What If Apple Lost Against Psystar?

apple_psystar

I just read about Apple winning the copyright infringement case about Psystar today. If you are not familiar with the Apple vs Psystar case, Psystar is a corporation that believes in open computers. And with this ideal, they sold non-Apple machines with OS X operating systems for a more affordable price. They are the first ever company to commercially distribute Mac clones or Hackintoshes.

Apple filed the lawsuit against Psystar last July 3, 2008. Wow, it’s been more than a year and it’s only now that some sort of finality has been made.

This event has made me wonder, what if Psystar won and installing OS X on non-Apple machines became a norm? How will that affect the sales of Apple laptops and desktops? We all say that Apple is actually selling it’s hardware more than their software that’s why they don’t really care much about their operating system or OS X being pirated (for a lack of better term), but would that change if Psystar won? Would they become more protective and become more like Microsoft?

I find it ironic that you can install Windows on an Apple machine, but you can’t install OS X on a non-Apple Machine. Just makes you wonder.

[ Image courtesy of Image Cave ]

Comments

  1. You said: ‘We all say that Apple is actually selling it’s hardware more than their software that’s why they don’t really care much about their operating system or OS X being pirated…’

    Really?!? We who? Apple is neither a totally hardware or totally software company. It is, however, a company that uses hardware to sell software, and uses software to sell hardware.

    It’s sorta like the zebra. Is it black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

  2. You just don’t get it. Apple is mostly a hardware company that makes the software (mainly its OS) to run on it. Losing against Psystar means it starts losing its hardware sales which it greatly depends on. Microsoft is a software company so it’s obviously willing to sell more and more of its OS to install on any computer.

  3. If Apple had lost, several things would happen. The first one is that the price for retail boxes of Mac OS X would skyrocket – perhaps to $1,000. Customers could buy a clear upgrade version (that is, the disk would check their computer for an ID) would have a lower price (or, more likely, a big rebate). In the end, the price would be high enough that no competitor would use it, anyway, so nothing would change much.

    What WOULD change is that the entire software business would be gutted. IF the court had ruled that EULA was invalid and that first sale applied, all of the following would disappear:

    – No more OEM Pricing for software. OEMs could buy the software and then sell it in the market without it being tied to hardware sales.
    – Site licensing deals would disappear. Some schools are paying as little as $5-10 per license for Windows (and similar amounts for Office). If software licensing restrictions were abolished, they’d buy thousands of copies at $5 and sell them in the market at ‘retail’ prices.
    – DVDs that you purchase could not be restricted to private home use. You could rent or purchase the latest DVD and then charge people to watch it.
    – Pay per view would disappear. You could pay to watch some game and then invite 100 neighbors over at $1 a pop (or nothing, for that matter) which you can’t do under current licensing.
    – Worst case, the market could be flooded with legal $1 copies of software from China. If the court ruled that the customer had purchased the software rather than licensed it (as in the AutoCAD case which was clearly in error), then the purchaser would have the right to do whatever they want – including making unlimited copies.

    Lots more would happen, but, in the end, it had to go the way it did. Any other decision would have decimated the entire software business.

  4. Louis Wheeler says:

    Lia said:
    “I just read about Apple winning the copyright infringement case about Psystar today. If you are not familiar with the Apple vs Psystar case, Psystar is a corporation that believes in open computers. And with this ideal, they sold non-Apple machines with OS X operating systems for a more affordable price. ”

    Psystar would be in its rights if it created its own open operating system, such as Google is doing with the Chrome OS. But Psystar is stealing Apple’s intellectual property to load Mac OSX on their hardware. The courts confirmed that this is what Psystar did. Stealing is against the law.

    “They are the first ever company to commercially distribute Mac clones or Hackintoshes.”

    No, there have been others, but not since Apple moved to Intel processors three years ago. Since the Psystar case was filed, PearC in Germany has followed in stealing Apple’s OS.

    ” Wow, it’s been more than a year and it’s only now that some sort of finality has been made.”

    The courts move slowly. Psystar has done every thing it could to drag this out.

    “This event has made me wonder, what if Psystar won and installing OS X on non-Apple machines became a norm? How will that affect the sales of Apple laptops and desktops? ”

    Someone was paying for Psystar’s legal expenses, since in went into bankruptcy and yet continued its legal cases. I am assuming that other companies waited in the wings to see if Apple lost.

    “We all say that Apple is actually selling it’s hardware more than their software that’s why they don’t really care much about their operating system or OS X being pirated (for a lack of better term),”

    Where would you get this idea? Apple is a hardware company; Mac OSX exists for the purpose of selling Apple hardware. Apple has consistently defended its software. It has merely not chosen to use DRM on Mac OSX. But, that may change.

    “but would that change if Psystar won? Would they become more protective and become more like Microsoft?”

    Apple is already becoming more protective. Mac OSX 10.6.2 blocked the Atom based Net books from operation. Apple, in protecting its rights, will not necessarily become like Microsoft.

    “I find it ironic that you can install Windows on an Apple machine, but you can’t install OS X on a non-Apple Machine. Just makes you wonder.”

    You must have a license from Microsoft to install the Windows OS on a Mackintosh. What is so strange about that? Microsoft doesn’t like its property being stolen either.

  5. With Apple’s purchase of PA Semi last year, they now have the ability (and the motivation) to design proprietary chips for not only the iPhone/iPod, but the Mac. If they want to make it impossible to run Mac OS X on standard Intel hardware, they can simply entangle Mac OS X with their own proprietary chips.

  6. Thomas Paluchniak says:

    Why would you find it strange that you can install Windows on a Mac? First, Apple is a hardware company. Why would Apple care if it’s users install WIndows after they purchased a Mac? You can install Linux as well. Second, why would Microsoft care if Mac users paid full price for a full install of WIndows to install on a Mac? Microsoft is a software company that makes money on software. There are no loser here.

    Psystar was trying to use Apple’s intellectual property to steal sales from Apple. Big difference. Apple makes little money on the OS. It makes it’s money on the hardware.

  7. Doug Petrosky says:

    Could you have typed more and written less? You make few statements and no conclusions on a What If article? Maybe you just wanted us to fill in the gaps.

    I’m not sure if it would be an over all benefit or detriment for the Mac OS environment, I don’t think anyone can know. But I do know that it seems that it is right that Apple be able to control the Mac OS because it does not exist as a standalone OS. The only way to get a license to use the Mac OS is to purchase a Mac. All boxed Mac OS copies are Upgrade versions.

    The bottom line is that Apple makes the Mac OS to help sell hardware.

  8. Moot. What if the imaginary Apple table doesn’t show up on it’s imaginary delivery date? What if the moon was made of green cheese?

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