Miami Company Offers Low-Cost Mac Knock-Off — Apple Lawsuit Sure to Follow

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A company called Psystar is advertising a $399 pseudo-Mac called the “OpenMac,” which it claims is made from standard PC parts and is compatible with OS X Leopard.

Based in Miami, Florida, Psystar is courting a legal smackdown from Apple, which ended its official “clone” program in 1997 after Steve Jobs returned to run the company. Intended to grow the Mac platform, the clones instead took market share from Apple, seriously impacting its botttom-line.

Which is why Apple will likely pounce on Psystar: the Mac is Apple’s most profitable line, and the last thing Apple wants is a company producing low-cost knockoffs.

Apple will likely center on the use of Leopard: The operating system’s software license forbids it being installed on non-Apple hardware.

Psystar’s butt-ugly OpenMac claims to be a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo machine with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, integrated Intel graphics, a DVD burner and four USB Ports. Most of the components can be upgraded with better graphics or bigger hard drives. Psystar says:

12 responses to “Miami Company Offers Low-Cost Mac Knock-Off — Apple Lawsuit Sure to Follow”

  1. Dann says:

    I can’t get either of the Psystar pages to load, but the synopsis certainly was interesting. Many questions still remain, however. Does it have a wireless card? Bluetooth? FireWire? What about expandable bays? Graphics options? Mac users are used to their software being able to take full advantage of their hardware (or vice versa), and if this knock-off is too stripped down, it will do nothing but cheapen the Mac experience. At the very least this company shows that (if legit) a budget-priced, expandable Mac tower is feasible. Apple should take note and, if possible, improve and perfect.

  2. Bram says:

    It isn’t really butt-ugly at all, I mean the tower part is but over all, except for that blue light, it looks pretty good.

  3. Jeff says:

    Whoo.

    Once you buy Leopard and iLife it’s up to $607. Ok, so it’s got better specs than the $599 mini, but there goes the whole “I could make a Mac for half the price” argument you hear all the time.

    Really, that’s who it’s hoping to attract…people who don’t want to pay Apple’s prices. Turning that around and saying “Well, you’re still paying Apple prices, but we’ll give you slightly BETTER tech specs!” isn’t really going to thrill that crowd.

    So who’s it going to impress?

    This is all assuming the thing survices the next OS update without mysteriously losing functionality. A big “if” there.

  4. Doug S. says:

    According to the arstechnica article (http://arstechnica.com/journal…, they’re not guaranteeing that all software updates will work. So that kind of addresses Jeff’s question about OS updates. In other words: “Ya feelin’ lucky, punk?”

  5. leigh says:

    Dude… what people always forget about Apple, is that it’s the Design. Which is why it wouldn’t matter even if Apple licensed OS X for the PC (something they’d never do).

    I’m a relatively new convert, and I bought my MB Pro on a lark. My expectation was fully that I’d probably wind up running Windows on it.

    But I got the machine because it was the finest Intel laptop in the world (now of course there isn’t a windows machine in my house, and I write at a place called, Cult of Mac –I guess converts do make the best evangelists ;) ).

  6. C Rolls says:

    I agree with some of my fellow readers — though the initial price tag is modest, the price fails to cover the cost of Leopard and iLife (not to mention the fact that it is likely that users won’t be able to update). I would assume that most computer users by now have realized that usability is worth the cost. I’d rather pay a little bit more and have a working machine than try to save a few pennies and have an unsupported knockoff.