What's in it for Psystar?

One of the weirder side dramas of the Apple world is the case of Psystar, which has been selling vanilla x86 computers running OS X for the past year and a half or so. This obviously raised Apple's ire, and the two companies came to a legal agreement this week that involves some theoretical payment from Psystar to Apple at a later date, though it won't preclude the two companies from continuing to argue over the matter. At the moment, anyway, Psystar isn't selling its Mac clones any more, though it is selling Rebel EFI, software that will allow users to make their own Hackinstoshes at home.

This is one of those cases where I can fully understand the motivations behind most of the players. I get why people want to be able to install OS X on vanilla hardware: some really want an OS X machine that doesn't fit into any of the categories Apple chooses to sell in, and some just want to save money. I also get why Apple would feel obliged to stop any company from making a profit in this way, as that cuts into their juicy hardware margins. But what I don't get is what's motivating Psystar to persist in this quixotic fight. Psystar's lawyer, the amusingly named K.A.D. Camera, may insist that Psystar has no real liability to Apple; but the legal minds at Groklaw are mystified as to how Psystar thinks that can get away with it.

You could argue that Psystar's goal is to take the money and run -- sell as many clones as they can, then stash the cash in offshore accounts. If that's the case, the strategy's been a spectacular failure, as Apple estimates Psystar's sales at 768 computers (and keep in mind that it's not in Apple's interest to lowball that number, as it's the basis of the damages they're suing for). So what was the envisioned end game here? Is there some mysterious power funding Psystar's legal costs, just to annoy Apple? Does Psystar hope to be paid to go away? Or are they just in way, way over their heads?

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