Will Apple tie the purchase of OS X to owning a Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by snberk103, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #1
    Just some idle speculation on my part. Now that Apple is been successful in getting the vast majority of OS X purchases to go through the MAS, how long will it be before Apple refuses to sell you the OS unless there is a compatible Mac also connected to that Apple ID?

    At the moment - for pre-Lion OS X - Apple is pretty flexible about installing OS X (I know the EULA states otherwise, and I follow the terms of the EULA). But we all know that there is no built-in restrictions on how many systems a retail copy of pre-Lion OS X can be installed on. With Lion, there is now an actual built-in restriction that Apple can and does enforce, on how many systems you can download the OS to. This is a new-to-Lion feature that they can actually physically restrict the number of installations - rather than relying our honesty.

    However, they don't have any way of enforcing the restriction of not installing OS X on non-Apple hardware. However, it would be simple for them to start checking to see whether a particular Apple ID had been used to register a computer that is capable of running Lion (or OS X 10.8 Fuzzy Feline :) ) before allowing the purchase of the OS. If you don't own the hardware, then you don't get to download the OS.

    The Hackintosh community should be watching this very carefully, since they are the ones impacted if this change happens.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #2
    I think this came up some time before Lion was released but after it was announced. I recall it because I had a Dell Mini 10v running Leopard. Although I can only download Lion to a certain number of devices, I also know that I could (because I did) make a bootable USB thumb drive.

    How long until Apple completely controls us and their licenses? It is likely only a matter of time. I don't like it but then again I think it's very clear now that Apple will tell us what we need when they need to. ;)
     
  3. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

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    #3
    You both have a point but then again so does Apple. They want to sell boxes pure and simple and if the only way to make sure their OS/IPR is not pirated is to check the ID of a machine, then this is the way it is.
     
  4. interrobang macrumors 6502

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    #4
    What do you mean, "will"? Apple always does, and always has.

    It's just that, so far, Apple has done so mainly through legal/contractual means, not technical ones. Mostly because activation and serial numbers and such (things like Windows Genuine Advantage) cause problems for licensed users as well.

    The MAS just gives Apple a way to do this without causing problems for its hardware customers. Which are, in case anyone was still in any doubt, the only ones it actually cares about.
     
  5. snberk103 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #5
    I did actually make that point in my post.
    Another point I made. At this point anyone can buy Lion through MAS, whether or not they own a Mac. My question is.... will Apple, in the future, only sell OS X to customers who have a Mac that is compatible with the the OS and registered to that Apple ID? This would cut the the hackintosh community out of buying the OS, unless they also owned a compatible Mac.
     
  6. sapporobaby macrumors 68000

    sapporobaby

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    #6
    You are asking an unknown. Unless someone here is sitting in on a strategy meeting, no one here can answer your question so in a way it is moot. Other than the Hackintosh community, no one probably cares that you won't be able to install it on a non-Apple computer. Maybe not fair in your mind but it what it is.
     
  7. snberk103 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #7
    Oh, I know I am asking a question with no real answer - that's why I'm asking on a 'rumours' site, and why I started my 1st post by stating it was 'idle speculation'. Just wondering if there were any other speculators?

    Here's an updated thought. Just read (from another speculator - so don't take this as legal fact!) that the reason Psystar got into trouble was that their core business model wasn't wrong, it's just that they did it wrong. To explain..... If Psystar had created a hardware bundle that could run OS X, had bought a retail copy of OS X for each and every computer and then had separately installed each individual retail copy of OS X onto each computer they would have been protected by something called first purchaser rights. But.... they didn't do this. They bought the retail copies OK, but for efficiency reasons they had imaged a master HDD, and were copying this image onto the HDDs that were going into the computers. Saves a lot of time, not having to install the OS from a CD and then update each computer.

    But, what if Apple was worried that someone in a low-labour rate country was considering building an Apple clone, and paying their workers to individually install OS X? The new MAS distribution model would make this less economical, I would think. Just more Sunday morning idle speculation.
     
  8. interrobang macrumors 6502

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    #8
    My point (which you missed amidst stating yours twice) was that Apple doesn't want to do anything that would inconvenience its actual, paying hardware customers. (By comparison, Microsoft apparently doesn't mind doing that.)

    If you're not a Mac owner, Apple will absolutely do everything it can to thwart you, up to the point of upsetting its actual customers. Does this mean locking software to AppleIDs or something like that? It depends entirely on whether it could do this without inconvenience to its hardware customers.
     
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #9
    Psystar did a lot of stupid things that made it easy for Apple to nail them for copyright infringement. However, in the final court decision (which is now final because Psystar's appeal failed) they were ordered to pay just $60,000 for copyright infringement, but more than $2,000,000 or $2,500 per computer sold for DMCA violation. All versions of MacOS X have code that prevents them from running on anything that isn't a Mac. It is reasonably easy to get around this, otherwise there wouldn't be any "Hackintoshes", but it means that running MacOS X on anything that is not a Mac is a DMCA violation, and there is no way around that.
     
  10. snberk103 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #10
    I'm not quite certain why we are not quite connecting here....

    Pre-Lion, the only restriction to installing OS X was the legal one. I think we agree on this. Once you had bought the retail disks, you could, physically, install the OS on as many systems as you wanted - though of course it was violating the terms of the license. The only limits was that the systems had to be somewhat similar to the hardware that Apple supported. Anyone, with no special technical knowledge required, could do this. I think we agree on this. From this, I believe that Apple was not actually too worried about the potential loss of sales of HW systems. The occasional hackintosh was just not worth worrying about.

    As well, Apple didn't seem to worried about pirated versions of OS X, other than the usual and diligent efforts to shutdown the distribution of the pirated versions. But, Apple didn't go out of their way to tie verify the authenticity of any OS X installation. I could, technically, download a pirated version of SL and upgrade it to Lion through MAS, with my Apple ID. I think we agree on this. For the record, I think this was a good business decision on Apple's part, and I went out of my way to abide by the EULA because I appreciated how easy Apple made it for their customers.

    There are all sorts of reasons that Apple went to a MAS distribution for Lion. However, I am wondering - idly - if one of the reasons is because they do want to tie the OS to a particular set of systems. Not just HW that bears a resemblance to Apple-made Macs, but a set of HW that is tied to a particular user. If this is the case, then what has changed in the Apple view of the world? Perhaps the legal dispute with Psystar changed the way they thought about the risk of a company selling Sort-Of-Macs? Perhaps they are worried that the next time Son-of-Psystar won't make so many mistakes, and will be better funded to defend a legal challenge from Apple?

    Agreed - Psystar did do a lot of stupid things. But was the core idea stupid, or just the way they went about it? Was the DMCA violation putting it on a Psystar system in the 1st place, or was it because they didn't use original retail disks to individually install the OS? (instead using a master copy HDD). From the other post that I read, it sounded as if that if Psystar had used a retail disk for each and every system, then they would have been protected by the 1st purchaser clause. Will a Son-Of-Psystar learn from the mistakes, the do it differently next time? And will it make any difference?

    ----------

    It seems to me that a small company that can figure out a way to make Mac-like systems legally, could actually make a healthy profit by riding on Apple's coat-tails. And I think it would cause Apple a lot of head-aches. So, I wonder if part of the logic for the MAS distribution for Lion is part of Apple's long-term strategy to close a loop-hole before someone else finds a way to drive a truck through it?

    This is what I am doing with my extra hour today, it seems. :D
     
  11. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    #11
    I'll note it's easy to install Lion without downloading it through the Mac App Store – and that doesn't include the USB drive they sell now. You can download it and burn it to a DVD or put it on a USB stick yourself and install it that way. You can still install it on as many machines as you like. For now Apple is using the MAS as a delivery method – they haven't restricted anything other than you have to have an Apple ID to purchase it.
     
  12. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #12
    This.

    The reason they have it on the MAS? because it lowers overhead and makes things easier. also it encourages people to use the MAS which is what they want to use for delivery of all apps moving forward so having an OS X release on there is just a good motivation for a lot of people. but there are few, if any other restrictions on the actual download.
     
  13. snberk103 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #13
    Yes. All of the above is true. And I think Apple would have moved to MAS for only those reasons. I'm still with SL, so I have no experience with MAS. However..... now that OS X is being tied to an Apple ID - will Apple start cross-checking to see if an Apple ID is connected to (through registration) a computer capable of running that version of OS X?
     
  14. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    #14
    No it isn't. It's only 'tied' in the sense that you need an Apple ID to buy anything on the MAS anyway, but if you install that copy of Lion on another machine and then use a different Apple ID (or none at all) there's nothing stopping you.
     
  15. snberk103 thread starter macrumors 603

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    #15
    You're right, it's the wrong word... it's not "tied". Hmm.... But there is a connection now, where there wasn't.

    When OS X was available in a retail box, there was no restriction who could purchase one. When purchased through the MAS, the initial restriction is that you must have an Apple ID to purchase the OS. Currently, there is only some minor restrictions on who can get an Apple ID (Credit card or ITunes gift-card, plus ?). However, Apple can now easily put additional restrictions on the purchase of the OS, simply by looking at what else is "tied" to the Apple ID.

    For instance, if I purchase a system from the Apple online store, I use my Apple ID. Apple "knows" that I have a system, and what OS it is capable of running. If I have a new system and I purchase Lion, Apple can assume that I'm upgrading. But what if I want to buy Lion, but the only system I have registered with Apple is a G5? Will Apple then start asking me to prove that I have a "Lion Capable" system?

    I don't think Apple will do this just because they can. I believe they get more sales by making things easy for the vast majority of customers, and don't bother spending a lot of money making it hard for the very small minority of non-paying customers. However, I think that if they do start connecting the purchase of the OS to hardware, then they are afraid of a clone-type competitor. So.... do you think they need to worry?
     
  16. Mackilroy macrumors 68040

    Mackilroy

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    #16
    No, I do not. Don't forget, they offer a thumb drive – and they have no idea what kind of computer you would plug that into.
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #17
    This is correct. If you make a USB key from the InstallESD.dmg you can do a fresh install to any machine from that thumb drive and you will not be asked for an AppleID, so there would be no way for Apple to know you did the install.
     
  18. OLDCODGER macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    sheepherding

    This thread topic is the reason why I decided to not go beyond Snow Leopard.

    I have never registered any hardware purchase - of any kind, and I don't have/want an Apple ID. I always pay cash, and personally pick the product up - no need for names, addresses, etc.

    Heck, I've never even fired up iTunes, since I have all the cassettes I need.:)
     

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