How the Psystar lawsuit might go very, very wrong… for Apple

The general feeling is that when (or even if) Psystar meets Apple in court, Apple will rip out Psystar’s fluid-spurting spine in what in dry legal terminology might be described as a Mortal Kombat style fatality. But CNet’s Don Reisinger brings up an excellent point: if Apple fudges their lawsuit even a little, they might open the door on countless other cheap Mac clones flooding the market.

If Apple gets everything it asks for and totally ruins Psystar, it will never need to worry about an unknown firm trying to sell Mac OS X again. The legal battle will be enough to send small companies packing and Apple will make Psystar just another example of what can happen to a small organization when it tries to stand up to a monster.

But if it doesn’t get everything it asks for and it’s forced to concede some points and the court orders Psystar to pay Apple some sort of licensing fee, Apple will have stepped on a bee’s nest.

In one fell swoop, other companies will realize that they will be able to get away with selling Mac OS X on their own brand of computers and use the precedent of the Psystar case to their advantage if and when they face legal action from Apple.

In the process, these companies will crop up and start selling Mac OS X-based computers and instead of trying to deal with one company, Apple will be forced to play games with dozens.

It would be interesting to see how Apple might react to that worst-case scenario. A return to a proprietary CPU architecture, perhaps?

Apple must win its case against Psystar — or else [CNet]

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8 Responses to How the Psystar lawsuit might go very, very wrong… for Apple

  1. Camillo Miller says:

    Well, to be precise, it would be a Mortal Kombat’s Sub Zero style fatality.

    I’m quite sure Tim Cook’s got an harpoon hidden in his wrist and he’s ready to use it against that Robert dude at psystar. Come Here!

    Reality Distortion Field should be considered as a “Friendship” final move, though.

  2. Ryanwoofs says:

    Or, as in the Mac clone fiasco in the mid-nineties, clones can cannibalize your own sales.

    I’m of a mixed opinion on the clone issue. I’ve been using/selling/supporting Macs for over 15 years now, and I enjoy their current design aesthetic. I even grok the “whole computer experience” Apple packages up with their hardware and software integration.

    But I think there’s now room in Apple’s market for a computer that offers more flexibility than the Mini or iMacs, for people that don’t need or can’t afford all 8 cores of Mac Pro power.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Proprietary CPU architecture? huh? motorola 680×0, powerPC; both off the shelf CPUs that other vendors use(d). Yes, there were proprietary ROMs, but they still use them; its just easier to hack around them nowadays.

  4. cuvtixo says:

    Actually Apple sued the pants off the biggest IIe cloner, the Franklin Computer Company, increased market share or not.
    Deeply ingrained in Steve J and in Apple Inc, is the example from the IBM PC and M$. Compaq and others cloned the IBM PC, and then M$ took over what should have been IBM’s PC hardware AND PC OS monopoly. When IBM tried to come back with OS/2, they were slammed.
    Although the innards of OSX are “Open Source,” notice Apple isn’t actively supporting the Darwin community and support for projects like X11 is lagging. They keep pretty tight reigns on the OS.
    I don’t think “companies will crop up” even if they can get licenses. Apple can squelch such companies by other means as well. Jobs can call his friend Bill on advice about this.

  5. Anonymous says:

    and this is terrible because as the apple ][ showed, clones will make your market share grow…

  6. BoydWaters says:

    I maintain a bunch of MacPorts. I think Apple helps where they can, but they are kinda busy these days. Apple has had an open position for an engineer to coordinate open-source parts of the OS X distribution for more than a year.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Apple has never used a proprietary CPU architecture. There were multiple PowerPC vendors, just as there are multiple x86 vendors. Even back in the Apple II days, there were Apple machines that used 16 bit extended clones of the 6502.

  8. fenrox says:

    Oh man, screw apple. I believe it was in this blog that you showed that a clone is JUST AS GOOD, for more than HALF the price!?

    I like pretty cases too but sometimes I like to eat and have a good computer.

    Shame on apple for trying to halt innovation for money. (yes I know that they are a company in a capitalist society, but bad is still bad.)

    Open source is the future where poor and rich can share.

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