Mac Cloner Psystar Resumes Operations Despite Apple Suit

Both Psystar's e-commerce site and telephone ordering system appeared functional as of Thursday afternoon.
Mac clone maker Psystar resumed Internet and telephone service Thursday, one day after the company appeared to have ceased operations in the wake of a copyright suit filed against it by Apple.

Both Psystar's e-commerce site and telephone ordering system appeared functional as of Thursday afternoon. The Web site was offline for much of Wednesday and callers to the company's office on Wednesday morning were greeted with a fast busy signal.

The temporary darkening of Psystar's operations prompted speculation that the company had folded after getting hit this month with a 10-count copyright complaint by Apple. Psystar representatives have not returned calls seeking comment.

Apple is asking the U.S. District Court in San Francisco to order Miami-based Psystar to stop making unauthorized Mac clones and to recall all of the systems it has sold to customers. Psystar has yet to file a formal response to Apple's allegations.

Psystar, apparently in open violation of Apple licensing rules that forbid installation of its operating systems -- including the Leopard OS -- on third-party hardware, has been selling Mac clones through its Web site since April. In June, Psystar launched a line of Apple server clones.

Apple is charging Psystar with violating its copyrights and weakening its brand image. "By misappropriating Apple's proprietary software and intellectual property for its own use, Psystar's actions harm consumers by selling them a poor product that is advertised and promoted in a manner that falsely and unfairly implies an affiliation with Apple," Apple said in its complaint.

Apple also charged Psystar with illegally copying, modifying, and redistributing some of its products. The 18-page complaint outlines a total of 10 charges against Psystar.

Psystar in the past has claimed that its Mac clones cost about one-quarter to one-half of what Apple-branded systems sell for. In defense of its clones, the company has charged that Apple marks up the cost of the hardware on which its operating systems ride by as much as 80%.

One version of Psystar's Open Computer Mac clone features Apple's Leopard OS X 10.5 operating system ported onto generic PC hardware that includes an Intel Core2Duo processor at 2.66 GHz, a 250-GB hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card.

The system is priced at $805. A similar, Apple-branded computer would cost at least $1,500. The problem: Apple's end-user license agreement expressly forbids installation or sales of its operating systems on third-party hardware.

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