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Apple rattles lawyers at DesktopX over Aqua

Once more round the MS legal department for the Whistler UI, we'd hazard...

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Apple's notorious legal eagles have moved on skinning outfit Stardock, whose DesktopX is deemed to be a little too close to MacOS X's Aqua. According to a Stardock newsgroup announcement made by company president Brad Wardell yesterday, Apple has asked for the removal of "anything that even remotely looks like Aqua.

"This ranges from screenshots to even themes or DesktopX objects that can even remotely be considered inspired by Aqua."

Wardell says that pending discussions with Stardock's own legal people it's resisting pulling screenshots and stuff that isn't "directly from Aqua." It is however combing its libraries in search of skins it reckons could be violations of Apple's IP.

Little Stardock seems to be striving for a posture of sweet reason, as well it might, in the face of Apple's tanks. "Stardock very strongly believes in Apple's intellectual property rights up until they infringe on the rights of others (such as demanding for screenshots and original artwork such as AquaInk being removed," says Wardell, adding that any uploads with Apple trademarks won't be posted.

History of course suggests that this might not be enough. With Microsoft fiddling away with the Whistler UI and skinning-up for all it's worth, Apple's legals will be on red alert for potential infringements. Stardock may just be be collateral damage from sabre-rattling for Microsoft's benefit, but a long time ago Digital Research found itself in a similar position, running up the white flag while Apple went gunning for Windows.

In an unrelated announcement yesterday, Wardell kissed goodbye to what was left of Stardock's status as an OS/2 ISV. Waxing sentimental he recalls how it was OS/2 that got him into software development in the first place. Chin up though, Brad. We remember what you developed first. It stank. ®

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