Psystar's Mac-Clone Sells On

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Is system builder Psystar going to give Apple a run for its money and open the company's platform to outside hardware makers or just be another headache for Apple's legal team?

System builders think the answer is likely the latter, yet either way, Psystar's David attempts to slay Apple's not-quite-Goliath remains something to which software giant Microsoft should pay close attention.

Yesterday Psystar announced that it had created a $399 Mac clone that would run Apple's OS X Leopard with a few minor tweaks, and within hours the site was flooded and spent most of yesterday offline. Today, Psystar is still advertising its machine, although since yesterday it has dropped the name Open Mac for the hopefully less-offensive-to-Apple Open Computer.

For its part, Psystar thinks that Apple's refusal to allow other hardware vendors to run its operating system is monopolistic, the system builder told Information Week, and its willing to challenge any action Apple takes to stop it from selling the Open Computer.

Todd Swank, vice president of marketing for system builder Nor-Tech, Burnsville, Minn., said he thinks Psystar's attempt to create a chink in Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple's armor is not likely to succeed in launching a machine that runs Apple's proprietary operating system.

"It would be shocking to me if Apple let that happen. They don't want to be a software manufacturer, they want to be the complete solution," Swank said.

Apple says using its OS Leopard on non-Apple hardware violates its user agreement.

"I can't imagine Apple allowing anybody to do that. Its so antithetical to their marketing strategy," he said. "But it's very interesting. Microsoft is going to have to take a real close look at that, because Microsoft really has their eye on Apple," Swank said.

Microsoft, he said, has had a lock on the operating system market for along time, and Linux doesn't have as strong an organization backing it as Apple is.

"We're a great partner with Microsoft. They're one of our biggest partners and help us in a lot of ways," Swank said. "They take as good care of our company s anyone else out there, but of course competition is always good for people that are in the channel. It would definitely be interesting. Do I believe its going to happen? Not any time soon, but its interesting."

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