Thursday, July 17, 2008

Apple Should Let Psystar Off The Hook

People have interesting reactions to Apple's suit against Psystar. Jason Perlow writes this in his Julyl 16 ZDNet blog.

It is better that Apple avoids the ugliness that is going to befall them later by allowing and encouraging Mac OS X to run legally on clone hardware, with a company supported developer program and community involvement, than facing a distributed legion of hackers determined to foil them with the tools to defeat anything they can come up with. Like Good King Leonidas and his band of 300 Spartans, Psystar will become the legend or the martyr that will give Mac hackers the motivation to punish the company where it hurts most — their coffers. Mark my words — it will take time, but Persepolis will be sacked.
Apple credits the quality of its products to its ability to control both the hardware and software. They would argue they need this control. Because there may be some truth in this and because the success of previous legal Mac clones is debatable I don't agree with Perlow that Apple blessing ventures like Psystar is realistic.

Rather, let it be a gray market. If Apple were to bless it and set up a developer program for it they would be investing valuable resources and accepting some liability for its success. I keep saying it--Apple should do nothing. They could quietly update their EULA to make selling white boxes with OSx86-adapted (but legally purchased) copies of Mac OS X legal. Other than that they should just let the hackers and Psystars do their thing, harmlessly.

I also disagree with Perlow that Apple is any kind of crisis or will be soon. Their market is not going to be flooded with either clones or virtual clones. That said, Apple should take this opportunity to open up a bit by not interfering with small white box operations and, perhaps more importantly, licensing OS X to be run legally in virtual machines.

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