Can Apple Stop Mac Clones?


Their ability to keep one step ahead of Apple's ever-vigilant legal eagles is likely to spark more companies to brave the Mac clone waters.

First off, building a system that can load Mac OS X is not rocket science. PearC has done it in Germany. And Psystar has done it here in the U.S. Look for more system makers to take the plunge. What's more, look for copycat companies in the Far East to offer systems that will accommodate the Mac OS X. Microsoft has been unsuccessful snuffing out software piracy overseas. And Apple isn't going to be successful snuffing out Mac clones.

Mac users both here and overseas are sick and tired of buying high-priced Macs and are clamoring for compatible systems.

PearC, a German company, has the Mac faithful buzzing this week in the wake of the release of its line of configurable systems that can load the Mac OS X. At the same time, Miami, Fla.-based Psystar is moving forward with new legal arguments that it is well within its rights to sell systems that can load Mac OS X.

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Both PearC and Psystar are attempting to avoid an end-user license agreement (EULA) for Mac OS X that forbids third-party installations of Leopard.

PearC evidently believes a German law regarding EULAs could derail any Apple legal maneuvering. Apparently PearC is betting on a German law that voids any EULA that can not be viewed by the customer on the product box before purchase.

Since the PearC EULA is inside the box, Apple could find itself out of luck if it takes the case before a German court.

Federal Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court in Northern California recently allowed Psystar to amend its legal defense against Apple with a counterclaim alleging misuse of copyright.

Both PearC and Psystar offer systems that can be configured with Mac OS X.

On its Web site, PearC touts its systems as "PCs with Mac OS X." The PearC entry-level system starting at $650 comes with an 2 GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 running at 2 GHz, 250-GB SATA drive, 2-GB DDR2 memory, an Nvidia GeForce 7200GS graphics card, and options for FireWire, 802.11 b/g/n wireless and USB Bluetooth stick.

PearC also offers an advanced system priced at $1,040 and a professional system priced at $1,951.

On its Web site, Psystar is offering an entry-level system that will run Mac OS/x starting at $554.99 with an Intel 2.2 GHz Dual Core E2200, 2-GB DDR2, 320-GB SATA drive, an Nvidia GeForce 7200 graphics card and options for FireWire, 802.11n wireless and a Bluetooth adapter.

On the MacRumors Forums community discussion board, one user voiced support for PearC by quoting Albert Einstein: "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds," read the posting from Swagi.

"This should have less legal problems than PsyStar," said another person posting on the Mac forum under the name Nowonder24. "At least the EULA is not an issue here ... I've wondered about this, and why others haven't sprung up in Europe."

One user on the MacRumors forum was wondering if the Nvidia 9800GTX listed as part of the configuration on the PearC would actually work with a real Mac Pro system.