The fact that some users have successfully hacked Apple protections on MacOSX x86 to make it running on any PC and not only on Apple-certified SDK PC, has been well discussed, commented, and its impact would have been larger if it did not happen during holidays season; but for sure it was a real earthquake at Cupertino. It might be the most important problem they have to face, despite the hypothetic slow down of iPod sales.
Why is it so bad?
First, it was obvious that some users will have access to OS x86 without having signed a NDA with Apple; so they have tried to make it running on a standard PC, at the beginning with a configuration as close as the Apple SDK, then after developing patches and hacks on any PC. So, having OSX x86 running on any PC was something that will by definition happen, it was only a matter of time. Apple's DRM on OS x86 were rather "lite", so patching OSX x86 was probably more intended to try to make it running on any PC. Indeed, since the beginning of humanity, all protections have always been challenged and at the end someone always successfully found a way to bypass them. It was true for Troy; it is true today for Apple. Trying to find a way to bypass a protection is always an challenging intellectual work, it can be consider beneficial, when scientist try to find ways to cure a disease, it might be consider negative when one hacker unlock a software. The same way for Apple and iTMS: it is relatively easy to erase DRM associated with tracks originating from the iTMS, Apple does not really care, whereas Music Majors do; so as a consequence Apple keeps updating iTunes to prevent such phenomenon while knowing it will be working only for a short time. But Apple has to do it otherwise Music Majors will for sure complain and start legal actions.
But for MacOSX, it is different. Indeed, for every OSX version hacked and installed on a PC it will be for Apple one lost OSX license, and potentially a Mac computer not sold. And it is not only about the money, it is also related to also market share. Indeed, the goal to reach 10% computer market share will never be reach on hardware sales basis if OSX x86 can easily be patches to run on any PC, even though it turns to be true on the number of OSX-based running computers.
What can Apple do?
Cancel its decision to switch to Intel is not possible, and will not solve the mid-term future. No, Apple has to re-think its protections both on OSX but also on the hardware part. To achieve such a dual DRM based both of software and hardware protections, Apple has to develop a system quite different from today’s standards to avoid any PC assembling companies to copy it.
But at mid-term it will not be the ultimate solution, since with time someone will find a way to bypass this dual DRM system. The only limitation will be the price of such a hack, and will it be worthwhile with Apple MacIntel computers, even though they will be a bit more expensive than equivalent PCs.
There is another solution, the one current chosen by Apple: deny the reality.
This is exactly what Apple Legal has started to do last night (Central Europe time) by sending us an amazingly aggressive email asking for the immediate removal of all links to the videos showing OSX x86 booting from non-Apple certified SDK PC.
We have removed the requested links, but we deeply think that it will not change anything regarding the problem affecting Cupertino. Indeed, Apple is using its legal department only when things go really wrong.
The video that we have published was only posted online to prove our comments and news, and to avoid to be considered as a Mac-dedicated rumor site. We did not provide any link to website describing the procedure and so on. Because it is also clear for us that installing OSX x86 on a non-certified Apple SDK PC is illegal, both regarding the Copyright and the NDA signed by developers. We have never supported illegal action and we will not change our point of view on this topic. However we have also reported and published what we think might be important to know for Mac users, and we know that Apple did/does always like it. We are not a "Mac Pravda" website, only following Apple, applauding and being silent when asked for.
If we are force to stop our activities on the net, as mentioned as a possibility by the Apple Legal message, we will do it of course; but we will remember to have enjoyed a nice adventure with our readers.
But it will not happen today, we think that such message from Apple lawyers in action during holiday season was probably a standard legal message, otherwise they should have known that we would have removed all requested links the same way if we would have received an non-aggressive email from Apple Legal. In addition, they would have avoided such news today.
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