Could Apple use Psystar as a backdoor to a wider consumer marketplace

The never-ending saga of the mighty mouse company taking on of the Goliath of elitism and aesthetic perfection has taken yet another rather strange turn of events. Yes folks the sad story of Psystar being hunted to the ends of the court system has reached what can only be termed a rather strange resolution.

Today it was announced that Apple and Psystar have agreed to settle a 17-month lawsuit that will see Psystar from pre-installing Mac OS X on the generic Intel based computers that Psystar sells. Yet the agreement may not stop the company from selling Mac clones as Psystar has laid out the argument that would shift the responsibility for installing Apple’s operating system on to the customer.

Part of Apple’s response to this?

Apple has agreed to voluntarily dismiss all its trademark, trade-dress, and state law claims. As a result of this partial settlement the need for a trial is eliminated and reduces the issues before the court in regards to the scope of any permanent injunction on Apple’s copyright claims. This was the injunction that would have seen the hammer brought down on Psystar effectively shutting down the company for good. Not so now.

Huh?

Well it all seems to center around a piece of software that Psystar has created that would allow customers to install OS X onto any generic PC. Psystar is arguing that the software called Rebel EFI is completely Psystar property and in no way includes any Apple trademarked code.

“Psystar argues only that any injunction from this Court should not extend to Rebel EFI, a Psystar product that is presently the subject of litigation in the Florida case, that is composed exclusively of Psystar software, that is not sold in conjunction with any hardware, and that is sold entirely apart from any copy of Mac OS X or any computer running Mac OS X,” Psystar said.

Source:Computerworld

By getting Rebel EFI excluded from any of the proceeding Psystar is effectively moving the responsibility of installing OS X onto generic Intel based PC onto the consumer. So on one hand Apple gets some satisfaction by appearing to smack down some upstart company as well as maintaining its copyright and trademarks but this is so unlike Apple. After all this is a company notorious for its habit of literally demolishing anyone who they think is infringing on their products or trademarks – they are not a company to give quarter to anyone.

Yet if this argument by Psystar regarding the exclusion of the Rebel EFI software passes muster, and at this point Apple doesn’t seem to be contesting the argument, there would still be a legal avenue for consumers to install OS X on any computer of their choice. Obviously the hope here for Psystar is that it would be one of their systems.

So is this possibly a tacit admission by Apple that while we could stop this if we wanted to let things run their course. If people use this software to try out Mac OS X on some crappy PC Apple will possibly assume that they should be able to move a portion of those people over to their own products arguing that if you liked OS X on a sub optimal machine try it now on a real computer – a Mac.

It’s not like they have anything to lose. they’ve put a irritating upstart back in its place and it now has a possible new way to bring in new customers and they haven’t had to expend a cent developing software that would get a lot of people asking a lot of questions that apple wouldn’t want to answer.

Sounds like a win-win to me.