New issues have come to light regarding Mac upgrade manufacturer Met@box USA’s
exit from the market. While Met@box may have decided to pull out because it is focusing on its set top box products, competing upgrade manufacturer XLR8 maintains that Met@box copied critical components of the MACh Speed extension that drives all of XLR8’s upgrades. XLR8 discovered this shortly after Macworld San Francisco this January, and threatened Met@box with an injunction to remove all offending product from resellers’ shelves. Met@box has not shipped any upgrade products since then, other than its closeout sale to Other World Computing.
Met@box USA’s president Clint Giles says that the code in question is from a German contractor and that Met@box USA and its parent company Met@box did not realize the issue until XLR8 contacted them. The version of the offending software is Met@box joeCARD Software Installer and Manual CD v. 3.0. MacCentral received a copy of that version from an independent source, and it appears that critical resources and components are indeed identical to XLR8’s software. Chris Cooksey, Director of Engineering at XLR8, also says that Met@box’ firmware updater — essential in any G4 upgrade on a Blue and White G3 — even burns in XLR8’s copyright into the Mac’s ROMs.
“The legal end of this is that our parent company told us to stop shipping software related to the XLR8 issue,” said Giles. “Since then, we have gotten out of the upgrade business.”
Giles told MacCentral that the company shipped its older driver when it sold its remaining upgrades to
Other World Computing. This software will work in all of Met@box’ G3 upgrades, but may not work to its full extent with G4 upgrades. OWC was unavailable for comment, but the company does not appear to be shipping any Met@box G4 upgrades.