PC World: Is Psystar’s judicial deathblow a win for consumers?

The New Mac mini “Mac-clone maker Psystar was dealt a deathblow on Saturday after a federal judge said the company infringed on Apple’s Mac OS X operating system copyright,” Ian Paul reports for PC World. “With Psystar on its way out of the Mac OS X game, Apple regains full control over its products, and for the foreseeable future only Cupertino will decide which hardware its operating system will run on.”

MacDailyNews Note: Please see related article: Apple wins sweeping victory, crushes would-be ‘Mac cloner’ Psystar in court – November 14, 2009

Paul continues, “How does Apple’s total control over its OS impact me? On the one hand, you know what to expect when you buy a Mac computer. You know you are getting a high-quality device that requires little maintenance and is ready to go just minutes after you take it out of the box for the first time. You also have a fantastic support service through Apple’s retail stores across the United States and throughout the world. But you’re going to pay a premium to take advantage of all the Mac has to offer. Apple’s cheapest desktop model that includes a monitor, keyboard, and CPU is the 21.5-inch iMac for $1200. Psystar’s base desktop bundle with OS X starts at $600, the same cost as Apple’s Mac Mini, which doesn’t come with either a keyboard or monitor.”

MacDailyNews Note: Actually, if you’re trying to get a Mac on the cheap, you get the Mac mini and any old monitor, keyboard, and mouse with acceptable specs and prices. You can get a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for very little, but let’s say $200 total for semi-decent examples of each. Those, plus the $599 for the Mac mini, costs $799 total, not $1200. Even better, Apple Certified Refurbished Macs are excellent quality and you can find some very, very good deals – especially around new and upgraded product announcements.

Paul continues, “And that’s really the crux of the whole debate. A lot of people may want to own a Mac, but Apple’s high prices make it hard to justify spending $1000 on a 13-inch laptop, when you can buy a similar Windows machine for two-thirds that price–albeit with downgraded specs.”

MacDailyNews Take: Sigh. Paul doesn’t get it at all. To illustrate: A lot of people may want to own a BMW, but BMW’s high prices make it hard to justify spending $35,000 on a 3 series sedan, when you can buy a similar Pontiac sedan for two-thirds that price–albeit with downgraded specs.

Paul continues, “Personally, I’m happy with my Mac computer and although I’ve had a few minor problems, I can’t really say I’m unhappy with Apple’s significant control over my computing experience. But then again, isn’t there something instinctively wrong about accepting a system or product, regardless of its quality, that reduces consumer choice?”

MacDailyNews Take: No, Ian, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying and using a superior Apple Mac. To put it simply: If you can’t afford it and/or are unable to grasp the value equation, then an Apple Macintosh is not for you. You want the Pontiac of personal computers and any old Windows PC box assembler will do.

Full article here.


  1. Choice isn’t what its cracked up to be if it results in Windows, or Dell Service, etc.

    Apple’s product quality is a direct result of its control over the production and service support consumers depend on.

    The ONLY ones that will cry about this are uber geeks that must tinker with everything they buy, and those that truly can’t afford a Mac. There are far more of the former than there are of the latter.

  2. “Apple’s cheapest desktop model that includes a monitor, keyboard, and CPU is the 21.5-inch iMac for $1200. Psystar’s base desktop bundle with OS X starts at $600, the same cost as Apple’s Mac Mini, which doesn’t come with either a keyboard or monitor.”

    Actually, it is even cheaper to break into some retail outlet and steal a Mac.
    This is even better than a Psystar box, and cheaper!
    And it relies on the same principle as Psystar does. stealing.

  3. MDN take,

    “You want the Pontiac of personal computers and any old Windows PC box assembler will do.”

    Massive insult to GM in general and Pontiacs in particular.

    I would have compared a cheap PC box with Windows to a Yugo myself.

  4. Restrictions on Choice through history:

    Ford Model T: Any color you like so long as it’s black.

    Mac OS X: Any hardware you like so long as it’s Apple.

    Dell/HP: Any OS you like so long as it’s Windows.

    Coke Machine: Any soda you like so long as it’s Pepsi free.

    Republicans: Any congressional bill you like so long as it’s Pelosi free. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Stalin: Any gulag you like so long as it’s Siberia.

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand: Any country you like so long as it’s <a href=”” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grrr” style=”border:0;” /> (What? Too soon?)

  5. “…and for the foreseeable future only Cupertino will decide which hardware its operating system will run on.”

    How f-ing stupid. Who else should decide that? PC World?

    That’s like complaining about Burger King having an exclusive on Whopper sales. Just stupid.

  6. Wow, hard to believe someone can print this dribble!!

    If you work really and design a great product an some moron finds it “instinctively wrong” to pay your price then you should have to give your hard earned product to some other hack to sell.

    On what planet does that make sense??

  7. “Consumer choice” code words, for bash Apple, that MS has injected into the braindead.

    I wonder what these same braindead think when they are offered over 100k apps in the AppStore, and compare that with the few thousand in the WinMo/Zune Marketplace? Where’s all the consumer choice?

  8. This wasn’t about Psystar – it was about 3rd parties being able to take and use the Mac OS. If Psystar could do it, so could dell and HP and Acer and the whole thing falls apart because there would be no advantage for Apple to put R and D into an OS for the benefit of others. They don’t want to be Microsoft. I don’t want them to be Microsoft.
    Consumers win because Apple makes a great OS and great products. As soon as they become Microsoft, everything turns to crap. Why does everyone think that good things should be cheap? 20 shares of Apple stock bought last year would have paid for a new computer for you. Apple Computers are Free for those who invest in Apple. It pays to invest in quality.

  9. Apple is in a great recovery position and I think is great. Even going up so hight that it deserve all its credits. Apple now has a ton of cash and experience to make sure everything goes really smooth. I’ve been a Mac user for more than a decade and I managed to survive the worst years with enough satisfaction. Even so I believe Apple should stay very focused on its product lines (as it surely does). But I did not have a very good experience with Snow Leopard and I am still expecting the true 64 bit system from top to bottom. The 64 bit experience is coming, but how about the Snow Leopard failures?. It costed me a hole day reinstalling everything the way I needed with migration assistant and manual installation. And before that the upgrade was not what I had in mind, besides recovering some disk space and some other nice features. I know the first incarnation of every mayor upgrade comes with failures. But, still Snow Leopard was announced by Apple as a Performance upgrade.

    I don’t pay any attention at all to marketing: Apple or every other company. I do my research and that is how I pick up the solutions I think are the best for my needs. And is ok with me if Apple or any other company creates a big fancy campaign as long as they bring the quality we are expecting.

    So Apple is right to defend its products and I never believed Psystar was any serious in its intentions and because we are sold to the idea of a closed system in control from the same company.

    Ok Apple. But now You have a lot of resources and well deserved recognition and success. So I expect the highest quality experience from the only product from you I really care: My Mac.

    Here is what I need:
    I want more graphic card options and faster to marked results.
    I think we should have better SSD options. All of them.
    Real 64 bit from top to bottom as soon as possible including 3rd party software.
    I don’t care at all about cosmetic features in the OS even as a graphic artist and as a user I appreciate all the effort. I want stability, stability, stability… A water proof system that allows me to grow with comfort and reability. That is how I see the computer business today and into the future. And I hope Apple is the right company to bring me that experience for years to come.

  10. If $999 is too much, why not get last year’s used MacBook for $600? It’s as good and better as/than a $600 laptop using Celeron technology, and it weighs half of what our Windows brethren (am I being social or what?) have to schlepp around, with twice the battery life.
    On a sad note, our G4 iBook passed away today from a broken hard drive. At six years of age, it was far too young (snif!). Survivors include my iMacSEHD (*1991), PB165 (*1994), PB1400 (*1997), and PBG3/266 (*1998).

  11. The HARDWARE is part of the Mac experience, and should STAY that way.
    Putting their OS on a cheap hardware DELL is asking for trouble,
    just as Google’s Android is being put on super-multiple hardware devices that are going to get cheaper and cheaper in quality.
    Google’s going to get some smartphone marketshare, but not without quality problems from the hardware. They simply can’t control it, so I hope they get their money shortterm.

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