Mac clones, thought to be making a comeback thanks to a Florida company called Psystar, may once again be headed for the dustbin. Late Friday, a U.S. District Court judge awarded a summary judgment against the cloner at Apple's
At issue is Psystar's right to resell the Mac OS under the guidelines of "fair use." Apple has argued that the cloner has no such right. The court agreed, and it will decide what if any damages Psystar faces in a hearing scheduled for Dec. 14. Further charges of breach of contract and varying trademark violations could go to trial in January.
Investors might remember that Apple cultivated a crop of clones to better compete with Dell
Psystar's systems aren't (ahem) "authorized" clones like those made by Motorola
"Psystar turns off the Mac OS's automatic System Update feature, so you need to download and install updates manually," wrote Macworld's James Galbraith about a Psystar desktop system he reviewed in May. "One might think that the company would send you a machine that's as up-to-date as possible, but that's not the case."
Now, thanks to the court, Psystar may not get a chance to improve its offerings. That's fine by me. In this respect, Apple is like Microsoft
There's also the business to consider. Apple is a hardware company; Mac sales accounted for more than 37% of revenue during fiscal 2009. Can you blame Jobs for going after Psystar? The cloner's cheap hardware has allowed it to take free slices of Apple's massive profit pie, profits that belong to us as investors.
But that's my take. Now it's your turn. Should Apple take a lesson from its tussle with Psystar, and allow Mac clones again? Or is this a zombie issue that just needs to die already? Tell us what you think by voting in the poll below. You can also leave a comment to explain your rationale.
Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Dell, Microsoft, and Symantec are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in IBM at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy enjoys the feel of a warm dinner roll after an unusually snowy day.