Apple wins clone wars, plans global store expansion

15 Nov 2009

Apple has scored a crushing victory against Mac clone manufacturer Psystar and is now setting its sights on expanding globally with between 40 to 50 new stores, mainly in Europe and Asia.

The end to the Mac clone wars came last week when District Judge William Alsup of North California determined that Florida-based Psystar infringed on Apple’s “exclusive right” to create derivative works of Mac OS X by replacing original files with unauthorised software.

Judge’s ruling

Alsup ruled that Psystar made three primary unlawful modifications: replacing the Mac OS X bootloader with an alternative to run unauthorised versions of OS X, disabling and removing Apple kernel extension files and adding non-Apple kernel extensions.

The decision will have far-reaching consequences for all would-be Mac clone manufacturers.

Psystar Corporation made a line of computers called Open Computers (formally known as Open Mac and OpenPro). Psystar modified Mac OS X to run on its computers and has sold them to the public. Essentially, Psystar did all of this by buying a copy of Mac OS X, installing it on an Apple Mac Mini and then made modifications to the OS X bootloader.

Defence flounders

Alsup tore holes in Psystar’s first defence of “fair use”. Psystar bought 3,663 OS X licences but installed them on 6,007 computers.

“The burden was not met here. Accordingly, Psystar’s motion for summary judgment on nominative fair use must be denied,” Alsup ruled.

In related news, Apple is proceeding with its international store expansion and is planning to roll out between 40 and 50 stores around the world in 2010.

Apple now operates 280 stores in 10 countries. More than half the new stores are earmarked for locations outside the US, particularly in Europe and Asia. In particular, new outlets are planned in London, Paris and two in Shanghai.

The stores posted US$1.8 billion in revenues during the most recent financial quarter.

In June it emerged that Apple was planning a store for Dublin.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years