TOKYO (MacHouse) – Some 2 years ago, the name of Psystar Corporation, a computer retailer & manufacturer from Florida, USA, came out of nowhere and caught the attention of Mac users and the media over the Internet. Psystar sold computers, which they called Open Computers, with Mac OS pre-installed. Their idea was that users should be allowed to install any OS on any computer. But Apple, Inc. prohibits others from installing Mac OS on computers that are not manufactured by the company. Apple sued Psystar in July, 2008. And Psystar countered-sued Apple. One of the Psystar’s claims was that Apple engaged in tying contract, introducing part of federal anti-trust law, Clayton Antitrust Act, to the case. Nonetheless, the court ruled in November, 2009 that Psystar had violated Digital Millennium Copyright Act and then that the company violated Apple’s copyrights.
So what’s up with Psystar now? Do they still sell Mac clone computers?
Visiting Psystar’s website, it’s still around. It doesn’t appear that they still sell Mac clone computers or computers with other operating systems. Instead, they sell a T-shirt and collect donations at their website.
Last December, Psystar agreed to pay $2.7 million to Apple for copyright infringements. Psystar can also be sued by its creditors. Was it worth taking a risk in selling affordable computers after all?
So how many units of Mac clone computers did Psystar sell anyway? According to Wikipedia, Dr. Matthew Lynde of Cornerstone Research analyzed Psystar’s invoices, purchase orders and other financial documents. And he’s concluded that Psystar sold just 768 Mac clone computers. This astonishingly low figure suggests that Mac users aren’t really looking for cheap computers. Mac computers were very expensive 2 decades ago. One color Mac with a 13-inch monitor cost some $3,200 when in fact you could buy a PC counterpart for half of that amount. Now, Mac computers are relatively affordable. But cheap prices are usually met at the price of product quality. We probably wouldn’t buy an Open Computer just because of the price. Our iMac G5 2 GHz died without seeing its third birthday. It tells us that the quality of Mac products is getting cheap. Ironically, my 10-year-old iMac 333 GHz and 15-year-old PowerBook 5300 still run. They weren’t cheap compared with PC counterparts. But they were durable.
Psystar’s Counterclaim Lawsuit – Tying Contract and Injury
Buying Cheap Mac Clones – Does Apple Tie Software Contracts to Selling Hardware Contracts?
CNET News: Judge rules for Apple in Psystar case
Wikipedia: Psystar Corporation