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Apple Files Suit Against Psystar 805

Posted by kdawson
from the grind-exceeding-fine dept.
Reader The other A.N. Other, among others, alerts us to the news that Apple has filed suit against Psystar, the unauthorized clonemaker. (We've been discussing Psystar from the start.) The suit alleges violation of Apple's shrink wrap license and trademarks, and also copyright infringement. News of the lawsuit, filed on July 3, first surfaced on a legal blog. There's speculation that the case has been sealed.
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Apple Files Suit Against Psystar

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  • Competition Killer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Harold Halloway (1047486) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:27PM (#24200305)

    But it's Apple, so it's OK.

  • by Hyppy (74366) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:27PM (#24200313)
    Apple is and always has been a hardware company. They fear competition on the hardware front, because that's their primary business product: overpriced "luxury" computers. (cue the fanboy bashings)
  • by tulmad (25666) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:27PM (#24200319)

    I was thinking the same thing, but Apple might have waited until they were sure they could win the suit.

  • gasp! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:31PM (#24200387)
    apple can't compete? where are all those who howl about how apple is a better company now?
  • Wake up people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:31PM (#24200389)

    Apple is exactly what Microsoft would be if Bill Gate's father wasn't already a wealthy man. Do you think that Jobs or Gates are very much different?

    One interesting note, however, Apple uses the courts as an offensive mechanism more often than Microsoft. Microsoft tends to bombard problems with cash projectiles until resistance is bought off. Apple sues you for even talking about them.

    All multi-national corporations suck.

  • by tinkerghost (944862) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:31PM (#24200395) Homepage

    Without the clause in the EULA that you will only run the OS on a genuine MAC, there is nothing here. So I guess we get to see just how far a shrink wrap EULA will go in the court. I'm not entirely certain that this is a good case for it, but it's not one of the worst.

    Unfortunately, the 9th Circuit just ruled for Blizzard in their interpretation of a EULA violation negating the validity of license of legally purchased software & CA is in the 9th Circuit.

  • a boy can dream (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jtroutman (121577) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:32PM (#24200397)

    Wouldn't it be nice if they fought this? If they said, hey, we bought your software, we can install it on whatever we want. And then, in my imaginary world, a judge sees their point of view and rules that once you purchase a piece of software, it's yours to do with as you please.

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:33PM (#24200433) Homepage Journal

    How so? Apple has probably had its legal department looking at this from day one. They also knew that they'd have to wait some period of time so as to not seem overly litigious -- after all, Apple positions its product as 'different' and itself as a 'different kind of company'.

    In any respect, they had to have time to examine Psystar and the clones and then to formulate their legal strategy. Sound legal strategies are not often created overnight.

  • And then, in my imaginary world, a judge sees their point of view and rules that once you purchase a piece of software, it's yours to do with as you please.

    The OpenMoko article is just below this one. Enjoy ^_^

  • Re:Wake up people (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['nga' in gap]> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:38PM (#24200529) Homepage Journal

    Wake up to what?

    Few people have any illusions that Apple is "not evil" in some sense that makes them different from any other company.

    But this case has nothing to do with being evil or being good.

    Apple and Microsoft have a completely different set of business models. It's not just that they're smaller, the whole revenue model is radically different: Apple makes their money from hardware sales. This is probably the biggest reason that Apple's still in business: they're not fighting Microsoft on Microsoft's playing field.

    Anyway, they have to sell hardware to do that. So they license the software in a way that drives hardware sales. So they kind of don't have an alternative: go up against Microsoft when death is on the line, or sue someone who's blatantly violating your license.

  • Come on, now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:40PM (#24200561)

    That's like saying Rolls Royce is no more expensive than the equivalently specced $OTHER_BRAND.

    When you include the maple wood trim, leather seats, huge engine, ... it all works out about the same.

    Kind of silly, isn't it.

    Now, what the point IS is that nowadays you can buy a crappy little CPU, some memory and an old graphics card and have PLENTY of horsepower for what you need to do.

    And Apple don't make one of them.

    So Apple are expensive. Because they don't do the cheaper end.

    No reason why they can't, they just don't.

  • by Budenny (888916) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:42PM (#24200607)

    Common fallacious argument.

    It does not matter whether you can duplicate a Mac for less. What matters is, after you have settled on a spec you want, or found a Dell or HP you want, can you duplicate that for the same price from the Apple product line?

    95% of the time you can't. This is what makes Apple a rip-off.

    It would only matter that you could not duplicate a Mac cheaper, if the Mac spec were the starting point for shopping. It very rarely is.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:45PM (#24200657) Homepage

    ...except the kicker is that I don't have to buy Apple's idea of a
    quad core system in order to get an effective quad core system.

    Instead of the only bundle that Apple is willing to sell me, I can
    get the mini equivalent of a Quad Core system.

  • Go ahead and spec out a similar machine from Dell, HP, or Lenovo.

    Last time I did that I was able to put together a machine comparable to a Mac Mini for about 50% of the price, and a Macbook for about 70% of the price. On average, the "Mac Tax" seems to be about 40% of the list price of a Mac.

    I still bought the Mac mini and the Macbook Pro (thought that was tough, I could have gotten everything I actually wanted (hardware-wise) from a Macbook Pro for about the same price as the Macbook). When the choice is Windows vs UNIX-with-actual-applications, the Mac Tax is worth it. But it's still real.

  • Re:Come on, now (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:47PM (#24200711) Homepage

    ...except there is none of that maple wood trim in an Apple.

    The Apple is quite literally all of the innards of a Ford put into a prettier body style...

  • Apple is and always has been a hardware company.

    Well, that's what Apple and their fans claim. It's never been true, especially now. Proof? How many people buy Apple hardware to NOT run OS/X? (Very few) How many people buy Apple hardware solely to RUN OS/X? (Almost all of them) How successful would Apple be if they chose to simply become just another Windows PC company, and REALLY depended on their hardware? (Somewhat successful, but their prices would have to drop significantly)

    And finally, how successful would OS/X be if Apple sold it as software for any platform, Microsoft-style? It would be earth-shakingly successful, probably garnering 50% marketshare within one year. And probably making 10x more money than they do now.

  • by east coast (590680) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:51PM (#24200785)
    "Coveted spot in the home computing world?" Care to expand on that?

    Do I really have to? Seriously?

    Let's face some real facts about Apple. Their spot in the home computing world comes largely from the cool facade that they've, literally, built for themselves. Apple has gone well out of it's way to force an image on the public. This image works for them because it appeals to people who think that computing is somehow not "fun" if it's not done on an Apple. Their commercials are some of the biggest misrepresentations of technology this side of Comcast it's not even funny. They've created fake problems for the consumer public to laugh about in an attempt to sway them from the PC/MS market.

    Or do you think that those commercials are an accurate display of the Mac vs. PC world? If you do than you've been fooled by one of the great showmen of our times.
  • by fpgaprogrammer (1086859) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:52PM (#24200835) Homepage
    you better order one now before an Apple-filed injunction is approved... not only will you get a cheap & better mac clone, you'll also give them the cash they need for their legal fun. better act fast!
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:53PM (#24200845) Homepage Journal
    What kills me is that you're stuck with the crappy 1280x800 screen on every Macbook until you get to the outrageously expensive Macbook Pros. Even my >2 year old $600 Inspiron 6000 has a 1680x1050 display on it. I can't go back, but I don't want to pay $2,800 for a laptop either.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:54PM (#24200889) Homepage

    Well, this whole case is about "lack of options".

    Just read the plaintiffs own advertising copy.

  • Re:Demand for OS X (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WK2 (1072560) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:56PM (#24200903) Homepage

    [Apple has] the exclusive right to distribute [their] OS. As they should ... Now some small fry entrepreneur is ... selling PCs with OS X loaded on them. Despite the overwhelming legal precedent against them (I don't know of any official retailer that has gotten away with installing pirated versions of Windows on commodity PCs...

    You seem to be confusing Psystar's behavior with piracy. They pay for their copies of OS X. Apple doesn't have a discount distribution center for their OS (for obvious reasons), so Psystar pays full retail price for each copy of OS X that they sell, and they use their right-of-first-sale rights to then resell that copy to their customers.

    Yesterday Slashdot had a story about how it was judged that loading software in RAM is equivalent to distributing software. Psystar is loading it onto the HDD, so this ruling might be different. Of course, you could argue that Psystar is then distributing the HDD, but as mentioned before, right-of-first-sale gives them this right without the need for a license.

    It's been a while, but I really hope for a sane copyright-related ruling this time. I'm not holding my breath.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:57PM (#24200911)

    You put together a MacMini for 50% of the price? There's only two companies out there I'm aware of that offer similar sized machines. Asus sell the eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeBox, but it's a lot lower specced, and AOpen's mini PC, which I admit is a better deal, but it's no where near 50% of the price. My guess is that you forgot that being 6" by 6" by 2" and silent is a very very valuable feature.

  • by aitikin (909209) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:57PM (#24200913)

    They also knew that they'd have to wait some period of time so as to not seem overly litigious...

    Yeah, because Apple never sues [macobserver.com] anyone.

    Seriously, just Google "Apple Sues" and you'll find about eight million hits.

  • by nsayer (86181) <nsayer.kfu@com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:57PM (#24200921) Homepage

    When the North won the U.S. Civil War, they pointedly said that the federal government would not redeem confederate currency, nor pay any confederate debts. Apple's pretty much taking the same line, and the reason is pretty obvious: If Apple were to make nice, it would encourage purchases from the next huckster that tries to sell Apple clones.

  • by revscat (35618) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:57PM (#24200937) Journal

    I fail to see the controversy.

    Apple, for business reasons all their own, has chosen not to structure their licenses such that 3rd parties can sell systems that come with OS X pre-installed without Apple's approval. There are plenty of operating systems around with licenses that do permit this. If Apple had a monopoloy on operating systems this would be a different beast. They do not; competition is ripe, and heating up.

    Further, this situation seems analogous to one in which some third-party decided to make their own PS3 clones, unapproved of by Sony. The PS3 is Sony's property, to do with as they see fit. Suing this PS3 clone maker into oblivion would be wholly justified. Apple is no different.

    So what's the big deal?

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @02:59PM (#24200963)

    Er. Apple is a) a very small player in a market locked up by Microsoft (for OSs), and b) just one of many players in the home computer hardware market. By tying their hardware so firmly to the OS, they aren't so much killing competition as denying themselves extra sales of the OS.

    I'm all for holding Apple to account for their licensing policies, but hyperbole doesn't help.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {werdnaredne}> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:01PM (#24200995) Homepage Journal

    Apple is the same company who has repeatedly sent threatening legal letters to teenage bloggers and such. They also clearly violated their deal with Apple records, and then went on the legal offensive like they were victims.

    Apple certainly isn't afraid to use their lawyers. My guess is that they wanted Pystar to make some profits to the lawsuit would make financial sense.

  • Re:Demand for OS X (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nsayer (86181) <nsayer.kfu@com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:01PM (#24201001) Homepage

    Much of Apple's success is due to the fact that they have what is IMNHO by far the best consumer OS on the planet. They have the exclusive right to distribute that OS.

    Copyright law certainly grants them the exclusive right to the first sale.

    The sole issue for debate is whether or not someone is allowed to buy a boxed copy of Leopard from Amazon and then do with it what they like, including run it on "unauthorized" hardware.

    Apple's EULA says "no," but it is far from legally certain that that EULA is worth the pixels it's printed on.

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:02PM (#24201013)

    People feeling ripped off is what makes Apple a rip-off. If you're happy with your Mac, and feel you got good value for it, you haven't been ripped off. If you're unhappy with your Windows/PC, and want a Mac to replace it, but can't find one with comparable specs, don't buy one and you won't be ripped off.

  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:06PM (#24201093)

    What they lack are the super cheap entry level disposable junk...They do lack a moderate price expandable tower

    So, hardware-wise, they only sell high end stuff. The thing with the high end is that you start getting diminishing returns. I build moderate towers for half what the high end computers would cost and get 75% of the performance at least, although often it's closer to 80% or 90%. From what I've seen, macs tend to fall later on the curve than I (and most people I know) like to hit, after the performance-per-dollar starts declining.

    Of course, that's just my opinion, many people prefer to buy there, and for them macs are just fine.

  • by revscat (35618) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:07PM (#24201113) Journal

    If it's all marketing then why does Apple have the highest consumer satisfaction rates in the entire industry?

    If their products were crap, or even equivalent, consumers would not speak so highly of them, for so long after their purchases.

  • by timholman (71886) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:08PM (#24201145)

    ...and I want it for a purely selfish reason.

    One of the great pleasures of using OS X is that Apple's linking of hardware to software eliminates the activation crap that Microsoft puts its users through. As far as I'm concerned Windows 2K was the last usable Microsoft OS. XP's activation process is infuriating, because it makes you jump through so many hoops to transfer the license from one machine to another. And Vista? Don't make me laugh.

    If companies like Psystar destroy Apple's hardware revenues, and force it to become a pure-play software vendor, Apple will add the same activation garbage to OS 10.6 and beyond. And if that happens, I will curse every crap-box manufacturer like Psystar for causing it.

  • by I'm not really here (1304615) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:15PM (#24201279)
    Because they remove any reference to negative comments, ignore upset customers, and generally sweep it all under the rug. Don't get me wrong, I like a good Mac, but their willingness to admit to being wrong or to having build buggy code is really non-existent.
  • by Proteus (1926) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:16PM (#24201307) Homepage Journal

    I know the Slashdot hordes like to bitch and moan about EULAs -- not without cause, mind you -- but the EULA violation in this case might as well be a footnote.

    If all Psystar had done was violate the EULA clause that said "hey, you won't do anything to make this run on non-Apple hardware", then this case would be about how enforceable that clause is.

    Unfortunately, Psystar did much more egregious things than violate a silly EULA term. They, by their own public admission, modified a copyright-protected work, then redistributed these modifications without a license to do so. And they did it for commercial purposes, no less. Even under the traditional terms of copyright (as opposed to the mutilated corporate-serving terms we have now), that's just not cricket.

    On top of that copyright infringement, they also noodle-headedly used at least one Apple trademark (the "Leopard" name and mark) to promote the sale of hardware and software.

    I will be absolutely stunned if Apple doesn't prevail on the Copyright and Trademark parts of their case, though I do hope that the judge will find that a license to run software on a particular kind of hardware is not binding.

    (Not a lawyer, this isn't advice -- I do know a thing or two about the law)

  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:17PM (#24201311)

    I dunno if you've noticed or not, but Apple is the most arrogant company in computing. They will do the stupidest thing imaginable for a long, long time, before finally changing their ways and admitting that it was a bad idea. Look at how long it took them to drop the hockey puck mouse. Look at how long it took them to realize that they should make a mouse with more than one buttons. Look at how they still aren't making a real two-button mouse. Look at how long it took them to get with the program, and get on the same processor architecture as the rest of the world had been on for years.

    Apple may one day sell OS X on other companies' hardware, but that point is years off, if it ever arrives, due to Apple's sheer overwhelming arrogance.

  • You put together a MacMini for 50% of the price? There's only two companies out there I'm aware of that offer similar sized machines.

    I specced a functionally equivalent machine, and even gave Apple a break by not including the cost of the external hard drive case, external powered USB hub, and power strip that made the total size of the Mac mini solution pretty much the same as the low profile desktop, but I *did* count the firewire card in the cost of the PC!

    I am not counting "styling" (including the size of the Mac mini, the smooth white case on the Macbook, etc). Just function. Styling too often has negative value (eg, the Mac mini doesn't even provide enough power from USB to charge an iPod Shuffle).

  • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:18PM (#24201341)

    Or do you think that those commercials are an accurate display of the Mac vs. PC world?

    Define accuracy? I'm no Apple fan, but I do find their commercials to be "funny because it's true". Not "true" as in, always, but true as in we've all been there at some point or know someone who has.

  • by m0rph3us0 (549631) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:19PM (#24201353)

    Because their products are highly targeted and because most of what they are selling is branding. Tiger has similarly annoying issues as Vista. I had a mac laptop for about 2 years and I found that I spent 70% of my time in Parallels using Server 2003.

    If a gamer bought a Mac he would be highly unsatisfied as it doesn't play games. Apple doesn't have to, nor does a lot of things Windows does.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:24PM (#24201441)

    You can't discuss consumer satisfaction rates without discussing who the consumers are and what they want.

    You could argue that a sailing boat has higher consumer satisfaction rates than a submarine and conclude that the sailing boat is the more advanced product.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:25PM (#24201457)

    While the commercials don't accurately display the computing industry in general, they do qualify as fair satire in my book. Apple isn't in the market of accurately depicting the state of personal computing--they are in the market of making money.

    The satire works because there is a bit of truth in the stereotypes portrayed in the commercials that EVERYONE can relate to.

    I whole-heartedly dismiss any claim of Apple's current success on any sort of "cool facade". If anything, their success comes from making outrageous claims against the competitor, promising a better solution, then delivering on those promises (for the most part..not for everyone, but for MOST people who give it a shot). No amount of "cool" is sustainable without first having a quality product.

  • by Hyppy (74366) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:28PM (#24201499)

    Apple: I'm not going to sell you this software unless you agree to only run it on Genuine Apple hardware.

    Customer: okay, I agree.

    I think you got that out of order.

    Salesperson: Here you go!
    Customer: Thanks! (opens shrink wrap, starts install, reads EULA)
    Customer: I want to return this opened product because I do not agree to the terms of the EULA.
    Salesperson: fsck you.

  • by revscat (35618) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:30PM (#24201539) Journal

    So it's a conspiracy. All those 3rd party market survey companies, they're in on the whole thing.

    Ok then. Can't argue with that

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:30PM (#24201543)
    For once I'd like to see a mature rebuttal against the current successful state of Macintosh that doesn't have to revert to the term "fanboi". If you can do that, I'd give your arguments credit. Until then, your insistence on using "fanboi" shows that you have no real credibility behind your otherwise immature claims.
  • Re:Demand for OS X (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:31PM (#24201559)

    They have the exclusive right to distribute that OS. ... Normally, I'm against harsh "intellectual property" laws, but this is Apple's investment in a huge competitive advantage, and they've earned it.

    Psystar buys legal copies OS X to ship with its units.

    Apple tolerates a few hackers jumping through hoops to get it running on commodity PCs, as long as that means they lose maybe 0.1% of their potential customers.

    Actually, they are losing far more than that. I won't buy a Mac because they won't make one with the specs and form factor I want. I'm interested in an 'imac tower', and a 12" macbook with a decent video card, gps, and a cellular data option. (I'd gladly give up the internal cdrom for an express card slot. I'd also be interested in a tablet-mac... and the axiotron is pretty sweet, but it would be even better if using the stylus was optional, the price wasn't so high, and the little hiccups like auto-rotating the screen based on orientation were worked out.

    My other big wish list for OSX is virtualization. I'd pay $350-400 (up two twice the retail price for OSX) for a copy that I could legally run in VMWare on non-apple hardware.(Yes I know leopard server allows for virtualization, but only on apple hardware [which I don't like], and it costs $500.)

    Despite the overwhelming legal precedent against them (I don't know of any official retailer that has gotten away with installing pirated versions of Windows on commodity PCs), they figure it's worth the risk.

    What legal precendent. No one has -ever- done anything like this before. Pirated copies of windows are not remotely in the same category as legally purchased copies of os x.

    If they argue that they paid for every shrink-wrapped copy of OS X, then they stand a moderately better chance of succeeding.

    There's no "if" about it.

    The -only- question is whether or not the eula that requires the os be run on apple brand hardware will stick or not.

    And its a VERY complicated question.

    On apple's side:

    They have the EULA in place that clearly forbids it. That sure beats trying to deal with this on pure copyright.

    They have a dubious legal precedent in the blizzard case that suggests that violating an eula makes an in computer, or even in RAM copy an unauthorized copy.

    They also have the DMCA which can come into play with its protection of 'technical measures'. After all, Apple, doesn't just have the EULA, the code actually tries to check the hardware, and the psystar people have to defeat it to install OSX. This itself may be illegal.

    On Psystar's side:

    we have first sale doctrine - they bought OSX. They can do what they want with it, including resell it. There was an ebay related case against the makers of autocad I think over this... someone was selling used copies of autocad, and the courts ruled this was legal under first sale, despite autocad's protestation that it was against the EULA. (This is also potentially a counter precedent to the blizzard one too... as it ruled the first sale doctrine rights couldn't be stripped by the shrink wrapped EULA.)

    We also have an exception in the DMCA that provides for deafeating copyright measures for interoperability. Clearly Psystar could argue that they only modified OSX to make it interoperate with the non-apple hardware. There is a printer related precedent that might come into play, where some printer manufacturer tried to prevent a competitor from releasing replacement ink via a DMCA lawsuit, and lost, because the competitor had reverse engineered the printer software to figure out how to get their cartridges to 'interoperate' with the printer. This is particularly salient because it shows the DMCA interoperation clause being successfully used in a case where the OEM specifically sought to prevent interoperation... indeed the entire point of the drm was to lock out competition. -- And they lost.

    Psystar also potentially can continue to operate simply by ceasin

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:34PM (#24201603) Homepage

    They've created fake problems for the consumer public to laugh about in an attempt to sway them from the PC/MS market.

    If the problems were fake, why would people laugh about those problems? For example, if they made a commercial about how Windows machines were awful because they didn't have enough programs/peripherals available, people wouldn't laugh along with the commercial. If anything, they'd laugh *at* the commercial because it would be nonsense, and the ad wouldn't work.

    But make an ad about how overzealous UAC is in Vista [youtube.com], and you'll get a chuckle out of people. It's funny because it's true.

    Apple has extremely high customer loyalty because they're focussed primarily on the "user experience". When you take a step back and look at how poorly most hardware/software is designed, it's easy to poke fun. Hell, you could poke fun at some of Apple's design choices if you wanted to ("If I wanted roasted nuts, I would have bought some Planters peanuts, not a laptop!" badum-ching!). But you can't reasonably say Apple is "creating fake problems".

  • by Crizp (216129) <chris@eveley.net> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:38PM (#24201695) Homepage

    I think the rating comes from the excellent support department they have, worldwide, which they can afford due to their high markup on items. Apple products are more expensive for a reason, not just because they can.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:40PM (#24201711)

    I don't think they're really after any money that Pystar may have made from their sales. Sure they'll sue Pystar for tens of millions of dollars, but I don't think it's really about that. To Apple their brand image is worth more to them than any small amount of money that Pystar has possibly made over the last few months.

    My best guess is that the only reason that they took this long is that they were curious to see exactly how many units Pystar could ship over a certain period of time. The sales data would obviously be brought up during the trial so that Apple could "determine potential losses" to determine how much they should get from the lawsuit.

    This sales data gives them so insight into how a similarly configured Mac computer would do in the market without having to actually spend the time designing one or marketing it. The only fees they incur are legal fees, but they're already paying their lawyers just to be there, regardless if they're wasting time on stupid court cases or not. Or perhaps they're interested in gauging how much interest there would be in licensing their OS (not that they ever would, but they might just be curious in having that information) to a generic PC vendor.

    Unless their legal team was overly busy back when Pystar first opened shop, I can't think of any other good reason for them taking so long to take legal action other than having a passive interest in how the results of their business would turn out. They let them run free for long enough to get some good data, but now they're blowing the whistle and probably going to put the company out of business since they probably don't want everyone and their grandmother setting up something similar.

  • by z80kid (711852) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:46PM (#24201813)
    I like Apple.

    But I hope they lose this one. It would be nice to see some reasonable legal limits on these damn click-wrap licenses.

    But at the same time, I'm not sure I would by a clone. I don't see anything that would legally obligate Apple to keep clones in mind when they upgrade MacOs. But I do see incentives to break compatibility.

    So I wouldn't count on being able to get OS updates for a Psystar in the future.

    All the same, if you paid for a copy of MacOs, you should be able to do as you damn well please with it.

  • by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:49PM (#24201865)

    If it's all marketing then why does Apple have the highest consumer satisfaction rates in the entire industry?

    If their products were crap, or even equivalent, consumers would not speak so highly of them, for so long after their purchases.

    So you would think. But, a couple things play against that.

    1. Customers *expect* that an Apple will be a different experience than, say, a Windows machine. As a result, they're expectations are already geared towards, "This is going to be a good experience." As a result, they are more likely to have a good experience.

    2. Face it - Apple products are expensive. Another psychological response that people have is that once they invest into something, they are more likely to stick with that something (and argue for that something) no matter how bad it is. So, it may be that someone spends $2000 on a new Mac, they have high expectations, they take it home and don't really like using it. However, they can't admit that because that means they made a bad decision. Hence...Macs are always awesome.

    I know it sounds stupid. I thought so too until I read through the studies and performed some of my own in my work.

    Never underestimate the power of someone to convince themselves of something if they don't want to be wrong or stupid.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:52PM (#24201923)

    Their commercials are some of the biggest misrepresentations of technology this side of Comcast it's not even funny. They've created fake problems for the consumer public to laugh about in an attempt to sway them from the PC/MS market.

    All of them are fake problems? Which one of these is not a real problem: [wikipedia.org]

    • Accident: PC in a body cast explains how his laptop got injured when someone tripped over his power cord. Mac points out new Apple notebooks have a magnetic quick release power cord.
    • Breakthrough: Mac and a counselor try to explain to PC that some of his Vista hardware compatibility issues are caused by having many different manufacturers and this is not his fault.
    • Choose a Vista: PC is confused about which of the 6 versions of Vista he should pick and has to use a wheel.
    • Computer Cart: Various PCs are plagued with cryptic error messages like "Fatal Error" and error "692".
    • Security: A bodyguard constantly asks PC to authorize every action he takes. References UAC.
    • Surgery: PC explains he might need some surgery (upgrades) in order to run Vista and is worried about it.
    • Trust Mac: PC in a eyeglasses and fake mustache tries to hide from spyware.
    • Viruses: PC is infected with a new virus and asks Mac to stay away.

    Sure some of them are a bit outlandish, but they are based some grain of truth otherwise they wouldn't be funny.

  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:53PM (#24201943) Journal

    Perhaps fanboyism is a major part of their consumer market success. I've yet to see anything as nice as Final Cut Pro on Windows. Nothing from Avid, Pinnacle, or anyone else comes close. The color matching between a Mac with a good monitor and print output makes any Adobe or other graphics software a much better value proposition on a Mac than on a Windows PC. The stock sound system on a Mac is superior to what you get with most PCs. As a media creation workstation, I'd say a Mac is far superior to a Windows PC. It's no SGI, but it doesn't carry the even higher premium, either. The professional market might have a trickle-down effect to simple fanboys, but many home Mac customers also use one at the office.

    I prefer Linux for my work, as I'm mostly kept busy as a software developer with choice of platform and Linux is very nice for that. I do most of my gaming on Windows, and my accountant uses Windows because our chosen software only works (well, anyway) there. I have two used Macs, one with Linux and one with OS X. The OS X one is around for when I need to do some intense graphics work, as that's the platform for that. Some of my simpler stuff gets done on Linux or Windows, but tougher graphics stuff is on a Mac or outsourced to someone. Most of the people to whom I outsource graphics work also use primarily Macs for that.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:53PM (#24201949) Homepage Journal

    This image works for them because it appeals to people who think that computing is somehow not "fun" if it's not done on an Apple.

    You need to get out of the basement more. In the real world, Apple has lots of fans because their stuff works better than the alternatives for a lot of people. For example, my wife has no love for computers in general, but a whole lot of love for her 6 year old iMac. When it dies, nothing but another Mac will even be considered.

    She's seen my KDE desktop and thought it was pretty but too geeky. She hates Vista that came on a laptop we bought. Her Mac is just about perfect for her, though.

    Apparently Apple understands something about making people like their products that you do not.

  • by Gewalt (1200451) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @03:59PM (#24202051)
    +1 insightful *does not mean* "I agree with you"
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:02PM (#24202115)

    I dunno if you've noticed or not, but Apple is the most arrogant company in computing. They will do the stupidest thing imaginable for a long, long time, before finally changing their ways and admitting that it was a bad idea. Look at how long it took them to drop the hockey puck mouse.

    A year or so? That was an ergonomic problem to be sure.

    Look at how long it took them to realize that they should make a mouse with more than one buttons.

    They SHIPPED with a one button mouse for a while. But all along, they have supported multiple buttons on mice. Even now the user has to turn on the second button, so it's not like they changed as much as you think they have.

    Apple simply tries to ship with what they consider to be the best configuration for the user buying that system. There's no arrogance in that, as long as the user is easily able to make other choices that are better for them. Even the first OS X allowed you to hook up a Logitech USB mouse with any number of buttons.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:02PM (#24202127) Homepage
    Computer Cart: Various PCs are plagued with cryptic error messages like "Fatal Error" and error "692".

    Because an anthropomorphic bomb is so much more informative.

    Choose a Vista: PC is confused about which of the 6 versions of Vista he should pick and has to use a wheel.

    Yes, "Home" and "Business" are such enigmatic choices.

    Surgery: PC explains he might need some surgery (upgrades) in order to run Vista and is worried about it.

    You are actually asserting that nobody ever had to upgrade a mac in order to use the latest operating system?
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:10PM (#24202271)

    My company is evaluating moving over to mac book pros. We have put 25 of them into use and are tracking their rate of hardware failure against the 200 Dell Latitudes we have in play. Guess what- the mac books experience hardware failures 6x as often. Its not like there is one mac mac book pro either, MOST of them have had issues, including replacements.

    Gee, funny how several different independent testing companies have completely the opposite results you do. Now who should I trust to accurately and impartially test equipment, Muadib or Consumer Reports... it's such a tough call.

    Dell has come a long way with their laptops over the last year, from below average to one of the most reliable. They still are below average for desktops. And Apple, well they've been at the top for relaibility rates for years now. Buying Apple hardware can be problematic since their selection is small compared to all the PC vendors combined and for end users you'll end up paying for features you don't want (or don't think you want anyway). That said, they make some of the most reliable hardware you can buy.

  • by raynet (51803) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:12PM (#24202309) Homepage

    Yeah, they are only gonna kill any other company that tries to sell Mac compatibles. I'd call that much WORSE.

  • Re:a boy can dream (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheQuantumShift (175338) <monkeyknifefight@internationalwaters.com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:16PM (#24202393) Homepage

    So we can ignore Apple and Microsoft's licenses because we don't like them, but if anyone even thinks about subverting the GPL, fire up the pot of boiling oil? Awesome.

    Personally I believe the choice has to be made by the individual, not the courts. Enough people start reading EULA's and asking uncomfortable questions at retail, and we may see better licenses, or even more use of free software. Of course that would require everyone be educated about software licensing, and have their brains rewired from a lifetime of marketing exposure...

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:16PM (#24202399) Homepage
    If it's all marketing then why does Apple have the highest consumer satisfaction rates in the entire industry?

    Because they're the only industry player who doesn't have significant competition in their sector, and therefore is the only player who isn't faced with razor-thin margins that force them to cut things like customer support?
  • by Thaelon (250687) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:17PM (#24202405)

    Image.

    Apple has managed to conceptually sell the idea that owning apple products makes you better than someone who doesn't. And now they're literally selling it to you.

    Most people this shallow have more money than sense (it overlaps with the SUV demographic) and thus will simply buy replacements when one breaks rather than filling out customer satisfaction surveys about the interaction with apple customer support that they didn't have.

    But I believe in the company's ability to extract money from these people, which is why I own Apple stock. ;)

    That's at least part of it. Who is more likely to fill out a survey? The customer that's a rabid fanboi getting a chance to express his undying love for the company that he throws wads of cash at? Or the one who is pissed off because their ipod just broke? Yes, I kinda slanted the questions a bit, but you get the idea.

    Don't misunderstand me, I'm not an anti-fanboy either. I'm simply rational, skeptical, and less susceptible to marketing than your average person.

    I have a shuffle that I use at the gym almost daily. For a gym-music machine it's very hard to beat. Tiny, lightweight, clips on, stays out of the way, and plays music. Coupled with a pair of the cheapest, lightest, banded in-ear headphones I could find it's the perfect gym music player.

    Oh, I did I forget to mention that the first shuffle broke within days? And nearly deafened me with its death scream? So as a customer, I'm pretty neutral myself. Sure, they overnighted me a replacement before I even shipped mine off, but I would have rather have one that worked the first time and didn't hurt my eardrums when it died.

    So this particular customer is a little negative. Removing iPod download was reprehensible. And I've had two out of three ipods break. But they didn't give me a survey. And I probably wouldn't waste my time filling it out if they did.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:18PM (#24202425)

    Even so, I would give my left nut for Apple to lose this lawsuit.

    Why? So Apple implements restrictive DRM and registration instead of using an EULA? Even were Pystar would win, all it would do is force Apple to make OS X worse for end users to protect their revenue.

    Complain about MS all you want...

    Thanks, I will. MS has destroyed the desktop OS market and that is the only reason Apple makes money bundling a desktop OS with hardware. Otherwise, they'd make more money selling them separately. The best solution in my mind is to fix the root cause of this and hundreds of other problems. Break up MS into at least two companies both of which have the rights to Windows. You'll get real competition and real innovation in Windows again, and consumers will have choices. If Apple wants to compete in such a market, they'll pretty much have to license OS X to other OEMs.

    ...the fact it is impossible to build a Leopard computer on your own just Screams dictatorship.

    Actually, it screams "monopoly" but the kind granted by the state, as in a monopoly on duplication granted by copyright. I'd be the first to say our copyright laws need reform, but this is not specific to Apple.

  • by torkus (1133985) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:31PM (#24202631)

    This is nothing more than another case of a company sueing to protect the business model they feel entitled to continued/endless profit from.

    Psystar could still sell computers if apple didn't exist. They could sell them blank, with windows, with linux (oh wait, what is MacOS again?!). How is Apple killing the clone market any different than printer mfgs putting a extremely simple 'encryption' chip in their toners to use the DMCA against after-market toner mfgs?

    And to imply that Apple needs hardware sales to survive is silly. MS makes the vast majority of it's profit off MS Office and MS Windows. Both have versions that will run on virtually any platform (remember the old PPC NT builds? ). They don't sell computers.

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @04:35PM (#24202713) Homepage Journal

    Not to mention that Apple sues web sites that show rumors and news on Apple products. Part of the reason why Apple sued them, was to stop all of the news and rumors on defective Apple technology like laptop batteries that caught on fire, flaws in OSX, cracks in Mac cases, and poor customer support, etc. Once Apple sues all critics into oblivion, there can be no more negative reviews on Apple products.

  • by sloth jr (88200) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:09PM (#24203287)

    NeXTStep was available for standard Intel boxen. It went nowhere.

  • by I'm not really here (1304615) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:12PM (#24203337)
    Wow... talk about putting words in my mouth. I really hate when people do that.

    I never once said a word about Microsoft and most certainly did not say anything positive about them. I use Microsoft only because it is required at my job. I'd switch to a flavor of *nix at home, but I have family to consider (my wife is not comfortable with it, and I want to maintain our network and servers for both our benefit, not just my hacking wishes).

    Also, I have read the Mac forums, and have kept up on the comments that suddenly vanish because a person actually reported a serious bug. I've seen frustrated users repeatedly post bug reports due to their post suddenly vanishing without comment, and I've seen Apple remove those posts and then present nothing but denials that there are any issues being covered up.

    No company is perfect, and these are obviously fringe cases, but the facts remain.

    They look so clean because they work so hard to look clean. They white wash the issues to make that 5-10% of disgruntled customers disappear from their public image.

    Microsoft simply sues people into oblivion to ensure that no matter how crappy their software is, they still make money.

    Linux has many of its own issues, such as driver problems, so many versions as to make one's head spin, and a small number of rude but vocal people on forums telling people to shut up and stop posting their n00b questions to the forum (not a great welcome to my friends who are trying it out for the first time, even though I understand the forum users' frustration).

    So to recap:
    - Don't put words in others' mouths.
    - All OS's and all companies have problems, just different problems, and anyone who is a fanboi for anything just because they like it has no ability to think critically.

    So Mac does it better than the rest... so what. They still whitewash their image to try and look as squeaky clean as they can while still putting out stuff that may not be over priced, but sure isn't competitively priced either. Meh. It's life. Get over it.
  • Re:a boy can dream (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @05:29PM (#24203653) Homepage

    Thank you. I think this is something that is all too often overlooked here.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @06:49PM (#24204911)

    If Apple made a "non folding" desktop Mac, your analogy might actually make some sense.

    My analogy makes perfect sense. Dahon doesn't make non-folding bikes. Apple doesn't make a low-end consumer tower. Buying a specialty product that costs extra money because it is engineered to be compact and trying to change it into a different product and compare that is just dumb. If you want to compare the prices of the mini to other ultra compact systems, go ahead, but they do very well in such a comparison.

  • by yoris (776276) on Tuesday July 15, 2008 @09:57PM (#24207111)
    well, you may not be a lawyer, but this is probably the most enlightening and insightful (not to mention most on-topic) comment in the entire thread. too bad we have to scroll through an entire page of fanboyish discussions to get to it :-) Tip of the hat to you, sir.
  • by arminw (717974) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @01:32AM (#24208669)

    ...the PC is still the winner when it comes to how much you can do with it for the price....

    Baloney! Try this:

    Get a video camera (say a Sony) with say a 20-40 minute video you or a friend made. Plug this camera into your computer. Most likely you won't find a place to connect it, because most video cameras use firewire.

    Now edit this video down to exactly 10 minutes, adding a few transitions, titles and a few effects. Then produce a DVD with Titles and Chapters. After that convert your magnum opus and upload it to youtube for all the world to enjoy.

    The conditions though for all that is that you may not buy or download any extra software, but must only use the PC as you get it from the manufacturer.

    Any Mac, even the inexpensive mini will do all that OUT OF THE BOX.

    Of course, if you are only a consumer, rather than at times a creator of content, you would not care about all this.

  • by mmeister (862972) on Wednesday July 16, 2008 @02:05AM (#24208835)

    I assume you also just buy the upgrades of Creative Suite and Office even though you've never owned those before. After all you paid for something, so you should be able to do as you damn will please.

    The retail box is an UPGRADE. Now, perhaps if folks don't mind paying $300-$400 for a FULL RETAIL COPY, then Apple might consider selling it to you w/o regards to you already having Mac OS on your machine.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly

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