Earlier today, Florida-based clonemaker Psystar announced that in addition to installing copies of OS X on its own hardware, it will soon launch an OEM licensing program whereby third party hardware manufacturers will be able to license Psystar’s virtualization technology which would then enable users to seamlessly install retail copies of Snow Leopard on a variety of non-Apple hardware.
Hardware manufacturers who sign up for the licensing program will be dubbed “Psystar Certified”, and their machines will come preloaded with Psystar’s Darwin Universal Boot Loader (DUBL). Psystar writes that qualifying products “must fall in Desktop, Server or Mobile categories.”
Manufacturers can benefit from this unique licensing opportunity with minimal expense and in several hardware markets. In most cases Psystar will tailor the technology to a specific hardware profile(s) at no additional engineering cost, allowing manufacturers to save time and money by utilizing our familiarity running the Mac OS X on generic hardware.
Once a product is Psystar Certified, consumers will be able to purchase them on the open market, either off the shelf or through other standard retail channels, and they would “allow the installation of Snow Leopard simply by inserting the retail OS X DVD.”
Apparently Psystar isn’t content with profiting off of Apple’s hard work – now they want to help others to do the same thing. What’s clever, albeit shady, about Psystar’s actions is that there isn’t much Apple can do to stop it, for the time being at least.
Since July of 2008, Apple and Psystar have been engaged in litigation in the state of California over Psystar selling copies of OS X on non-Apple hardware. But just a few weeks ago, Psystar filed a lawsuit in Florida seeking an injunction against Apple that would preclude it from tying Snow Leopard to Apple hardware in addition to seeking a court order which would allow it to sell copies of Snow Leopard on Psystar hardware.
Apple attempted to have the Florida litigation dismissed, arguing that it raises the exact same issues currently in contention in the California case. At the very least, Apple wanted the Florida case transferred over to California. Apple, however, lost that battle, with the Judge noting that Apple had initially fought hard to keep issues pertaining to Snow Leopard outside the realm of the California case, and that it’s now too late to backtrack.
So what that all means is that even if Psystar loses the ongoing case in California, that ruling would presumably only apply to copies of OS X Leopard, and not to Snow Leopard, and it would therefore not affect Psystar’s business. After all, they’re not even selling Leopard based machines anymore. While such a ruling in Apple’s favor would undoubtedly be instructive in the Florida case, and it may very well help achieve a similar result, Psystar is doing all it can to profit as much as it can for as long as it can in the meantime.
With Snow Leopard now officially outside the purview of the current California litigation, the Florida case will proceed forward, and though case consolidation may still be possible, it appears that Psystar is home free for the time being.
Lastly, it’ll be interesting to see if any hardware manufacturers take Psystar up on its licensing program. Our guess is that the response will be pretty empty, with most companies who actually run a legit business not wanting to incur the wrath of Apple legal.