Apple Makes an Example of Psystar

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-12-03 Print this article Print

5. Apple views itself as a hardware company

At the same time, Apple realizes it's a hardware company. It doesn't want to get in the business of selling software and being forced to maintain it as more malicious hackers take aim at it. Steve Jobs knows that his company is so successful today because of hardware sales. To simply forgo that revenue for the sake of software just doesn't make any sense.

6. Apple won't allow another Psystar

As I mentioned, Apple had several options for how it wanted to handle Psystar. But by suing the company, seeking damages, and ensuring that the interloper is effectively crippled, Apple has proven that it doesn't plan to allow another Psystar to crop up. In the small chance that one such company does start offering Mac OS X-based machines, you can bet Apple will follow the same strategy. An alive and well Psystar was simply not an option for Apple.

7. Apple is a premium brand

Apple also believes that it can make far more money by selling Mac OS X-based computers exclusively than getting a piece of sales derived from other Mac OS X-based machines. Apple can control its brand, which to this point, is widely considered a "premium" offering. By allowing the market to become diluted with other Mac OS X machines, it's likely that Apple will lose that luxury. The last thing Apple wants is another company damaging its brand's identity.

8. Choice is not
an option for Apple

Following that, Apple has no interest in giving consumers the option to choose among multiple Mac OS X-based computer vendors. Quite the contrary, Apple has shown that it is quite content to remain the sole producer of Mac computers. From a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Why take on competition when you don't need to? But from a consumer's perspective, that's a little troubling. Having the option to pick what kind of computer would run my Mac OS X installation would be ideal. And it would likely cause Apple to improve its hardware more rapidly than it has in the past. But that wasn't Apple's goal. Its decision to take out Psystar was for purely business reasons.

9. Apple
made an example of Psystar

Apple isn't content to simply stop Psystar from selling Mac OS X-based machines. Instead, the company wants to make it as a damaging to the small vendor as possible. Consider the fact that Apple is now seeking millions of dollars in damages- an amount that could be extremely difficult for such a small company to come up with. Apple also set out to demonstrate that any other company even considering selling Mac OS X computers will face a firestorm legal action to ensure that it is unlikely to happen again any time soon.

10. Apple knew Psystar never had a chance

In the end, it's likely that Apple knew from the beginning that Psystar never had a chance to win its battle. The company's End User License Agreement is iron-clad; Psystar's practices were suspect; and the small vendor didn't have the money nor the quality of lawyers to outlast Apple. Psystar simply couldn't hold the high ground in its battle with Apple. And Steve Jobs and his legal team capitalized on Psystar's untenable legal position.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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