Reseller's website offline following pledge of $400 Mac clone

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
The website of a Miami-based networking and security solutions reseller became inaccessible Monday, shortly after the company began advertising an unauthorized Mac clone for a fraction of the cost of Apple's cheapest system.



Dubbed OpenMac, the $400 offering from Psystar Corporation is described as "a low-cost high-performance computing platform" based on the ongoing OSX86Project -- a hacker-based initiative aimed at maintaining a version of the Mac OS X operating system for everyday PCs.



The 'basic' OpenMac is capable of running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Psystar says, and includes a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo microprocessor, 2GB of DDR2 667 RAM, an integrated Intel GMA 950 Graphics card, 20x DVD+/-R drive, 4 USB ports, and a 250GB 7200RPM drive. However, the Psystar online store also lists several upgrade options, including FireWire ports, a 2.66GHz processor, and a nVidia GeForce 8600GT 512MB graphics card.



"When comparing base configurations, [Apple's] Mac Mini costs 150% of the price of the OpenMac while offering poorer performance, smaller storage space, and RAM," the company wrote. "Not only that but the Mac Mini doesn't have the option for an nVidia GeForce 8600 video card like the OpenMac does so playing games on it is a lost cause."



Unfortunately for Psystar, its offering is only likely to test the response time of Apple's legal department. The reseller told MacLife that while it has yet to receive a correspondence from the Cupertino-based Mac maker, it would be "ready" to respond.



At issue is Section 2A of the Mac OS X End User License Agreement (EULA), which stipulates that users are allowed "to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time." As such, the OpenMac (and any other Mac system based on non-Apple hardware) would appear to stand in direct violation of Apple's terms.



Although Apple ran an authorized Mac clone program for a stint of about two years in the mid-to-late 90's, its stance has remained that of disapproval ever since chief executive Steve Jobs put an end to Mac OS X licensing with the release of Mac OS 8.0.



Still, curiosity over Psystar's offering was enough to knock the reseller's website offline for most of the day. The company said its web traffic peaked at over 30,000 hits per second on Monday, causing an outage and prompting it to begin handling customer orders for the OpenMac via email.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 235
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Well, I know lots of folks here are going to say that Apple can't afford to offer OSX customer service to computers they don't build, or something like that, and that might be true - if they did, they might end up with similar, or worse, customer service and quality issues than Microsoft has.



    That said, it would be great if it was possible to have an OSX desktop that sacrificed the pretty plastic form-factor of the existing Apple-built options for a super-cheap mid-tower option as this company was trying to do.





    This model was basically the same specs as an iMac and much, much cheaper than even an old macmini. I wonder what it would cost them to build something closer to a Mac Pro?
  • Reply 2 of 235
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,524member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    Well, I know lots of folks here are going to say that Apple can't afford to offer OSX customer service to computers they don't build, or something like that, and that might be true - if they did, they might end up with similar, or worse, customer service and quality issues than Microsoft has.



    That said, it would be great if it was possible to have an OSX desktop that sacrificed the pretty plastic form-factor of the existing Apple-built options for a super-cheap mid-tower option as this company was trying to do.





    This model was basically the same specs as an iMac and much, much cheaper than even an old macmini. I wonder what it would cost them to build something closer to a Mac Pro?



    I don't think the $400 included OS X or iLIfe, which are included in the price of a mini.

    Their price comparison was a little deceptive in my opinion.
  • Reply 3 of 235
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    You don't need Psystar to build you a Hackintosh. There is an entire community out there with rated HW and associated KEXTs so you know what you should buy before you buy it. And you can do it cheaper than Psystar. Of course, you can't run the store bought copy of OS X that they were offering. I'm not sure how they accomplished that.
  • Reply 4 of 235
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    I don't think the $400 included OS X or iLIfe, which are included in the price of a mini.

    Their price comparison was a little deceptive in my opinion.



    Well, the article says it would be running OSX, but even if it doesn't come with it, adding both Leopard and iLife would bring the total to $630. The clone has the following specs : 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB of DDR2 memory, Integrated Intel GMA 950 Graphics, 20x DVD+/-R Drive, four USB ports and a 250GB 7200RPM drive, which is double the hard drive size, doube the memory, and a faster processor than the $800 Mini.



    Still, a savings of at least $170 for double the memory and storage plus a faster processor, and maybe most importantly, the ability to upgrade, and all at the sacrifice of form factor means a pretty damn good deal, in my opinion for somebody looking at a budget-type computer that at some point might want to upgrade to something with a bit more juice.



    Another cool thing about this system that hasn't been mentioned, is that in 3 years from now when Apple is only offering the latest 2011 Intel processor, it'll be possible to upgrade to a 2010 processor and increase power for what should be pretty low prices.
  • Reply 5 of 235
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    Apple, please make us a QUIET Mac miniTOWER with FireWire 800 and 7200 rpm disks inside.
  • Reply 6 of 235
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You don't need Psystar to build you a Hackintosh. There is an entire community out there with rated HW and associated KEXTs so you know what you should buy before you buy it. And you can do it cheaper than Psystar. Of course, you can't run the store bought copy of OS X that they were offering. I'm not sure how they accomplished that.



    I guess they are banking on people not wanting to muck with the hacks themselves and being willing to pay someone else to do it for them..and still be cheaper than a direct from Apple option.



    I really wonder how they think Apple would let them get away with offering OSX pre-installed on these machines. That is a blatant violation of the EULA. Now, if they were to offer the box and detailed instructions on how to get OSX on there, maybe that would take the legal onus off of them and put it onto the consumer, whom Apple is unlikely to sue. On the other hand, I could imagine someone wanting to push this with Apple to force an anti-trust action. Apple is a monopoly player, within their market, on both hardware and OS, and is using this monopoly to limit customer choices within this market. I doubt an anti-trust suit would be successful and certain it would be beyond the financial abilities of a small company to follow through on, but it would be interesting.
  • Reply 7 of 235
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    Well, the article says it would be running OSX,



    arstechnica article says they offered OSX preloaded.
  • Reply 8 of 235
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    I don't think the $400 included OS X or iLIfe, which are included in the price of a mini.

    Their price comparison was a little deceptive in my opinion.



    It seems like it would almost have to come with OS X if they were expecting to sell them. Of course, maybe they were offering just the hardware with whatever software the OSX86 Project required to run OS 10.5. That would be one way for the company to avoid violating the EULA. Then it would up to the purchaser to supply the copy of the Mac OS (and in the process violate the EULA).



    To try to reach the base model of the clone brings the Apple price to $949 ($100 for an extra GB of RAM and $50 to get to 160GB HD which is still 90GB short of the clone's HD size)...compare that to their $400 + $129 for the OS = $529...heck throw in iLife for another $79 still only brings you to $608...which still makes the Mac Mini cost over 50% more than the clone.



    Which would I rather buy, the clone or the Mini? (If you guessed the Mini, try again)
  • Reply 9 of 235
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    I really wonder how they think Apple would let them get away with offering OSX pre-installed on these machines. That is a blatant violation of the EULA. Now, if they were to offer the box and detailed instructions on how to get OSX on there, maybe that would take the legal onus off of them and put it onto the consumer, whom Apple is unlikely to sue. On the other hand, I could imagine someone wanting to push this with Apple to force an anti-trust action. Apple is a monopoly player, within their market, on both hardware and OS, and is using this monopoly to limit customer choices within this market. I doubt an anti-trust suit would be successful and certain it would be beyond the financial abilities of a small company to follow through on, but it would be interesting.



    The End-User license agreement is just that - an agreement with the "End User", not the manufacturer or necessarily the installer. The only person who can violate is whoever buys it. Apple would have to take the company to court to get lists of purchasers, and then sue the individual users, which would be difficult and time consuming.



    Does anyone know of any instances of a company actually suing for breach of EULA? I know that all of the recent piracy lawsuits have involved copyright law exclusively and not breach of EULA...
  • Reply 10 of 235
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zunx View Post


    Apple, please make us a QUIET Mac miniTOWER with FireWire 800 and 7200 rpm disks inside.



    I think that you should add to the list that it should NOT use laptop parts (CPU, RAM, HD, etc. should be desktop components).
  • Reply 11 of 235
    dr_lhadr_lha Posts: 236member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    ... brings you to $608...which still makes the Mac Mini cost over 50% more than the clone.



    Yes, but with the mini you are not just paying for a low end machine, you're paying for the form factor. How much would a PC with the same form factor and specs as a $599 Mac mini cost?
  • Reply 12 of 235
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    The End-User license agreement is just that - an agreement with the "End User", not the manufacturer or necessarily the installer. The only person who can violate is whoever buys it. Apple would have to take the company to court to get lists of purchasers, and then sue the individual users, which would be difficult and time consuming.



    Does anyone know of any instances of a company actually suing for breach of EULA? I know that all of the recent piracy lawsuits have involved copyright law exclusively and not breach of EULA...



    Unless they have a license as a reseller from Apple, I would think that they would be considered the end user at the time they install OS X.
  • Reply 13 of 235
    Their site is still up.







    I love how they say they can get you a Mac Pro at Mini prices...





    Have these idiots priced the Quad Core Penryns?
  • Reply 14 of 235
    Man, I was wondering how long it would take AI to post this article... We've been talking about it all day on MacRumors.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You don't need Psystar to build you a Hackintosh. There is an entire community out there with rated HW and associated KEXTs so you know what you should buy before you buy it. And you can do it cheaper than Psystar. Of course, you can't run the store bought copy of OS X that they were offering. I'm not sure how they accomplished that.



    Actually now you can use your store-bought copy of Leopard. You build the PC, patch your store-bought leopard, utilize some EFI-emulation, and viola.



    If you looked at the OSx86 project long ago and decided it wasn't worth it, you should give it another look. There've been a lot of advancements in the last few months.



    -Clive
  • Reply 15 of 235
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post


    Man, I was wondering how long it would take AI to post this article... We've been talking about it all day on MacRumors.







    Actually now you can use your store-bought copy of Leopard. You build the PC, patch your store-bought leopard, utilize some EFI-emulation, and viola.



    If you looked at the OSx86 project long ago and decided it wasn't worth it, you should give it another look. There've been a lot of advancements in the last few months.



    -Clive



    SWIM has been using Hackintosh for quite awhile, though (s)he never updated to Leopard because things were working so well with 10.4.10. Though (s)he hasn't looked at the sites for about 4 months now. I'll let (s)he know, thanks.
  • Reply 16 of 235
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Despite appearances, Apple is a hardware company. The purpose of the software is to add value to the hardware. Sure, they sell some software like Aperture, Final Cut, etc. But OSX and iLife are all about selling you the hardware. That's the reason they can sell you Leopard for $129 vs MS selling Vista for hundreds more. Apple makes their money on the hardware (that goes for computers, iPods, iPhones, etc).



    If they let other companies sell the hardware, we'd start seeing OS upgrades costing more and there would start to be draconian activitation processes like Windows has to prevent piracy. As it is, Apple is pretty liberal with their OS. You never have to enter an license codes or anything to install (unlike their professional apps).
  • Reply 17 of 235
    akhomerunakhomerun Posts: 386member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Superbass View Post


    Well, the article says it would be running OSX, but even if it doesn't come with it, adding both Leopard and iLife would bring the total to $630. The clone has the following specs : 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB of DDR2 memory, Integrated Intel GMA 950 Graphics, 20x DVD+/-R Drive, four USB ports and a 250GB 7200RPM drive, which is double the hard drive size, doube the memory, and a faster processor than the $800 Mini.



    Still, a savings of at least $170 for double the memory and storage plus a faster processor, and maybe most importantly, the ability to upgrade, and all at the sacrifice of form factor means a pretty damn good deal, in my opinion for somebody looking at a budget-type computer that at some point might want to upgrade to something with a bit more juice.



    Another cool thing about this system that hasn't been mentioned, is that in 3 years from now when Apple is only offering the latest 2011 Intel processor, it'll be possible to upgrade to a 2010 processor and increase power for what should be pretty low prices.



    yeah but with memory prices how they are right now that's a non-issue, the processor speed is a non-issue since they are both core 2 duos, and the $170 price difference doesn't take into account the lack of support from apple, lack of a 1 year warranty from apple, and likelihood of the whole system being broken by a single update.



    it doesn't really beat the mac mini. but really a lot of apple fans want a midrange desktop tower.



    i won't even say say apple needs to make one, though. desktops are dead to the consumer, and that's unfortunate because they are still the best choice for enthusiasts. so apple is perfectly happy selling gazillions of macbooks.
  • Reply 18 of 235
    LOL, they charge you an OSX install fee.





    For the entry level model, it's $604.99



    Base $399.99

    Firewire + $50.00

    OSX Installed +$155.00



    Total $604.99







  • Reply 19 of 235
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    SWIM has been using Hackintosh for quite awhile, though SWIM never updated to Leopard because things were working so well with 10.4.10. Though SWIM hasn't looked at the sites for about 4 months now. I'll let SWIM know, thanks.



    So can you ask SWIY how GarageBand and pro-app performance is on his/her hackintosh? I haven't - I mean, SWIM hasn't had an opportunity to get his/her PC prepped for his/her hackintosh implementation yet. (S)he'd really like to know.



    -Clive
  • Reply 20 of 235
    superbasssuperbass Posts: 688member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post


    yeah but with memory prices how they are right now that's a non-issue, the processor speed is a non-issue since they are both core 2 duos



    It'll still cost $100 bucks to upgrade the memory on a mini, and processor speed would be an issue to a lot of users.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post


    it doesn't really beat the mac mini.



    Maybe be not in terms of size, but in prices, individual components and upgrade ability it does



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akhomerun View Post


    desktops are dead to the consumer



    You're funny!
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