First Read

A first take on enterprise IT technology news and events.

Attack on the Psystar Mac Clones

Apple has sued Psystar, a White Box maker selling a $399 Mac clone. Did Psystar really just roll the dice or do they have a trick up their sleeve?


Apple has sued Psystar, a White Box maker that began selling a $399 Mac clone in April, for copyright and software licensing violations.

Apple is also asking a court to order Miami-based Psystar to "recall all such products sold to the public as a result of Psystar's infringement of Apple's copyrights," according to the suit filed July 3 in U.S. District Court for Northern California in San Francisco.

InformationWeek's Paul McDougall, writes that "It's not immediately clear whether Psystar could legally compel its customers to return their systems. But the clones may not be of much use for long if Psystar is forced out of business and is unable to support them." Psystar has been selling its Open Mac, an Intel-based system running Apple's Mac OS X Leopard, since April. It is comparable to a $949 Mac Mini desktop.

Psystar also announced a line of servers, a market in which Apple is just beginning to make headway.

Apple briefly allowed Mac clones in the 1990s, but Steve Jobs' tenure at the helm has seen a program against the White Box builders making clones, writes Jason Mick at Daily Tech.

The real trouble here is the pre-installed Leopard. Apple wants a strangle hold on its hardware and intends to keep it. They claim Psystar was loading the OS without a license, which I would suspect is the case, as Apple wouldn't give it away in a manner that would allow the $399 price tag.

I can't imagine what Psystar was thinking, but they knew this was coming. Did it really just roll the dice? Or does it have a trick up its sleeve?