to carry CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, etc, et al, ad nauseum.
            Wolfie2K3
      • I wonder...

        [i]and in this case, by agreeing to the EULA for OSX, you have agreed to not install the OS on any hardware that is non-Apple-labeled.[/i]

        I wonder if I printed a label that said "aPpLe", and stuck it on a case... would that suffice?
        Badgered
        • that was my point

          When I was respoding to Ken I said
          That is not what the EULA says:
          Where you say: "that it only be installed on genuine Apple hardware." That is not correct, the EULA says "(1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at
          a time." So lets say I go out to the Mac Store and paid for a copy of MAC OSX, Now I own a license, I then went home and put a Mac sticker that I got when I purchased my IPod on my computer, Viola a Apple-labeled computer. Isn't that part within the EULA? If they are installing it how I think they are then I can tell you that it works and works good, a $500 windows machine can work just as well if not better then a $2000 Mac Pro. Quartz extreme support and all.
          NoThomas
          • Re: that was my point

            [i]So lets say I go out to the Mac Store and paid for a copy of MAC OSX, Now I own a license, I then went home and put a Mac sticker that I got when I purchased my IPod on my computer...[/i]

            That's probably as reliable a legal strategy as having your minor child click the "I Agree" button to claim you did not waive your rights as demanded by the contract terms in the EULA.

            Also, I would check the entire EULA. Often there's a "definitions" section that would spell out exactly what a "Apple labeled computer" is so they don't have to keep repeating it.








            :)
            none none
          • I did check the EULA

            I did not see a section where is spelled out what a "Apple labeled computer" is. I might of overlooked it but i went thru it twice.

            How is it a bad legal strategy of going out and buying the OS?? I own the license and I am not bootlegging it.

            Let me just say that I am not defending them I think they are playing dirty but I dont think the Law is that clear.
            NoThomas
    • It does not matter that it is an OS

      [i]OSX is an OS, they sell it as an OS independently. Thus if they do so, they cannot then say, that it is locked down so that you can ONLY use it with their hardware[/i]

      Why not? What does being an operating system have to do with anything?

      Linux is an operating system whose EULA states I can not SELL it, is that legal?

      A bpook states that it can not be reprinted without permission even if you purchase the book, is that legal?

      Sony created the Betamax, and tape companies had to license the right to manufacture the tapes, as long as Sony held the IP to it no one could "backward engineer" the tapes themselves.

      Is not this the same thing? Apple owns the rights and IP to the hardware and software, they can determine where they get to be used.
      GuidingLight
      • Lights out

        >>Linux is an operating system whose EULA states I can not SELL it, is that legal?

        No that is not what the Linux License agreement says. You can sell Linux just like lots of companies do. It is perfectly legal to do so.

        A bpook states that it can not be reprinted without permission even if you purchase the book, is that legal?

        According to copyright law it is perfectly legal. But you can sell the book whenever you want to. That is legal. Of course according to most EULAs you can't sell software after you've bought (ok leased) it. Is that legal ?

        Maybe if you actually knew something about what you're talking about it would help your questions make more sense. Or maybe your light has just gone out (again).
        Hemlock Stones