Does Psystar have a legit argument in Apple countersuit?

Does Psystar have a legit argument in Apple countersuit?

Summary: Somewhere in the news coverage of Psystar's countersuit against Apple today, I was reminded of the car analogy I use to help friends and family understand how to buy a computer.Under the hood of a car, everything is the same.

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Somewhere in the news coverage of Psystar's countersuit against Apple today, I was reminded of the car analogy I use to help friends and family understand how to buy a computer.

Under the hood of a car, everything is the same. There's an engine, transmission, battery and some spark plus, belts and hoses. It doesn't matter if the car is a Mercedes Benz or a Kia. All cars (at least in the pre-hybrid days) worked the same. The major differences were found in the upgrades - more powerful engines, performance handling designs, enhanced safety features and so on. Even the leather seats, power windows and in-car navigation systems are upgrades. That's why some cars cost more - and often times, perform better - than others.

Take that concept and translate it to the personal computer. Motherboard, processor, hard drive, video card, RAM and so on - they're all in there, regardless of whether the box says Dell, HP, Sony or even Apple. That's not to say that all chips and video cards are the same. Some components are faster and more powerful than others. That's why you'll see performance PCs souped up for gamers priced higher than a $500 eMachine at Wal-Mart - just like you'll see Toyota Yaris priced significantly lower than the top-of-the line BMW X5.

And, with the right components and the technical know-how, anyone could build one. I've seen dozens of homemade PCs in Silicon Valley homes and have even purchased some RAM and an internal optical drive off the shelf at Fry's Electronics. And who's to say I can't build a machine at sell it at my own price?  That's basically what Michael Dell did out of his dorm room back in the 80s to start what would later become Dell, Inc., one of the top PC makers in the world.

That's why I sort of understand where Rudy Pedraza, president and co-founder of Psystar, is coming from when he talks about his suit-countersuit legal battle with Apple. "It's not that people don't want to use Mac OS X, but they're not open to spending an exorbitant amount of money for something that's essentially generic hardware," Pedraza said.

Last month, Apple filed suit against the Miami-based company, alleging copyright infringement, trademark infringement, breach of contract, unfair competition and more after Psystar began selling Mac clones - basically white box computers running Apple's Mac OS X operating system. Apple alleges that OpenComputer runs “modified unauthorized version of the Leopard operating system.” Psystar denies that allegation.

Apple's complaint against Psystar also notes that Apple has never authorized Psystar to install, use or sell the Mac OS software on any non-Apple-labeled hardware. That's the part that has Pedraza fighting back. As for the authorization to sell Mac clones cheaper, Psystar acknowledges that Apple makes a good operating system and Psystar wants to bring it to the masses. But, no one should have to pay "exorbitant" prices for it.

Apple's end-user licensing agreement (EULA) is clear on prohibiting the installation of Mac OS X on a non-Apple machine. Psystar attorney Colby Springer says that amounts to "restraint of trade," one of the allegations that he wants a court to chime in on. As part of its countersuit, Psystar is asking the court to void the licensing agreement.

In the past, courts have shown interest in antitrust cases that allege "tying," such as Microsoft's tying of the IE browser to the Windows operating system. At the time, a large piece of the argument against Microsoft was its market share. Windows was then - and still is - the dominant player in computer software, by far. Apple has no where near the penetration that Microsoft has with Windows, though it is starting to gain share. Though not related, Apple also has been involved in other potential class-action suits over "tying," these involving the link between the iPod and Apple's iTunes Music store.

I don't know that Psystar has the legal legs to stand on in its countersuit and experts warned earlier this year that if Apple is victorious, it could put Psystar out of business. On the other hand, what impact might it have on Apple if the courts rule in favor of Psystar and set a precedent on the matter of "tying?" I guess we'll have to wait and see how the courts rule.

Apple also alleges that Psystar is doing it harm by selling an inferior product - one that makes noises, has problems with video signals, and breaks down - and linking it to the Apple brand name. When a non-Apple company is selling a Mac clone for half the price of what you would pay in an Apple store, the consumer has to pause and ask himself what risks he's taking by buying from someone other than the source. Sure, that could come into play in the court proceedings but, until then, I can't help but think of what my dad - and probably what the wise man of every family - would often say: "You get what you pay for."

Topics: Windows, Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software

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412 comments
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  • Apple

    If Apple wants to grow they need to open up their OS. After using Apple computer for few weeks I realize why people choose Windows over Apple inspite of the issues like system-hang, slower wakeup/sleep, etc. Opening up would resolve such issues by itself.

    cheers...
    spranav@...
    • Re: Apple

      It's not so much people choose Microsoft* (not to be
      confused with Windows) over Apple isn't because they
      don't have an "open" OS. Its that many developers create
      their programs to run on Windows and in the end it turns
      out to be much to difficult to port to Mac OSX. The lack of
      availability in games is really the only deficit that Apple has
      to Microsoft, of course not taking into account that you can
      in fact run Windows on any Mac running Leopard. You can
      have Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc. You can
      access any website just as you would on a PC. The only
      real differences are that Mac's just work, you do in fact get
      what you pay for, whether that be the 99.9% seamless
      operation of the OS or the plain old easy to use GUI. Of
      course i don't need to do all the talking, the Mac
      commercials can do it for me.

      Have a nice day.
      zachyzissou
      • And you pay...

        Yes, and you get to pay a -premium- price for that monopoly OS. Good day.
        RpDnn
        • pay?

          OMG grow a brain and go look at real world numbers on
          comparable machines. Yes a mac is not one of those
          cheap pieces of crap that you buy for $300. You get what
          you pay for. A case in point is my Dual 1GH Power G4 Mac
          I bought almost 6 years ago. I still use the thing. I have
          had 0 problems with it! It just plain continues to work.
          You can not say that about PCs. Heck you can't install
          Vista on a PC from that age. My G4 runs Leopard. Also
          the thing has held its value better than a PC. If you want
          to buy one of these machines it will cost you $600 from a
          vendore. Want to venture a guess as to why? They hold
          their value because once a person has it they place a high
          value on it.

          So that you undestand this. My family has gone through
          many PC's many that I have built myself out of top of the
          line parts. They have all come and gone... the G4 is still
          chuggin.

          If you don't want a mac that is fine... but just quit spouting
          your lies about MAC's being over priced. That line is just
          plain tired and a bold faced LIE.
          jahrends
          • Since we're on a no-lie policy

            How about you stop lying yourself with statements such as:
            [i]I have had 0 problems with it! It just plain continues to work. [b]You can not say that about PCs[/b][/i]

            You offered your own experience with your PCs to support your claim that your Mac still works after 6 years. Well, I have a PC from 6 years ago that runs WinXP and it also "just works." So your suggestion that Macs are better because they just work and WinPCs are inferior because they supposedly DON'T work is quite inane.
            tikigawd
          • inane? is what your reply sounds like

            Dude is right, I have been buying and using computers
            since my first Commodore 64 with a tape drive.

            I have owned many computers, Apple, Apple ll , MAC,

            Windows, Name brands and clones, (PC clones) built my
            own computers, bought retail, bought wholesale, and on
            and on.

            MAC puts every single Windows computer in the dust.
            period.

            It is the most reliable, when you say it works, what you
            mean is that when you buy a new digital camera, you plug
            it into a MAC and it works, ( DUH, are you from floriduh)

            Not so with a windows, computer, what took me 5 min on
            my MAC took me two days on the windows computer,
            trying to get a USB driver to work so that the windows
            computer could recognize that a digital camera was
            connected to it,

            That is not bull it is fact, so yes when we say it just works,
            that is what we mean, no hassle, no trying to find the right
            driver, no trying to hold windows hand and tell it where a
            device is located so you can load up a driver that may or
            many not work,

            I say it like I see it, if you owned a MAC you would see it
            too, but you dont own a MAC, so the grapes are sour?

            Funny, grow a brain indeed.
            Tim Franklin
          • lol

            Wow you must be some sort of extremely retarded person if you take 2 days to work a camera on a PC, which is probably why you switched to a Mac.

            There was this video advertising Macs, but to me it just made Mac users look retarded, which is why they switch to Mac. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tq7yykR-DM

            Lol "I just couldn't find the off button", "iMovie, that's what they do in Hollywood", "I like the simplicity, and...uhh...the sophistication". Those are only a few examples of what a lot of Mac users are like.

            So stop saying that a Mac just works and a PC doesn't. A PC does "just work" if you know how to use it. But you are probably too retarded to configure a PC which is why you changed to a Mac. When an idiot is born every second, no wonder Apple is thriving. Just because you are too retarded to use Windows doesn't mean Windows sucks. I have Vista and have absolutely no trouble with it at all. The only time I ever got a blue screen was when I put in conflicting RAM into my PC, but that was fixed after I took out the conflicting RAM. Everything works fine and it never crashes.
            zomgguy
          • sophisticated

            Nice that people manage to resort the "stupid" idea again,
            is there anything else to say past that, really
            "sophisticated" argument. I use windows XP, Ubuntu, and
            Mac, i recently moved to mac which is something i consider
            a good choice.

            I move because the platform is now getting better than
            widows in leaps and bounds, every time windows releases
            a system they release one better, or at least with features
            that are well worth the choice - i firmly believe that it is
            the little things that make a difference in an operating
            system, and windows likes to make something flashy in
            big steps, apple make something that works, with big
            improvements and little improvements that attract you to
            what is good in the system - and this ultimately putts
            them in a better light that windows in my opinion
            ibook4113
          • Arghhhh !!!

            Then I supopse Mac's are for low knowledge users. I prefere controling my PC. It does what I want. Nothing is done "automaticly".
            I guess it's all a question of intelligence, curiosity and adventure. That's my case and I am having good fun. What I learn I pass on to the users. I'm a helper. My experience is precious.
            I WORK with my computer!
            End line : Mac's are to expensif for my wallet, thank you PC's to permit me to be part on the "computer" world!
            Best regards
            DGBB
            AlienInfos
          • Guys..guys. Look there is nothing wrong with

            enjoying the tinkering. However there is nothing wrong
            with just wanting and using a tool. So "IF" you like to
            tinker sure get a Windows or Linux PC. However don't
            slam those of use who just want to unpack their computer
            and sit in front of it and do some work and or play. Again
            there is nothing wrong with the idea of building a hammer
            to allow you to build a house. However there is nothing
            wrong simply buying a hammer to build your house. You
            might save money with the hammer kit I suppose and if
            you value that again fine. Me I think my time is better
            spent in other area's of my life... take napping for
            example..heh heh heh. Yet I don't know of any study that
            has proven either method superior to the other.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • I ditched my mac...

            ...because it NEVER just worked. Ever. Office 2008 was a prettier, faster, more crippled version of 2007, and that's been the definition of Apple for 20 years. They got rid of Woz and everything has sucked since.

            What the heck kind of camera do you have? I've never plugged ANYTHING in to my pc that it didn't pick up. Vista picks up friggin' 10 year old scanners for god sakes. Oh wait... it didn't pick the iTouch up the first time. I had to install iTunes first. Who makes a product that tells Windows it's a scanner when it's an mp3 player? Apple. Well. They must be savants to understand the logic there.
            evilkillerwhale@...
          • @evilkillerwhale....... Riiiiggggghhhhhhhttttttt

            I've been in the desktop support/repair business since the
            very start of the PC business. Before even IBM got into the
            act. We are talking CP/M. Now I've never in all my years
            hear of a Mac experience like you claim. So I have to think
            you are well pulling our collective legs here. Nice try.

            You should try your hand at some sci fi or other fiction
            writing.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • You are compelling

            [i]It is the most reliable, when you say it works, what you mean is that when you buy a new digital camera, you plug it into a MAC and it works, ( DUH, are you from floriduh)[/i]

            Funny, my camera just works when I plug it into my PC!

            No, I'm not from Florida. You?


            [i]Not so with a windows, computer, what took me 5 min on my MAC took me two days on the windows computer, trying to get a USB driver to work so that the windows computer could recognize that a digital camera was connected to it[/i]

            Hmm, it sounds like you're not very proficient in Windows. Yeah, you should stick with your Mac.


            [i]That is not bull it is fact, so yes when we say it just works, that is what we mean, no hassle, no trying to find the right driver, no trying to hold windows hand and tell it where a device is located so you can load up a driver that may or many not work[/i]

            Oh well, since YOU say it's not bull, then it must NOT BE!! How can ANYONE think anything else if YOU say it's no bull?!


            [i]I say it like I see it, if you owned a MAC you would see it too, but you dont own a MAC, so the grapes are sour?[/i]

            And said it you have!
            BTW, it's spelled "Mac." It's not an acronym.

            I'll be over here with my... uh... sour grapes. :'(
            tikigawd
          • I have an extra VX1000

            I'd like to see how fast you can make that run on a Mac. Just in case you didn't know, it is made for MS, they don't have Apple or Linux drivers. Now I can do a workaround in Linux, but I don't think you can in Apple.
            mjolnar@...
          • I 100% agree with you

            Well my OLD NON-MAC computers are working very well. I use M$ products and things are steady. Even the slowest. Man I just don't understand the FALSE comments I read around here. Too many liers in the world.
            Not more to say but this : our world is full of liers and even our gouverments. So be careful when you affirme something. Be responsable of your words!
            Amiti?s
            DGBB
            AlienInfos
          • tiki, my man, give it up!

            On a one-for-one basis, your supposedly perfectly-
            running PC running for 6 years may be an exception
            rather than the rule. When you compare percentage of
            all Macs vs all PCs of 6 years age or older, I would
            expect that there is a far higher percentage of Macs
            still operating smoothly and without issues than there
            are PCs doing the same.

            I personally built my own PCs back in the 90's,
            operating them beside my Macs over the years. In
            1999 I bought my first G3 iMac to replace my old
            68030 Performa model. Beside it sat a 750Mhz PC I
            built using Asus motherboard and AMD processor
            (when AMD was more a power in the x86 world.) The
            PC was about a year old at the time. I kept that iMac
            for 5 years, only upgrading the RAM once to keep it
            current. Admittedly, the power supply finally died and
            rather than attempt to replace the PS, I replaced the
            computer itself with a G4 Mac Mini.

            The PC was rebuilt twice during that time, upgrading
            the processor once and flat replacing the motherboard
            a second time during that same 5 year period, making
            effectively a new machine. I didn't do the upgrades to
            the PC because I 'wanted' to, but rather I needed the
            increased capabilities to run the software I needed for
            my business. Before the iMac power supply died, I built
            myself an all-new PC, again using AMD processors )1.7
            Ghz) and installing 2GB of RAM. I bought a new
            monitor to work with it, relegating the old monitor to
            the Mini when I bought it.

            The PC has been permanently retired. The Mini is now
            serving flawlessly as a DVR and I am now running an
            iMac Extreme with dual monitors. In almost 10 years I
            have run 3 Macs, two of which are running perfectly vs
            no PCs whatsoever. I no longer [i]need[/i] Windows to
            do my work and spend next to no time having to
            maintain, debug or run scans for malware. My time is
            my own and my business has seen the improvement in
            quantity and quality of work done.

            Yes, there may be a few older PCs running out there; I
            personally know of one, still running Win 98. But only
            one. On the other hand, I personally know of at least 4
            68K Macs and even more PowerPC Macs still running
            as well as when they were built.

            The odds are against you.
            Vulpinemac
          • PERCENTAGE?!?!?!?!?

            That's totally a fair comparison. All 4 macs built in 2002 still work, but of the 10 billion pc's, half had probblems! Oh Mac MUST be better since 50% of Windows machines failed!

            What a stupid comment.

            Neil Boortz still uses Windows 3.1.1. In his radio station. I still have a perfectly running 3.1 machine, a 95 machine, a 98 machine, and many others. I have NEVER had a computer fail, excluding the hard drive after years of daily use. And that was in a laptop from 1998 that died (And was repaired) in the past couple years.

            You're ridiculous. I repair pc's in spare time, and I still get 98 machines in. I NEVER get OS 8 or before in. I've only seen OS 9 once in the past 6 years. Mac users usually go to the new operating system because it still does nothing and will run on their old hardware, then want to bash windows because it takes over a million lines of code to do everything windows does.

            How NAIVE you are. Go sit in your hidey-hole with your tin foil cap and keep talking about global warming you nutjob.
            evilkillerwhale@...
          • Interesting. Putting words in my mouth, are you?

            Let's tear this down piece by piece.

            [i]That's totally a fair comparison. All 4 macs built in
            2002 still work, but of the 10 billion pc's, half had
            probblems! Oh Mac MUST be better since 50% of
            Windows machines failed![/i]
            Since you absolutely must use numbers, allow me to
            reiterate that in 10 years for me, effectively 100% of the
            PCs failed in one way or another while only 25% of the
            Macs failed. And I'm only one person. When comparing
            total numbers and looking at a percentage of each
            platform, I would guess that less than 20% of 6-year-
            old or older PCs are still running anywhere near
            flawlessly; and none of them are running Vista while
            the remaining functional Macs in my household are
            running Leopard with the exception of one G3 iBook
            running Tiger.

            [i]Neil Boortz still uses Windows 3.1.1. In his radio
            station. I still have a perfectly running 3.1 machine, a
            95 machine, a 98 machine, and many others. I have
            NEVER had a computer fail, excluding the hard drive
            after years of daily use. And that was in a laptop from
            1998 that died (And was repaired) in the past couple
            years. [/i]
            You are a single individual willing to take the time and
            give the effort to maintain your legacy systems. Good
            for you. However, the majority of PC users (unlike the
            majority of people who read and post to this blog)
            don't have the knowledge or skills to do so. When their
            machine dies, they pay someone else to fix it and that
            someone else usually recommends replacement.
            Don't get me wrong, I do know that a lot of corporate
            users still use Win2K... but mostly on newer hardware,
            being cheaper to replace dying hardware than it is to
            repair after a certain amount of time. There are
            exceptions, but the percentages are still in the Mac's
            favor.

            [i]You're ridiculous. I repair pc's in spare time, and I
            still get 98 machines in. I NEVER get OS 8 or before in.
            I've only seen OS 9 once in the past 6 years. Mac users
            usually go to the new operating system because it still
            does nothing and will run on their old hardware, then
            want to bash windows because it takes over a million
            lines of code to do everything windows does.[/i]
            Think about what you just said here... [i]"I NEVER get
            OS 8 or before in."[/i] Why? Because it was easy and
            cheap to upgrade to OS9, which would run on almost
            all the older machines that had color capability. Even
            my old 68030 Mac Performa ran OS9 before I retired it.
            I sold the Performa to a young couple as an
            educational machine for their 5-yr-old child who was
            happily playing games on it within days.
            I, too, used to repair PCs. I, too, only had one Mac
            customer at the time while I had several Windows
            customers running from 98 up through XP. I spent far,
            far more time resolving issues on the Windows boxes
            than I ever spent on the old Mac. Some of my PC
            customers were so regular I could set my calendar by
            them, whereas the Mac customer only called on me
            once or twice a year, usually do to a mistake made in
            saving files and being unable to find them.

            As for your [i]"Mac users usually go to the new
            operating system because it still does nothing and will
            run on their old hardware, then want to bash windows
            because it takes over a million lines of code to do
            everything windows does,"[/i] this only proves you
            know very little about the Mac. Windows is no more
            compact than OS X and is probably much, much more
            bloated. It has already been proven more than once
            that underneath Vista still lies legacy NT code and
            under that still resides the old DOS from the 80's. OS X
            has none of the legacy MacOS code whatsoever, though
            I admit that UNIX is both older and more powerful than
            the NT code. OS X can and does do anything that
            Windows can do. It just does them differently and
            usually more efficiently. How else can you explain two
            matched systems running Photoshop side by side with
            the Mac usually finishing the process visibly before the
            Windows machine? Photoshop has been the benchmark
            of choice for a long time as a practical demonstration
            of comparative speeds; the Mac has regularly proven its
            capabilities.

            [i]How NAIVE you are. Go sit in your hidey-hole with
            your tin foil cap and keep talking about global warming
            you nutjob.[/i]
            And this, my friend, along with all the other
            namecalling you've done, proves you speak more from
            emotion than from real knowledge.
            Vulpinemac
          • Get what you pay for... sometimes.

            You built PC's out of top of the line parts but they failed you heh? Sounds like an Apple spokesperson there. Alot of Macs are now built using standard Intel based parts. If you check around enough you'll also find out Macs are built in the same Chinese assembly plants that most large PC companies use. Just about every computer company outsources its manufacturing now. They can't afford not to, especially if they consume less then 20% of marketshare. I'm sorry if this offends you because you think I'm attacking Apple. In reality this should offend you because China is attacking our jobs and economy, and companies like Apple are helping them. Also, every Mac fan screams about "just working". But if the software you need to use isn't avaliable on OSX, then it doesn't very well "work" does it. Point is, it may be what you need, but it may not be what everyone needs. After all, if it really suited everyone perfectly... it would have long since been the sole system now wouldn't it?

            Another thing, OSX is based heavily on FreeBSD. I know personaly that you can freely download distros of Linux that look and "just work" as Apple claims. Yet Apple charges not only for an OS that was free in the first place, but to upgrade existing hardware with the "new" OS. This makes them a software company in my book.

            If Apple had to make Mac OSX work on every computer out there... it have as many problems as Microsoft. If Microsoft focused only on one system... your biased if you assume it could never be as stable. However if MS did that... suddenly its anti-trust. But if Apple does it... its because they are a "hardware" company.
            ShadowGIATL
          • Pure ignorance

            [i]"Alot of Macs are now built using standard Intel based parts. If you check around enough you'll also find out Macs are built in the same Chinese assembly plants that most large PC companies use. Just about every computer company outsources its manufacturing now."[/i]

            Mac's are built using Intel?s top of the line processors... Recently other manufacturers have been complaining that they cannot get these from intel because Apple purchased them all and they have an extremely long waiting list to get them. (Dell was just one of the many companies that made this complaint).

            Apple builds their Macs using the highest end parts they can get. Apple designs, engineers, and manufactures their own logic boards.. aka mother boards... Each logic board is engineered for optimal performance for the super high-end components that will be attached to it. No other company does that because they simply cannot. Apple Memory is the best that Crucial makes, anything they reject is sold as Crucial branded Ram. And the Cruicial branded ram is extremely good, but only the best batches that Crucial makes are bought entirely by Apple and sent to the assembly line...

            Which leads us to our next point... Apple's assembly plant in China... It's owned by Apple... They don't make anything other than Apple products... Macs are NOT built in the "same assembly plants" that everyone else uses. When it comes to quality and ESD control, no one else comes close... Wozniak wrote the book on ESD... Apple is more retentive about ESD control than any other company.

            [i]"Another thing, OSX is based heavily on FreeBSD."[/i]

            OS X 10.0 to 10.4 was loosely based on FreeBSD... It was severely tweaked and locked down... FreeBSD is not and never has been a certified Unix OS. OS X was nowhere near a copy of FreeBSD. OS X 10.5 (leopard) is a fully certified Unix OS (no longer FreeBSD based)... that puts it into a different class entirely... if you don't understand this, then you have some reading to do. Wikipedia is your friend.

            You should also learn what anti-trust actually means. Microsoft is a repeat violator for using mafia like tactics to blackball their competitors out of a market. Apple sells their products the way they choose to sell them, they way they always have. Apple created markets on their own terms. (the wording of that is very specific.) They created markets... they have not flexed their muscle to blackball others from entering those markets. They have continued to conduct business as usual.. as they did from the beginning. Apple has always sold their hardware with their OS....

            Can any trolls out there tell me of a single time where Apple has violated anti-trust laws???

            Didn't think so... And yes, Psystar will loose.



            The main reason that Apple is far superior to winderz PCs is because Apple chooses to retain control of the OS and the hardware. They code and engineer it to be the best it can be ( yeah.. go figure, software optimized for hardware? huh.. who wouddah thunk). The reason that companies in the windows PC arena cannot compete is that they are forced to engineer for maximum compatibility and not for maximum performance.

            So... Can any trolls out there provide one good reason that Apple should consider sacrificing their standard of quality and performance to open their OS to any and all hardware? To open their doors to the plagues of bugs, glitches, esd problems, quality problems, etc. that infest the winders PC arena.

            Yeah... Didn't think so...
            i8thecat