Sketchy Firm Promises Mac Clones, Loses Humiliating Court Battle

Dennis Faas's picture

A sketchy firm based out of Miami Florida which falsely claimed it could sell cloned Macintosh machines has already suffered the wrath of Apple in the courtroom. Now it's suffering embarrassment as the truth emerges about its poor sales record.

Psystar has been in long-running legal battles with Apple after selling computers which were made with PC parts but ran the Mac "Leopard" operating system. As Apple doesn't license its software to other manufacturers -- and you'd think that would made for a clear-cut court ruling, but the process was somewhat extended by Psystar (unsuccessfully) arguing that Apple was running an illegal monopoly by being the only firm which could sell Mac-based computers.

Summary Judgment in Apple's Favor

In response, Apple noted that it isn't a monopoly because it competes in a larger market -- that for computers as a whole -- and that in any case, a single company acting alone inherently can't violate antitrust laws which are designed to prevent unfair collusion.

A federal court has now upheld Apple's claims while dismissing those of Psystar. (Source:

Damages To Be Determined

The court must now decide on the amount of damages to award Apple. Ironically, the argument is likely to be somewhat irrelevant as Psystar is reportedly in financial difficulties, due in large part to the cost of the legal battle.

There is a good possibility that the award will be based on the number of sales Psystar made, a figure which is now very much in dispute. Apple has noted a Psystar business plan shown last year to potential investors which predicted sales would grow by 2011 to somewhere between 1.45 million and 12 million units a year. Those figures, which were based on also selling a Mac-based laptop, could even have meant Psystar selling more Mac computers than Apple itself.

However, documents filed with the court by Psystar tell a different story. An economist hired by Apple to analyze the documents says the records are in a mess but as best he can tell, Psystar sold just 768 of the machines. (Source:

It wasn't just the outlandish forecasts which should have given potential investors cause for concern, however. The business plan even suggested the ongoing Apple case was a positive for Psystar as it would have deterred other companies from making their own knock-off machines.

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