Psystar: Cocaine, Car Crashes and The Company’s Chances of Beating Apple (Pretty Good)


Psytar's Robert Pedraza -- the technical brains behind Psystar. Photo: Ted Soqui/Miami New Times

Psystar, the unofficial Mac cloner, may actually have a shot at beating Apple, the Miami New Times reports in an interesting backgrounder on the two brothers behind the company, Robert and Rudy Pedraza.

The six-page profile includes several interesting factoids, including the revelation that their father is a convicted coke dealer.

The brothers started their knockoff business after one of them survived a near fatal car crash. The company is shipping boatloads of computers and is likely making money (quickly eaten by legal costs). Several copycats have cropped up, including the Moscow-based RussianMac.

To recap, Psystar sells cheap Hackintoshes that run Apple’s OS X. A Psystar machine costs about a third of a comparable offering from Apple, but runs OS X in violation of Apple’s shrinkwrap EULA license.

Apple is hell-bent on shutting the company down, but some IP experts think Psystar has a shot. The case hinges on the legality of EULAs — shrinkwrap licenses — that say you don’t own the software you buy, you license it. The legality of EULAs has never been tested in the courts, which makes the Psystar case so important. If Psystar wins, it may not only throw a wrench into Apple’s business model, it may alter the entire software industry.

The paper quotes a couple of intellectual property lawyers who say the tiny Florida company may actually win.

“They’ve already put some really good arguments forward,” says Randy Friedberg, an intellectual property lawyer following the case in New York. “There’s essentially one really interesting question here, and it’s whether that licensing agreement holds up.”


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