Defiant Psystar plays monopoly card as it resumes selling unauthorized ‘Mac clones’

“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 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 ‘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.


  1. I suppose it was inevitable that someone was going to try this. The folks who are screaming that Macs are too expensive (yet will stop at nothing from using OS X), will run to their nearest landfill, grab all the computer parts they can and cobble together some sad device. Then they will complain loudly that OS X sucks because it barely works.

  2. I remember (several years ago) about another “clone-maker” … who made a liquid-cooled dual G4.. I think it was called Extreme Mac … and they were operating out of ßweden (I think) …
    At any rate their business model was… they build the machines.. and you were responsible for buying the Mac OS…
    Couldnt this work for these guys ?

  3. So why isn’t anything being done about the oil companies? What other “good” or “service” can be found on every street corner to power your vehicle? It’s a monopoly in itself and has been for decades yet no one in politics or business seems to care. So why go after these little guys then? There are at least 3 major OS’s out there you can run on your computer, Windows, OS X, and Linux.

  4. I don’t really see how they call it a mac clone… I mean ok, they will install leopard on it and it has the compatible hardware for that but seriously…Does it really look anything like something apple would design? It does look better than a lot of those insanely ugly alienware PC boxes but come on it does not look like an apple product. Either way Apple will kick their ass if they go to court. Psystar probably should take not that apple has a spare 18.5 billion sitting around waiting to be spent. Good luck at trial.

  5. Even if these guys were to get away with it, which I can’t imagine they will, I’m not sure they would take much business away from Apple. I don’t think anybody that was going to buy a Macbook would suddenly change their minds and buy one of these things. The harm would come from having OSX associated with junky hardware

  6. @Nobama

    “Risky risky risky”

    No, I wouldn’t buy either.

    AFAIK, these aren’t _that_ much cheaper if you add in all the extras. Doubtless you would save money and, while Apple’s margins are pretty healthy, these people would have had to cut their margins to do that. So what level of customer service would you be getting? It wouldn’t take many calls to customer service for their margin to be eaten up — which is why the quality of customer service from Dell and the likes has gone down and down and finally been offshored.

    Anyone want a bet that Psystar’s customer service know less about OS X than Dell’s customer service do about Windows? What are they going to tell you if you’ve got problems? Google it?

    Their response to updates is to say:

    Can I run updates on my OpenMac?

    The answer is yes and no. No because there are some updates that are decidedly non-safe. Yes because most updates are not non-safe. It’s best to check on InsanelyMac for this information but when in doubt don’t update it. You may have to reinstall your OS X if it is a non-safe update.

    Gee, how reassuring.

  7. Even if they can get around the EU agreement and legally sell them Apple doesn’t have to support them. Who the hell is going to buy a computer that doesn’t have support from the people that make the OS???????

  8. People are better off spending $599 getting a nice Mac Mini (which looks a hell of a lot nicer than Psystar’s system – IMHO) which also gets them a copy of iLife too. Plus they have piece of mind knowing they can apply software upgrades. This really is a no brainer.

    The only thing I fault Apple on is not adverting the Mac Mini. It’s a GREAT intro machine and is well engineered.


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