Psystar’s ideological crusade against Apple is fast turning into a boondoggle for the Mac clone maker. On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed Psystar’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple and with it, one of the company’s last remaining chances to stay in business peddling PCs with Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard preinstalled, an apparent violation of Apple’s software license agreement.
Sued by Apple in August for violating the terms of its shrink-wrap license, trademark and copyright on OS X, Psystar replied in kind with a countersuit charging Cupertino with restraint of trade, unfair competition, and other violations of antitrust law. Apple, Psystar argued, engages in all manner of anticompetitive conduct to “protect its valuable monopoly in the Mac OS market.”
But according to the California judge presiding over the case, Apple’s products don’t constitute a market to dominate. And that being the case, Apple (AAPL) can’t be considered a monopolist.
“The counterclaim explains that Mac OS performs the same functions as other operating systems,” Judge William Alsup wrote in his order dismissing the suit. “The counterclaim admits that market studies indicate that, although Apple computers with Mac OS enjoy strong brand recognition and loyalty, they are not wholly lacking in competition. Psystar also points to Apple’s extensive advertising campaigns. Those advertising campaigns more plausibly support an inference contrary to that asserted in the counterclaim–vigorous advertising is a sign of competition, not a lack thereof. If Mac OS simply had no reasonable substitute, Apple’s vigorous advertising would be wasted money. The advertising campaigns suggest a need to enhance brand recognition and lure consumers from a competitor…. Apple asks its customers to purchase Mac OS knowing that it is to be used only with Apple computers. It is certainly entitled to do so.”