Those of you hoping to get a Mac on the cheap may have reduced options in the future, with mainstream Hackintosh distributor Psystar facing Apple's legal might in the courtroom.
Psystar quietly introduced itself at the start of this year, offering off-the-shelf Intel-based PCs hacked to run Apple's popular MacOS X operating system. While the OS included with the so-called Open Computing units was legitimate – being a fully-shrink-wrapped retail version aimed at Mac owners who want to upgrade to the latest version – the installation was not, as it contravened the terms and conditions set out in Apple's end-user license agreement. The company later added insult to injury by offering rack-mountable servers which directly compete with Apple's extremely expensive Xserve range.
While people expressed major doubts as to the legitimacy of Psystar's business venture, everyone was pretty surprised when the units actually started shipping – and even more that they worked. The astonishment was complete when Apple completely failed to punish the brash young upstarts, with nary a complaint being heard – despite the entire venture underlining a cost differential between Apple Intel units and generic Intel units that many felt was an unfair holdover from the PowerPC days. With a bottom-end Psystar Open Computer – originally titled the OpenMac – going for $555, and an official Mac Mini of similar specification hitting $900, it's hard not to notice that something doesn't add up over in Cupertino.
It would appear that Apple's legal team has finally woken up, however: Betanews
has revealed that Psystar is being sued for copyright infringement as a result of its rather shady activities. Scheduled for the 22nd of October, the suit will progress in the US District Court in Northern California with Judge James Larson presiding. Although neither Apple nor Psystar were willing to comment, it's hard to predict anything other than a victory for the company with the deepest pockets – and a loss for any end-users hoping to run MacOS X on generic hardware.
Do you believe Psystar was sailing too close to the wind with their commercial Hackintosh, or is Apple playing the bully in order to protect their unfair hardware profit margins? Share your thoughts over in the forums