Can Apple hope to defeat the "Attack of the Clones"?

A second company is getting ready to sell Intel-based Mac clones. Is there anything that Apple can do to defeat the "Attack of the Clones"?

A second company is getting ready to sell Intel-based Mac clones. Is there anything that Apple can do to defeat the "Attack of the Clones"?

The latest company to enter Mac clone market is called Open Tech Inc. This company differs from the Florida-based Psystar in that is doesn't plan to pre-install Mac OS X onto the systems. According to the company's website, two models will roll out initially - Open Tech Home and Open Tech XT, which will sell for $620 and $1,200, respectively.

Now, before I go any further I think that it's only right that I point out a few things about Open Tech Inc. First, apart from some email addresses, the company's website offers no form of contact information - no address, no phone number, no fax, not even a clue as to where the company is based. Here's what the company has to say to Computerworld:

A company spokesman, who said he was a member of Open Tech's legal team, refused to give more than his first name, Tom. "I won't say more because of the ruthless sharks that are swimming around," he said when asked why he wouldn't provide his full name or title.


Tom declined to give the physical location of Open Tech. "For legal and jurisdictional reasons, we're not going to divulge that," he said. "There are so many ways to track people down, someone will track us down sooner or later."

Hmmm ... the only contact named on the website is Elijah Samaroo, and a search of this name turns up very little.

I've tried confirming whether Open Tech is indeed a US incorporated company, and so far I've not been able to confirm that it is.

Also, I'm going to ignore the following facts:

  • That these for profit clones are benefiting from work carried out mostly by the active OSx86 Project community.
  • That most of these Mac clones rely on hacked OS X installs such as the Kalyway (and getting that means a trip to the Pirate Bay or some such site).
  • Those Mac clones that don't rely on dodgy downloads involved a lot of effort to get the OS going. Any idea that you can use the OS X disc to install the OS onto these Mac clones is bogus.

All that aside, it does seem that Apple s going to have to contend with Mac clones, at least until the Apple vs. Psystar case plays out to a conclusion, but that could be a while off, and by then Apple could be hip-deep in clones. What could Apple do to defeat, or at least, stem the flow, of clones?

Here are some things that Apple could do:

  • More legal action
  • Stop selling retail copies of OS X
  • Make all retail copies upgrades that require proof that the owner has a previous copy
  • Increase the price of the retail copy of OS X
  • Introduce a $500 - $600 desktop Mac system that would compete directly with these Mac clones
  • Combinations of the above

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Alternatively, Apple could give in and allow clones, or at least licensed clones, but I don't see that happening any time soon.