Space Ramblings

Is It Time for Apple to Embrace Mac Clones?

The Apple Tax effect has required Apple to sell overpriced but trendy hardware in order to protect its core software offerings. With Apple having switched over to what amounts to a specially branded PC box with a shinier case and Intel chips inside, it might be time for Apple to take a serious look at accepting the Clone revolution. Apple has been legitimately reluctant to go that route for two reasons, or rather one, Microsoft. Microsoft carved up IBM by piggybacking its software on cloned hardware, while leveraging its monopolistic practices to wipe out software competition. But the environment has changed a lot since then. Open Source has Microsoft on the run, and Mozilla has demonstrated that you can beat the Microsoft monopoly. Which means that it might be time for Apple to take down the drawbridge and let the marketplace decide. Macs won’t be going anywhere even if clones are legalized. Instead more users will be exposed to Apple’s OS and Apple software, which would serve as a net benefit. With Apple moving away from computers and Psystar having just handed Apple a legal defeat, Apple has nothing to lose and everything to gain from tearing down the plastic curtain and letting the clones come in from the cold.

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  • Macgawd February 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Apple actually already tried this route back in the late 90’s, and it almost bankrupted the company. Companies like PowerComputing, Radius, and a few others I can’t recall were all licensed to make Apple clones. They weren’t better by any means, but they certainly were cheaper–sometimes costing only 1/3 as much as a genuine Apple computer–which made the cheapness of them somewhat forgivable, and it was this cheapness that almost spelled doom for Apple Computer.

    Apple didn’t return to profitability until Steve Jobs returned, and the first thing he did was kill Apple’s clone program.

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