“Psystar is back online selling ‘white-box’ Macs with a few subtle changes, and one employee has already played the monopoly card,” Tom Krazit writes for CNET.

“Since they brought it up, let’s review the basic definition of a monopoly, shall we? And remember, there’s nothing illegal about having a monopoly, it’s only when you use that monopoly for nefarious purposes do you get pinched,” Krazit writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Thank Jobs that somebody else is out there explaining that a monopoly is not illegal, but abusing it is. Right, Microsoft?

Krazit continues, “The business section of Answers.com says, ‘A monopoly is a market condition in which a single seller controls the entire output of a particular good or service. A firm is a monopoly if it is the sole seller of its product and if its product has no close substitutes. Close substitutes are those goods that could closely take the place of a particular good; for example, a Pepsi soft drink would be a close substitute for a Coke drink, but a juice drink would not.'”

“Debate the aesthetics all you want, but I’d argue that Windows and Linux are, for the purposes of personal computing, close substitutes to Mac OS X. They can run a personal computer. They can connect you to the Internet. They can run a basic suite of productivity applications,” Krazit writes. “You may prefer Mac OS X for a variety of reasons, but Apple’s requirement that you can only run Mac OS X on Apple hardware doesn’t prevent you from using a personal computer.”

“The meat of Psystar’s sales pitch is that they can sell you a Mac for cheaper than Apple. So let’s consider the third element of a monopoly: the ability to set prices,” Krazit writes. “Again from Answers.com: ‘The major difference between a monopoly and a competitive firm is the monopoly’s ability to influence the price of its output. Because a competitive firm is small relative to the market, the price of its product is determined by market conditions.'”

Krazit writes, “There’s a long-standing argument about whether or not Macs are more expensive pound-for-pound with Windows PCs. But however you slice it, Apple doesn’t have the ability to force people to pay astronomical prices for the Mac; if Macs cost four times as much as similarly configured Windows PCs, no one would buy them.”

MacDailyNews Take: We certainly would (we’d just keep our Macs in service even longer than we do now).

Krazit continues, “I think they’re tilting at windmills, but I’d be very interested to see if Psystar has the wherewithal (and the cash) needed to finance a legal test of Apple’s end-user license agreement for Leopard. Courts have ruled on specific provisions within EULAs, but it doesn’t appear that the general concept has really been tested under U.S. law. Maybe it’s time. But until that day, companies are not required to sell products simply because somebody wants that product.”

There is more in the full article – recommended – here.