updated 03:26 am EDT, Tue May 15, 2012
Fought for legal 'hackintosh' license
In a case that many thought long-settled, the US Supreme Court today closed the final chapter in the winding saga of would-be legal "hackintosh" seller Psystar. The court refused a request to review the lower court decision, which granted a permanent injunction preventing the company from selling any previous or future versions of Mac OS X along with its "Rebel EFI" hack to allow installation on non-Apple PCs.
Psystar had pushed the argument that Apple's End-User License Agreement (EULA), which specifically barred running OS X on non-Apple hardware, was an "abuse" of Apple's alleged "monopoly" over its own hardware eco-system. Various courts refused to buy into Psystar's view and eventually Judge William J. Alsup (currently hearing the Oracle vs. Google plagerism case) issued a permanent injunction in late 2009 that was carefully worded to prevent the company from ever being able to skirt around the restrictions.
Psystar, founded and owned by Miami-based brothers Rudy and Robert Kendall in 2008, appealed the decision, but the circuit court refused to reconsider the decision, and so Psystar and its attorneys petitioned the Supreme Court for relief. The refusal brings a final end to the case, with all available legal options exhausted. The lead attorney, K.A.D. Camara, told CNet "We are sad ... I'm sure that the Supreme Court will take a case on this important issue eventually."
The cost of the years-long ongoing litigation compared to the likely minuscule sales of Psystar for the short time it operated again raises speculation that the firm was secretly bankrolled in its fight by another company that hoped to benefit from Apple's prohibition from running OS X on non-Apple hardware being repealed. Though the brothers denied it, leading suspects for the legal and company funding included HP and Dell.
In addition to the legal bills, Psystar agreed to pay Apple $2.7 million in settlement fees if it lost the appeal. The company filed for bankruptcy in mid-2009, but a list of its funders and equity partners has never been revealed in full detail. [via CNet]