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. @hager
    our Mac family feels your loss 🙁
    one of our family members (early 2006 iMac) has been in ICU for a little over a week, with a bad HD, but luckly a compatible 500GB HD as been located and we expect to pick up our beloved iMac mañana

  2. You can’t get a similarly spec’d Windows PC for 2/3 the price of a Mac laptop. There aren’t any made from billet aluminum, they don’t have the same hardware features, or if they do have the same ports, etc., they cost as much or more in a plastic case.

    You can’t compare different spec’d products and declare one superior, better, or a better value when the cheaper one is missing features included on the more expensive one.

  3. MDN’s responses are illogical – but I’m glad the wider MSM is picking up on the points I have raised.

    Customers bought into the Apple Mac experience and committed substantial amounts of their time and money in doing so. So ‘Windows’ (and whatever product that OS is connected with) is not an option.

    The experience many people were attracted to and so committed to once included a broad Apple product range – offering choice and the ability of most users to broadly compile kit which closely met their needs.

    Apple has now severely contracted its product range KNOWING that its installed OS customer base is contractually tied to it and that many of those customers have made huge financial commitments to the OS and have so become dependent upon it.

    Apple now acts to close down any free-market attempt by other companies to meet customers needs by supplying the hardware options that Apple once used to sell (and through doing so gained customer commitment to its OS).

    Apple’s court action against Psystar may appear to be victory against a small start-up company – but make no mistake… it is really a victory against the customer – ripping away from the market any broadened alternative (for which there is a very real demand and very real holes to be filled) and further forcing the customer to buy exclusively from Apple’s own tiny product range of shiney ‘Pretty-Boy-Johnny’ boxes.

    Meanwhile, the customers whose needs are no longer met by the company are ignored – Apple knowing the customer is ‘locked in’.

  4. Why do people think they are entitled to everything the world has to offer? If you don’t have the money or can’t justify spending the money for a Mac, then you don’t get one! It’s as simple as that! Apple doesn’t owe you anything and certainly shouldn’t make a sub-par product just to cater you.

  5. Twenty Benson –
    What the hell are you talking about? Apple has NEVER sold cheap computers. Their target market has always been the same. And Psystar was not a “free-market attempt” to offer “hardware options” Apple once offered. It was an ILLEGAL attempt to profit from Apple’s biggest asset – Mac OS X. Idiot.

  6. “Please stop comparing Pontiacs to PCs. Really there were some shining examples recently. Perhaps equate PCs to something less loved and more known for breaking down. How about a Trabant?”

    I concur. While there might be some nice comparisons of GM to Micro$oft, not even Chevrolet is served well by comparison to the tepid box assemblers. Trabant is a good match. So is the Cimarron.

  7. Tony –
    Who mentioned ‘cheap’? I didn’t (except when pointing out how cheap the remarkable ‘netbooks’ are to someone who was thinking of getting one).

    I would gladly still pay the free-market rate for the broad range of products Apple once used to offer its customers and now refuses to.

    I think it’s ‘cheap’ – as in a ‘cheap trick’ – that Apple locked in a customer-base using such a product range and then withdraws it and stops those customers using alternative suppliers to meet their needs.

    You can call me an ‘idiot’ for championing the free-market in this way – but at least I’m not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  8. i love the comments like “you can do what you want, if Jobs thinks you should”.

    i can write papers, make slideshow presentations, spreadsheets, databases. I can email, surf the web, video chat with my cousins overseas, I can edit my photos, edit movies, write music. I even just kicked my brother’s high score in World of Warcraft.

    So what is Jobs telling me that I can’t do. I can’t burn a blue-ray. bull. nothing is blocking me from using an external drive and my copy of Toast. Jobs and boys didn’t block me from it. I can’t buy a movie on itunes and burn it. well that’s not Jobs, that’s the studios saying no. and so on.

    and I could get the same hardware for a third the price if I went PC. but I’ve never met a PC that lasted 8 years. Have met several Macs. And I like that I have a place to go where the people aren’t talking out of their butts cause they don’t want to admit they don’t know and figure you are stupid and won’t figure out they are making stuff up. So I’ll pay that “Apple Tax” gladly.

    And unlike some of you, I don’t demand that Apple does things my way or it’s crap.

  9. Ok, im gonna be rude. What about this comparison: I man comes to you and says: “Hey, you don’t have any exclusive rights on your wife! Either you license her to me or i take her against your will and use her with my own HARD-ware…

  10. This article is just debate bait. Of course consumer lose some option, but then again running OS/X on non-approved apple hardware would not be the same anyway, and it would not be fair to apple for people to report issues with the operating system when not running on apple hardware. So ultimately I get what I pay for. Now, if some people can’t afford a mac, well, I’m sorry, but I can’t afford a Mercedes either, that does not mean I am entitled to force mercedes to sell components to others, or at prices everyone can afford.

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