Psystar is Counter-Suing. Do they Have a Case?

has been bucking the system by selling a PC that will run Windows, Linux and (gasp!) software. of course sued Psystar for doing this. Now Psystar has come back with a counter suit claiming Monopoly. Do they have a leg to stand on?

Apple had it’s share of clones throughout the years. From Apple II to the machines that would emulate a Power PC to Leopard, which runs on an Intel chip. Back then it was acceptable to clone the machine. You needed a special ROM to do it and the only way to get that ROM was to go through Apple anyway.

Steve Jobs ended that practice in 1995. Since then, people have still tried to find ways to put Apple software on other machines. So when Psystar entered the market with this concept, it gave all those who didn’t have $2400 a chance to run Apple software.

Apple sent a to Psystar last month. Now, Psystar has come back with their own suit claiming that Apple is making their software “Anticompetitive”. If Psystar wins, it opens up a new door where the PC could see a Apple OS.

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The End User License Agreement (EULA) in Apple Leopard states:

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.

Of course, putting Apple software on PC’s has been documented well before Psystar came to play. OSX86 is a project that helps you make your own hackintosh. However, Psystar was the first to make a PC combo with OSX.

So are we talking Monopolization? That’s where the lines are fuzzy. Apple is not a monopoly to begin with – you can choose between Apple, Windows or Linux.  The only difference with the three is that Apple software can only be on Apple hardware.

Should Apple be suing Psystar? I can see both sides of this, but the big issue is that the software has to be “fixed” to run on a PC. I am not a laywer, nor do I play one on television. Apple does have the right to say people cannot mux up the code.

So Psystar should discontinue selling the OSX machines? That will be for the courts to decide. It is sad that Apple has to continually say that the ball is theirs and you can’t take it out of their playground. It’s also understandable.

With Windows, you can put it on most hardware – even an Apple product. Because of that, Windows has to account for the unknown variable. Since Apple makes the hardware, it doesn’t have to worry about incompatibility from an unknown 3rd party just getting into the market.

Even if Psystar closes shop, it doesn’t mean the end of OSX on a PC. The reality is people will do it for personal satisfaction if not for a functional Leopard system at a part of the price.

If Apple really wants to curb the problem, they should simply drop the price of the computers. At least make one that is scalable and under $800. People might then buy an Apple instead of looking for an alternative.

Apple does have a right to what they create. However it might be more important that Apple is still a big minority in todays computer market. The more people you can convert to Mac, the better. Unfortuneately, they haven’t done a great job with it.

As for the lawsuit, we’ll have to wait to see what a judge decides. If Apple wins, you might not see Psystar and maybe not even the OSX86 project anymore. However, if Psystar wins….

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