Apple Challenged by Clone Maker

Mac cultists are pissed that some interlopers dare move into their sphere. Meanwhile, Apple has been strangely silent. This is the same company that reflexively sends cease and desist orders to people who post steps for installing their OS on non-Apple hardware. Or mentioning that it’s even possible.

Mac Clone Maker Psystar Vows To Challenge Apple EULA – Apple Unvarnished – InformationWeek:

Psystar’s OpenMac clone is priced at about $399 — less than one-fifth of what a similar, Apple-branded system sells for. It also represents a direct violation of Apple’s end-user license agreement, which forbids third-party installations of Leopard.

But Psystar said Monday that the company believes Apple’s terms violate U.S. monopoly laws. “What if Microsoft said you could only install Windows on Dell computers?” said a Psystar employee.

The employee, who would only identify himself as Robert, said Apple grossly overcharges for the hardware on which its operating systems, including Leopard, come preinstalled. “They’re charging an 80% markup on hardware,” Robert said in a brief phone interview.

I agree that Apple charges a premium price for mediocre hardware enshrined in aesthetically above-average casing running an operating system long on flash and short on security. If Mac users want to overpay for that, more power to them. As far as the restrictive OSX EULA, who knows. My own preference is to not do business with someone who requires me to purchase their hardware to use their OS.

The Open Computer can be seen here. Available in black or white. Base price includes Core 2 Duo running 2.2 mhz, 2 GB DDR RAM, 250 MB SATA hard drive, no operating system. They’ll preinstall OSX Leopard for $155. Lawyer not included.

Then there are the skeptics. Fair questions. What’s up with Psystar? Has anyone done business with them before?

Back to the markup issue and thinking of the iPhone rebates Apple authorized when they dropped their prices and the early adopters whined. I wonder how many Mac owners would expect a rebate if Apple’s restrictions were lifted and they had to lower their prices to what cloners would offer. I remember what happened during the brief period when Apple licensed their OS: more savvy users embraced clones that beat Apple to the punch with more standard (e.g., IDE and PCI buses, VGA, etc.) interfaces. It would certainly benefit users to let them choose their own hardware (Intel x86 architecture is the same whether it’s running Windows or OSX or anything else, there’s no special magic); it would cripple Apple.

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