Contrary to report, Psystar not shutting down, lawyer says

Mac clone maker's lawyer says another attorney misquoted; Psystar not out of business, but site is down

Although Mac clone maker Psystar has turned off the lights at its Web site, the firm is not shutting down permanently, the company's lawyer said today.

Contrary to a report on Thursday by the Dow Jones Newswire (subscription required), Psystar is not shutting down for good, said K.A.D. Camara, of the Houston, Texas firm Camara & Sibley LLP.

Camara represents Psystar in a lawsuit the company filed in a Miami federal court last August that accuses Apple of violating several antitrust laws.

The Dow Jones story quoted Eugene Action, a Fresno, Calif. lawyer who represented Psystar in the lawsuit Apple filed with a San Francisco federal court in 2008. "They will not be in business," Action said, adding that Psystar President Rudy Pedraza would be "shutting things down immediately" by firing the company's eight employees.

However, Camara told Computerworld by e-mail today, "Regrettably, Mr. Action was misquoted in an early story that seems to have been picked up elsewhere. Psystar does not intend to shut down permanently."

Camara did not elaborate on what form Psystar would take in the future, or when it might return to the Web.

Action did not reply on Friday to a request for clarification of the remarks that Camara said had been misquoted.

The Dow Jones story was used as the source for several stories that repeated Action's claims, including posts on AppleInsider, MacNN and TG Daily.

Action said the Psystar shut-down was prompted by the injunction U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup awarded Apple on Tuesday. The injunction barred Psystar from selling computers with Apple's Mac OS X.

Alsup gave Psystar until midnight, Dec. 31, 2009, to comply with the injunction, and warned the company against dragging it feet. "Defendant must immediately begin this process, and take the quickest path to compliance," Alsup said in the order.

The shuttering of its Web site could be part of the path Psystar is taking to comply with the injunction. The clone maker was required to inform Apple of its plans, but it did not have to make those plans public.

Earlier this month, Psystar halted sales of Intel-based clones pre-loaded with Snow Leopard, and agreed to pay Apple approximately $2.7 million if it loses appeals it plans to file with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

At that time, Camara said that although Psystar was dropping its Mac OS X-loaded machines, it would continue to sell PCs with other operating systems, including Windows, and would also sell its $50 Rebel EFI software. Rebel EFI lets owners of generic PCs install and run Apple's Snow Leopard operating system.

By continuing to market Rebel EFI, Psystar was effectively shifting the responsibility of installing Mac OS X to customers. Psystar would sell Rebel EFI to customers, who would have to obtain a copy of Snow Leopard, then use Rebel EFI to install and run the operating system on a Psystar system.

"Customers can buy Rebel EFI, a machine from us or from Dell, and with Rebel EFI, install OS X on whatever computer they please," Camara said on Dec. 2.

Psystar's Web site, however, went dark yesterday. As of 7 p.m. ET Friday, it remained offline.

Psystar has several legal moves left to make, Camara said today. "Psystar will proceed to litigate the legality of Rebel EFI through the motion process described in Judge Alsup's order," Camara said. "Psystar will also proceed with its antitrust case in Miami."

Psystar and Apple have been tangling in court since July 2008, when Apple sued the clone maker over copyright and software licensing violations. Psystar first started selling Intel machines with Mac OS X pre-installed in April 2008.

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