Return of the Clones?

Is this the beginning of another Clone era in Macintosh history?

For US$399, a company called Psystar, will sell you a solid, mid-level Macintosh compatible computer that runs OSX Leopard - the Open Mac. Is this the beginning of another Clone era in Macintosh history?

Probably not in any big way. You see Macintosh OSX expressly says in its EULA that it can only run on Apple-branded Computers. Pystar is most likely hoping that people gloss over that tiny detail. Or it is hoping that Apple likes that it is selling a copy of Leopard with its clones and decides to leave it alone.

The story is bigger than just that, however. Pystar is exploiting a hole that Apple customers have been complaining about for years. Namely that there isn't a midlevel "everyman" Macintosh. The cheapest Mac Pro is US$2000. The fastest Mac Mini uses a 2.5 inch hard drive and has integrated video instead of a dedicated card and still costs almost twice as much as the OpenMac. The iMac is three times the cost and has an integrated display - that all people may not want.

The desire is obviously there amongst the people who can only afford a US$400 computer - and still want a fast, upgradable machine - that is a Mac.

Now, I am sure Apple is deploying its squadron of lawyers upon the US headquartered Pystar as we speak, however, it might do Apple some good in looking into making a PC that matches these specifications.

Or *gasp* letting someone else do it for them.

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Seth Weintraub

Computerworld
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