Apple, Corellium settle iOS virtualization case

iGiant was on the back foot after courts found virtual iPhones were fair use

Apple and iOS virtualization software maker Corellium have ended their four-year-long battle with a confidential settlement.

Available court documents don't indicate what the terms of the agreement are in any way. Nonetheless, the saga is over and the case is closed.

For those unfamiliar with the tussle between the iCorp and its virtualization iMitator, the case began in 2019 when Apple filed a lawsuit in Florida against Corellium alleging it had infringed on Apple copyrights by offering cloud-based iOS virtualization software primarily targeted at developers and security researchers.

The fruit stand demanded that Corellium be forced to stop selling virtual iPhones in the cloud and repay lost profits. The battle didn't go too well for Cook and company, as it suffered defeat after defeat as the case passed through different courts.

Apple, it was later revealed, tried to buy Corellium in 2018 but failed. And in early 2021 a judge ruled against Apple by finding that Corellium's use of iOS fell under fair use, and that the startup was careful not to sell access to the virtualized mobile OS to bad actors – contrary to what Apple had claimed.

Apple tried to settle the case in 2021, but ended up appealing the previous decision to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year. The 11th Circuit agreed with the lower court decision – that Corellium's iOS virtualization fell under fair use and helped further security research – leading to the settlement last week.

"The parties reached a full and complete settlement of all remaining causes of action and issues in this case," a minute entry in the case files dated December 14 reads. "The Court congratulates the parties and their counsel on reaching an amicable settlement in this case."

Apple has never been entirely comfortable having its operating systems run inside virtual machines. The iGiant has allowed macOS guests to run on Macs, but the process for making it happen is complex. Even when physical Macs used Intel CPUs, Apple balked at allowing VMs on PCs that used the same processors.

Desktop hypervisor vendor Parallels allows macOS guests on Apple silicon. VMware’s Fusion does not.

Cloudy Apple devices are easier to find, with AWS touting iPhones in its Device Farm offering that allows devs to test their code on a collection of physical devices. AWS also offers cloudy Macs as part of its elastic compute cloud.

An outfit called MacStadium offers several types of cloudy Mac – and also benchmarked Apple's recently-announced M3 Max silicon and rated it as offering "substantial gains over earlier generations in both compute and GPU performance." ®

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