Poor economy saves Mac community from clone crap

According to Mac clone maker Psystar, it wasn't the continuing pressure of Apple's legal department, nor its dubious technological and market proposition, that did the company in. Rather, it was the economy and its declining profit margin. Potential customers should be thankful that they dodged a bullet.

According to Mac clone maker Psystar, it wasn't the continuing pressure of Apple's legal department, nor its dubious technological and market proposition, that did the company in. Rather, it was the economy and its declining profit margin. Potential customers should be thankful that they dodged a bullet. In a Between the Lines blog post from my colleague Larry Dignan, Psystar's filings with the bankrupcy court tell the company's side:
Due to the weakened economy, Debtor has had no alternative but to commence these Chapter 11 proceedings. Debtor sales have been greatly affected by the decrease in consumer spending. The financial crisis has also caused creditors to tighten up their terms and become more demanding for immediate payment. Debtor’s vendors due to their own financial problems are not being able to supply all necessary items to allow Debtor to produce their product, thus, forcing Debtor to pay higher prices for parts in order to fulfill customer orders in a timely manner and to assure satisfaction with the product. These factors seriously contribute to the Debtor not being able to turn a significant profit in each sale.
As I wondered a year ago,  were there really enough suckers in the Mac market (or who want to be in the Mac market) to buy these machines? In the post, I ran down the companies that were in the Mac clone market in the mid-1990s, when Apple signed licensing agreements and how that situation differed from Psystar's situation.

Where was the value proposition for Psystar customers? Could Psystar could offer a more reliable piece of hardware than Apple; a faster machine; or one with better industrial design? The answer had to be 'no' on all counts. The answer appeared to be entry-level costs and that couldn't be sustained by Psystar. Certainly, quality as expressed in a particular piece of mass-produced computing hardware can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Some computers are great and reliable while others are lemons. Still, in the Mac licensing era, I bought a clone for my daughter who was in college. It didn't last through her sophomore year — there were too many problems and the subsequent technical support calls to her father. I seem to remember that a serial port blew out and other intermittent issues that were obvious hardware related. A "real" Mac, on the other hand, provided a very reliable experience well beyond graduation. Driving cost savings on the component level can only go so far, as PC companies such as Dell have discovered. Quality is often found not in the performance we find when the computer is unpacked, but over time; sure, a box can pass its first week's burn-in period, but come up lacking in reliable performance after 18 months or so. Within reach in my office are a few older Mac models, many years old, that run Mac OS X and still work fine. I wouldn't trade any of them for a new Psystar.