Apple Bites Back

Apple Bites Back

by Lisa C. Johnson, Esq., December 2009

There are so many age old questions —Nature or nurture? Is there life on other planets? Mac or PC? Okay, maybe the last one isn't that old of a question, but it certainly is a current topic of great interest and discussion.

Made For Each Other

To some there are only two kinds of people in this world. Those who use Macintosh computers made by Apple and everyone else. The major selling point made by Apple is that Macs are more reliable than PCs because they build both the hardware and the software that comes with it. "They're literally made for each other." Apple's website stresses that difference by stating that with a PC, the hardware is made by one company and the operating system and software come from different companies. In general, Macs cost more money than PCs. Yet, many willingly pay that extra amount for the perceived reliability, ease of use, and Apple coolness factor.

Apple does not want anyone else selling their software, hardware, operating systems, or any combinations of these and takes great pains to protect their intellectual property rights. They even have a section of their website where piracy of their software, both in and outside of the United States, can be reported. "Apple actively and aggressively enforces its intellectual property rights to the fullest extent of the law."


Well the two brothers Pedraza, Robert and Rudy, incorporated a business called Psystar Corp., whose motto is diametrically opposed to Apple's. Their website says "At Psystar we believe people have the right to choose which OS comes installed on their computer." "Our software is ever evolving, and you can rest assured that these benefits get passed along to users. Along with our "Safe Update", which allows users to receive updates to OS X directly from Apple, our software is automatically updated periodically."

According to a LA Weekly article, the brothers figured out how to run Apple's operating system on PCs. They buy the software legally, install it in a non-Apple computer and sell it. Apple noticed and in July 2008 sued them on various counts including copyright infringement.

On November 30, 2009, there was a settlement signed by the parties agreeing that judgment may be entered in favor of Apple and against Psystar and that damages of $1,337,500.00 may be awarded to Apple. Apple agreed not to collect the money damages until all appeals are concluded. In addition, Apple sought a hearing for a permanent injunction to prevent Psystar from making further sales.

Apple Bites Back

A hearing was held on December 14, 2009, and the next day a permanent injunction was granted by Judge Alsup, according to CNET News. The court decision requires Psystar to comply with the injunction by December 31, 2009, at the latest. There still remain questions regarding Psystar's Rebel EFI, which was not expressly excluded from the terms of the injunction.

Time will tell what will happen to Psystar, but this isn't the end to Apple's problems. A significant hacker community exists that is intent of finding ways to run Apple software on non-Apple computers. The "Hackintosh" website boasts that it "provides links to everything you need to build your own Hackintosh and get Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" or Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" running on an unsupported computer [.]" InsanelyMac's twitter page says, "The original home of OSx86 - find out how to get Mac OS X running on your PC." Apple has much biting back left to do.

For more information, visit:

Apple - Get a Mac - FAQ

Apple - Legal - Piracy Policy

Psystar Labs

Pedraza vs. Macintosh: Worms in the Apple

Apple Psystar Settlement Agreement

Apple wins permanent injunction against Psystar

Apple Inc., vs. Psystar Corporation


Insanely Mac