Mac clone maker Psystar: We're still in business

Editor’s Note: This story is excerpted from Computerworld. For more Mac coverage, visit Computerworld’s Macintosh Knowledge Center.

The Mac clone maker that has been sued by Apple thought it necessary last week to quell speculation that it is no longer shipping systems.

The company also announced that it has started shipping recovery discs to customers by request to help them reinstall Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 operating system.

Psystar, which began selling its Open Computer and OpenPro Computer clones in April, was hit with an Apple lawsuit about seven weeks ago that accused the company of multiple copyright and trademark infringement, breach of contract and unfair competition violations.

Apple claimed Psystar’s practice of installing Leopard on its machines violated the Mac OS X end-user licensing agreement (EULA). That license specifically bars users from installing the operating system on non-Apple hardware. “You agree not to install, use or run the Apple software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so,” the EULA reads (download PDF).

The lawsuit may have prompted a posting to the front page of its Web site last week in which it reminded potential customers it is still in business. “Recently, our sales team has received several inquiries as to whether or not our systems are still available,” the company said. “Psystar is definitely still shipping Open Computing products.”

In a separate message last week, Psystar announced that it would ship recovery media to buyers of its Intel-based systems that it’s sold with Leopard preinstalled. “Customers who purchased Open Computing products with Apple’s OS X Leopard will receive a disc that will allow them to reinstall their OS should something go drastically wrong or if they feel like getting a new start,” said Psystar.

The disc makes it possible to boot the Florida-based company’s clones from the Mac OS X installation DVD, or boot into Leopard’s Console utility to view internal error and status messages for troubleshooting purposes.

Owners of Psystar’s clones must contact the company by either fax or surface mail to request the recovery disc, which will be shipped free of charge, according to the company.

In other news, a federal court Monday granted a second extension to the deadline that Psystar faced in responding to Apple’s complaint. In a Monday filing, attorneys for Apple and Psystar agreed to a new, and apparently final, deadline of Aug. 28. Previously, the lawyers had set Aug. 18 as the deadline.

Earlier this month, Colby Springer, one of several lawyers of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Carr & Ferrell LLP, warned not to read anything into the first delay, noting that it was common, especially when a firm had been recently retained. Psystar hired Springer’s firm in late July.

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