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Shame on You, Apple – Leave Psystar Alone

Posted by susabelle at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2008

*NOTE: I made a couple slight corrections to highlight the points in this article. I am not siding with Apple nor Psystar. I am siding with the consumer for wanting an Apple machine at a decent price.

Apple finally went for the Psystar Jugular as they not only filed a major lawsuit, but also want “All Open Computers Sold” recalled. Therefore if you bought a Psystar with the OSX 10.5 software on it, you would have to return it to Psystar. Good luck in getting a refund or a replacement machine.

Apple is also going for Triple the amount of damages and a permanent injunction of sales. This move could easily wipe out the small Florida based company.

I cannot believe that Apple is this selfish in the game. I cannot believe that Apple is willing to put another company under for giving consumers an alternative and maybe getting them interested in Apple computers.

It seems more and more relevant that Apple is a money grubbing company. How do you expect to get more than 20% marketshare if you deny the consumer market every time? How do you expect to beat the PC if you are not willing to make it affordable?

CNet has already noted that Apple charges almost three times as much for accessories (like Memory) for their machines then a company like Dell. Yes, you can buy a Mac Mini for $600, but what do you really get? For $600 I can get a usable Windows PC or even a good laptop. The Mac Mini has no real upgrade options (video for example), and if you want to upgrade items like memory, well get out that pocketbook. The Mac Mini doesn’t even come with a mouse or keyboard (it’s only a $5-10 addition in production cost).

The only customizable machine is the Mac Pro for $2800. For $2800, I can equip 8 people with decent PC’s. I can equip 2-4 people with high-end machines.

Maybe Psystar shouldn’t be the ones who need to be sued. Don’t get me wrong here – Psystar was wrong for selling the OS and should be penalized.But did their actions really harm Apple enough for them to go for triple the damage? NO. Not even to set an “Example”.

Say what you want about Intel and Microsoft. At least you know where those snakes are. Apple is posing as the “Friendly Snake” that is just gonna bite you in the…. well… derriere. It’s understandable they want to protect their stuff. But is this really necessary? Even if it might mean a five to ten percent Marketshare increase?

Shame on you Apple. SHAME ON YOU.

10 Comments

  1. From Mark Schneider at 7:34 am on July 16, 2008

    Is anyone surprised at this? Apple’s litigious history includes suing simple bloggers for simply predicting product roll outs, I’m surprised it took this long. I guess they waited for the “damages” to build so they could crush Psystar completely.

  2. From Darryl at 8:40 am on July 16, 2008

    Basically you are saying that it is ok to take copyrighted material, repackage it and make a profit without the copyright holders permission.
    Let’s remove Apple from the equation because clearly, you wish they’d run their business the way you see fit.
    Try it this way……You spend years, months, days and hours developing a specialized application.. Let’s say its’ a Web Page Building Application.
    It is now a core piece of business for you and it generates revenue that allows you to continue development and to branch out into other categories. The Brand you’ve developed is intregal to the identity of your company and you now have a reputation to uphold because you make a quality product and you start to gain some traction in the market because of that quality.
    You’ve set your price and you make your profit but, I wished I could have your product for less. I know of many others that would like to have your product for less.
    I know what I’ll do. I’ll go and get copies of your software, make lots of copies, design a package with my name on it. I’ll be sure to put on the label that it really is your software but, I charge much less for it.
    I do this even though, in your package you’ve specifically state that your software is not to be repackaged and resold. You also state that “If the user does not agree to the terms listed, to not use the software”. (ofcourse you’ve listed paragraph after paragraph of legal gibberish that I’m suppose to read before I can move forward and actually use your product or it will not work.)
    Will it be wrong of you to send your lawyers after me under such a scenario?
    Shame on you if you do.
    I should be able to keep right on selling your years of hard work, without any reprocutions. Because surely this way, your market share will increase.
    Would that be okay?
    I thought not.

  3. From Sean at 10:39 am on July 16, 2008

    Sorry Jeffrey, but you simply miss the point here.

    Apple is protecting it’s intellectual property, and more importantly it’s Brand. I am a CFO of a large ad firm and I can attest to the importance of Branding and the protection of ones property rights.

    Apple’s Brand is nothing like Dell’s or HP’s, neither of which care if they are viewed as a marginalized company selling products produced and developed by the lowest bidder. Apple, on the other hand has a premium Brand and as such needs to protect that Brand from those willing to marginalize it for the sake of profit. If Apple wanted to sell $500 laptops they certainly could do so, but choose not to in order to maintain their premium status and high margins in the process.

    I realize that consumers would love to be able to buy “cheap” Macs, but Apple simply will not allow it because it goes against all they stand for and work so diligently to maintain.

    Psystar broke the law by stealing property that was not theirs to take, and will now pay the consequences.

  4. From Charles at 10:41 am on July 16, 2008

    Jeffrey,

    No, sorry. Shame on you for defending a shady-from-the-start (Google it, please?) company that sold people ordinary PCs together with hacked, illegally-distributed versions of Mac OS X.

    I won’t even comment on the Mac mini part of your argument, since I don’t see how it excuses what amounts to a scam.

    – Charles

  5. From Moeskido at 10:53 am on July 16, 2008

    I cannot believe that Apple is being so selfish as to want to keep making money from its own proprietary work. I cannot believe they’re still fully aware of the disastrous consequences to their business of having tried to license their intellectual property to clone-makers eleven years ago. I cannot believe they’d be so narrowly focused as to refuse to allow their brand to be diluted by reverse-engineered, second-rate commodity imitations.

    I just cannot believe that a successful, publicly-traded company is interested in making money without sharing the fruits of its labor, regardless of the downside to their business. That’s why I’m calling them “money-grubbing.” Because I cannot believe.

  6. From Jon at 12:06 pm on July 16, 2008

    Does the same apply to the PS3 and Wii?

  7. From Jeffrey Powers at 12:15 pm on July 16, 2008

    I feel sorry for the Consumer who bought a Psystar and will most likely not have money nor machine when this is all said and done. I don’t think I said anything about it being OK to steal someone elses’ product. But asking for Triple the damages is not warranted because Apple is not in any financial distress because of it.

    I DID say that if Apple wants more people buying their product, they should learn from this and produce a $600 CUSTOMIZABLE machine with simple items like a keyboard and mouse (which cost what: $5 or less to make?) or contract it out to a company that could do that. Even companies shutter at buying new Macs because of the price (I have gone through this discussion many a time).

    Like I said in the article – Psystar should pay. But not at the expense of the customer.

  8. From Chris at 1:11 pm on July 16, 2008

    Actually, the consumer does have a choice. To buy a Mac or to not buy a Mac and get a PC. No one has a right to a low priced Mac. Period. Apple is a hardware company, and what sets their stuff apart is the integration of software and hardware. That is why it is a premium product. That is how the company stays in business and why it is so profitable off of a 7.5% market share. Apple hasn’t stressed market share in years, but stresses profitability. If you feel that the prices are too high, then go PC. But please, stop with the idea that you are entitled to a bargain priced Mac just because you can get a generic PC for $600.

    As for the consumer, if it looks like too good of a deal, then I am sorry, it might very well be. Buying from Psystar was the equivalent of picking up a brand new Cadillac CTS in a back alley for $10,000 instead of the usual MRSP. And if you bought a stolen car, you don’t think that there might be consequences?

    And as for triple damages, it doesn’t matter what the financial health of Apple is or it will wipe out Psystar. It is to set a precedent and to make sure some other fly-by-night operation reconsiders the consequences of tangling with Apple Legal before trying to rip off Apple’s intellectual property.

  9. From Ralph at 1:29 pm on July 16, 2008

    Jeffrey,

    Somehow I think you’d feel completely different if Psystar was peddling YOUR software and YOUR computers on the cheap.

    Your argument is absolutely juvenile in it’s simplicity and ignorance.

    Psystar is going to get what’s coming to them. What they’ve been doing isn’t much different than selling fake Rolex watches on eBay for $50.

    …Maybe you should take up that cause instead. After all, using your warped logic, for the price of ONE Rolex ‘Presidential,’ You could outfit HUNDREDS of people with perfectly good watches that “Take a Lickin’ and keep on Tickin’!”

  10. From John Knights at 1:37 pm on July 16, 2008

    Psystar should never have entered into this arena, pure and simple. The mac and it’s operating system are well understood to be wholly proprietary and very, very protected.

    There are plenty of open, licensed operating systems out there so I can only imagine the reason they took this route was to crack a growing market that is potentially highly profitable, which unfortunately the PC hardware market is not for upstarts.

    The loser is the consumer so perhaps Apple would take a view that the people who bought Psystar machines really want to own a mac but cannot afford the machine they want. With this in mind I wonder if they could work out a way to get those people a machine that legally runs OS X for a minimal extra outlay (while surrendering their existing machine of course), that way perhaps everybody would be happy.

    But far from being the bad guys in this Apple are only doing what any company should do to protect their property and nobody can blame them for that. There are plenty of other options out there for those who do not like the situation and it’s not like Apple are dominating the mass market, though it could be argued they are dominating the “desirable must have” market to some degree.