Hello, Apple? Unsanctioned Mac clones surface for sale on eBay

“A recent move by a little-known Florida-based solutions provider to openly challenge Apple on its Mac OS X licensing terms and begin selling an unauthorized Mac clone appears to have spawned a copycat,” Slash Lane reports for AppleInsider.

“A seller by the name of ‘chris555’ is now offering on eBay a $549 ‘Non Apple Mac OS X’ system that comes ‘pre-loaded with genuine Mac OS X 10.5.’ Two such systems are currently available for direct purchase, the seller says,” Lane reports.

“Apple, which has historically been quick to thwart attempts on the part of grey marketers to distribute imitations products, has been uncharacteristically silent on the matter. This despite Psystar’s open invitation to the Mac maker to formally charge it with a violation of the Mac OS X licensing terms in a court of law,” Lane reports.

Full article here.

Apple has been uncharacteristically silent on the matter because Psystar is an Apple plant, placed or silently sanctioned by the Cupertino Mac-maker as a market test. Just kidding. Silly us! Apple’s probably just asleep at the wheel (this company is always just sooo unaware of what’s going on), or they’re formulating a complex, totally new and unique legal strategy for a very simple matter that they’ve already repeatedly faced before, or maybe they’re just wishing on a star for a hundred pink unicorns to stampede Psystar’s Florida based warehouse.


  1. I also think that if Psystar actually sell more than a few machines the boom will fall.

    This is a crippled, crappy product with no software upgrade potential and missing a stack of software and features that buyers expect in a real Mac.

    If it’s really a kid building them in his bedroom and the deamnd is more than two he’ll run of liquor store boxes and packing peanuts soon and stop.

  2. I was wondering when the copycats would start surfacing… seeing no reaction from Apple, they seem to think it’s full speed ahead.

    I’ve started thinking that Psystar has some verrrrry shady connections (think Russian mafia) which Apple doesn’t want to mess with – putting technological obstacles in the way of these folks, rather than challenging them directly, would indeed be the healthiest course of action if that’s the case.

    Microsoft, by making Windows such a security joke, has given a frightening amount of power to big cybercrime operators – they can command whole armies of zombie computers at will. With Apple starting to eat into the established base of Windows users, those cybercriminals can’t be happy. Selling their own Mac “clones” – with specially-hacked installations of OS X which they can control by updates from their own site – is probably one of the short-term options they’re pursuing to maintain their power.

    I may be reading into things here, but with Apple’s continued silence and (apparent) inaction on this matter, this is one of the few scenarios which seems to fit what’s happening. I hope I’m wrong!

  3. @cptnkirk
    I think you are right.

    Other then that, I think Apple doesn’t have to do much. These systems suck big time. Macworld bought one, when they booted it for the first time, the thing made a horrible grinding noise. They pulled the plug. When they opened the case, they found a weir had been misplaced and it was grading against one of the obnoxiously loud fans.

    How is that for first impressions.

  4. @Victor Meldrew: Hey MDN…”so” has only one “o” in it!

    And “sooo” has more than one ‘o’. Note how MDN were so careful as to italicise this word.

    So Victor “I can’t believe it!” Meldrew, talking about ‘o’s about which, remember the Two Ronnies hardware store sketch about ‘o’s, ‘p’s and ‘four candles’?

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  5. It’s also possible that Apple may be really worried that if they were to actually have to battle this out in court that they might lose.

    If a court decides that Apple has no legal right to prevent others from making and selling computers that run OSX it will complicate their business strategy.

    With this question in legal limbo it will be up to the cloners to sue Apple into supporting the clones.

    I’m guessing that no one really wants to go to court here – except perhaps the fools who buy these hack-macs with some expectation of support.

  6. Apple is silent because this is weeeel below their radar (with multiple Es, italicised). Think about it: extremely small-time operator, advertising absolutely nowhere (outside of the minuscule circle of Mac fanatics who trawl Mac-oriented news sides, who has ever heard of them?) and it is unlikely that he would sell more than a few dozen boxes, mostly to enthusiasts who don’t want to bother putting together their own hackintosh by themselves.

    The guy on eBay is thinking exactly the same way. Apple is busy doing more important things than to waste time, effort and money on something as inconsequential as this. Eventually, they’ll shut him down and take all his profits from the operation (if he even makes any).

  7. Ronnie Barker—I don’t have that daft Honda any more and I quit using TCP!
    Yes, yes, yes I bloody well remember that sketch! What the hell do you think made me go off again anyway?

    God all mighty! I don’t believe it!

  8. Let’s not make any mistake about it: there is a 5-foot stack of legal precedents on Apple’s side, one from their own case history (1984, Circuit Court of Appeals, Apple v. Formula International), where some guy(s) tried to build and sell computer kits that were compatible with Apple II software under the name ‘Pineapple’; they supposedly wrote their OWN operating system that was too similar to Apple’s. They were sued and lost. Since 1984, copyright law was only strengthened in the US.

    As I said, this is so inconsequential for Apple, they have other things to work on (3G iPhone?).

  9. I was wondering when the copycats would start surfacing… seeing no reaction from Apple

    Apple’s reaction will be called Mac OS X 10.5.3.

    Good luck to the cloners when their machines break.

  10. Hmmm, considering Steve’s tendency for skunk-works projects…

    What if OS X has some little hardware check feature that Apple can turn on remotely (or quietly via Software Update). What if the check then hobbles or kills OS X installs on non-Apple hardware?

    Maybe Apple will fight the clones, maybe they won’t. Hardly seems like a chance worth taking.

  11. “What if OS X has some little hardware check feature that Apple can turn on remotely (or quietly via Software Update). What if the check then hobbles or kills OS X installs on non-Apple hardware?”

    Sounds a little too much like Windows Genuine Advantage. Apple flicks the switch and bricks half the genuine Macs along with the clones.

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