Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Desktops (Apple) Hardware Technology

$399 Mac Clone Most Likely a Hoax 233

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the too-good-to-be-true-usually-is dept.
timholman writes "According to Gizmodo, an investigation has shown that the $399 OpenMac is almost certainly vaporware, as is Psystar itself. The company's address has actually changed twice this week, according to its web page, and Psystar is no longer accepting credit card transactions. Too bad for those who may have already ordered an OpenMac."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

$399 Mac Clone Most Likely a Hoax

Comments Filter:
  • Vaporware? Hoax? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 26199 (577806) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:43PM (#23122428) Homepage

    If they've been accepting orders (and credit card numbers) for a product that doesn't exist -- isn't that called fraud?

    I know there can be concern about legal implications in making such statements... but surely the way to protect yourself is to make only statements backed up by evidence? Being vague is certainly not a way to sidestep libel laws...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by gapagos (1264716)
      May I add... How can it NOT be fraud? hehe.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Being vague is certainly not a way to sidestep libel laws...

      What do libel laws have to do with any of this? Or are you somehow trying to equate fraud with libel?
      • Re:Vaporware? Hoax? (Score:4, Informative)

        by 26199 (577806) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:49PM (#23123138) Homepage
        Libel laws have a lot to do with it if you say someone is committing fraud and they aren't...
        • Only if you print it. If you just say it, then it is slander. However, I say don't do anything half-way! Go the full monty, and go for libel!
        • Re:Vaporware? Hoax? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:00PM (#23123668) Homepage Journal

          Libel laws have a lot to do with it if you say someone is committing fraud and they aren't...
          Libel's only possible if:

          1: It's not true
          2: A reasonable person wouldn't conclude that it is true.
          3: A different reasonable person might believe that you're telling the truth.
          4: Said person's disbelieve causes harm to the libelee.

          Slander and Libel are pretty tough things, but like Assault, they require a common sense test. (Accidentally bumping into someone on a crowded street is not Assault, even if they scream their head off.)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MulluskO (305219)
            Unfortunately defending against even an unfounded libel suit could be very costly.
            We've seen here on slashdot how lawyers can deprive you of liberty and property if you speak ill of them or their wealthy clients.
            Criticizing even an obvious scam : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who's_Who_scam [wikipedia.org] : can get you into serious trouble in this country.
        • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:16PM (#23123814)
          If you make an incorrect assertion, then it could be libel: eg. say "It is vaporware and thus they are commiting fraud" and they are not.

          Conjecture is a different matter: eg. saying "If it is vaporware and they are accepting money then they are commiting faud". Those "if"s make a big difference.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheoMurpse (729043)
        I think he was talking about when he just said that the company was being fraudulent, and he didn't want to be in trouble for libel (and that he knows his vague comment about "isn't that fraud?" doesn't necessarily sidestep libel laws).
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:08PM (#23122754) Journal
      If they've been accepting orders (and credit card numbers) for a product that doesn't exist -- isn't that called fraud?

      Only if they can't create and deliver it within 30(?) days and don't contact the people who ordered it within that time, notifying them of the delay and refunding the money of those who don't consent to the extension.

      Back in the early days of home computing a number of companies started up by selling vaporware, collecting the money, and using it to fund the development. (I don't recall if Apple was one of the companies that started up that way. But Woz and Jobs were pretty hard up for cash back at the start.)

      The FTC tightened up after some con men calling themselves "World Memory Systems" took a picture of a few chips sitting on an unstuffed PC board, ran an ad claiming it was a new peripheral board providing four serial and one parallel port for Altair/Imsai home computers (with a name, 4S+P, similar to another popular product, 4P+S), and pulled a major fraud.
    • The OpenPro (Score:4, Interesting)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:24PM (#23123390)
      My guess here is that the $399 is just a PR gimmic. If you actually spec it out on their site, the basic model+Leopard+firewire+shipping is over $650 dollars. Whereas you can get a mac mini for under $600 including the shipping. The difference is the mac mini is small, quiet, lower power, and has wifi, blue tooth, optical dolby audio, and software update will work. (The pystar has a bigger faster hard disk and a 15% faster CPU). Personally I think you'd have to be retarded to think the mac was not a better value for a low-end end user, especially due to the software update,noise and power.

      So I think that was just a stunt. The real bargain on the site is the openPro which has a bigger power supply and better case permitting it to hold a high end graphics card and quad processor. A nicely specced unit of the openPro would be $1800 for quad 2.6Ghz and an nvidia 8800Gt card, including shipping, Leopard (firewire built in, and USB jacks on the front). This is actually now compartable to the apple powermac quad, which simmilarly speced runs about $2700, with a 10% faster CPU, blue tooth, wireliess, optical audio, and an amazing case design, and relatively quiet operation.

      However to be fair, the apple's sweet spot for powermac pricing is at the 8 processor model. That's "only" $500 more. The psystar is not available in an 8 processor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        you can put a video card in the base system in the mini you are stuck with the POS gma 950 video and laptop parts.
    • by nurb432 (527695)
      It isn't fraud if somewhere in the fine print they state the product isn't done, and you are 'pre ordering'...
  • A fool and his money are soon parted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by node 3 (115640)
      So, it's OK then?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mustafap (452510)
        I can see you put a lot of thought into that reply.

        No, it's not ok. But I'm certainly not going to be offering any sympathy to anyone who was stupid enough to pay for one.

        If a stranger came up to you in the street and offered you a seemingly great deal on a new product, asked for your credit card details and promised to drop it round next week, would you give them to him?

        If you would, I have a great product that you are going to love. Just post your credit card details here - I'll keep them secure - and I'l
        • by node 3 (115640) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:46PM (#23123570)

          I can see you put a lot of thought into that reply.
          An odd criticism given your original post was just a regurgitated platitude.

          No, it's not ok. But I'm certainly not going to be offering any sympathy to anyone who was stupid enough to pay for one.
          So, you are saying you have no sympathy for victims of fraud?

          There's nothing wrong with criticizing the good sense of people who fall prey to a scam, but I find it difficult to come up with a non-contrived situation where the poor judgement, ignorance, or even stupidity, of someone who falls prey to fraud or a scam is sufficiently damnable as to justify the crime committed by the fraudster/scammer. How can you have no sympathy for an unjustified crime?

          It seems to me either they deserved what happened and deserve no sympathy, or they don't deserve what happened and thus deserve at least some sympathy.
  • by HaaPoo (696098) on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:48PM (#23122492)
    Did anybody check their ip address to see if they are located at Nigeria?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by JazzmanSA80 (1230658)
      Maybe that rich prince knows? I'll be sure to ask him when he gets to America. I sent him that money like he asked a few months ago, so I'm expecting him any time now.
  • Hoax? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lixee (863589) on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:51PM (#23122544)
    How is this a hoax? It's a bloody SCAM!
  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:51PM (#23122550) Homepage Journal
    Cnet has this article [news.com] which goes into a little more detail. From what I've gathered it seems they "just moved" to the new building, and got the address wrong the first time (this sort of explains why they put up 3 addresses in 2 days if you buy it). It seems they had to switch payment processing companies from Powerpay to PayPal, because of the rights infringement stuff. But I doubt PayPal's policy is going to be different. Whats next? Cashiers checks to Nigeria?
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:53PM (#23122576)
    It's all a nefarious plot by Apple to discredit the very idea of clones running OS-X. Who would ever trust one again after this?

    As far as paying by credit card goes, you're likely protected by your card company against fraud so you shouldn't be too concerned there.

    • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:22PM (#23122894)
      You are being funny, of course, but look at the fallout...
      Apple couldn't have hoped for a better fumbling of the "Attack of the Clones". It's as if Lucas himself directed this train wreck.

      I bet Apple and their lawyers are in their humidors sipping cognac, laughing at these amateurs.

      • by Digi-John (692918) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:57PM (#23123204) Journal

        I bet Apple and their lawyers are in their humidors sipping cognac, laughing at these amateurs.

        Assuming you mean Steve Jobs when you say "Apple", I find it highly unlikely that Steve Jobs has a humidor, much less a humidor large enough to sit in--smoking's bad, mmkay? More likely, he would celebrate with mineral water and extra-dark chocolate (you see, the higher the cacao content, the snobbier you can act, never mind that it tastes like dirt), or maybe a joint rolled in Psystar's business registration paperwork--his company *is* headquartered in San Francisco, after all.

      • by Buran (150348)
        And that "train wreck" of a movie made gobs of money... not exactly a fumble, is it?
    • As far as paying by credit card goes, you're likely protected by your card company against fraud so you shouldn't be too concerned there.

      Legally someone using their credit card is liable for $50, but the credit card issuer may cut some slack and swallow all of charge.

      Falcon
  • Proof again... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slashname3 (739398) on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:53PM (#23122578)
    If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

    Amazed that ANYONE actually signed up for this thing before anyone credible had reported that it was real and worked as expected. This is one of those cases where the early sucker...I mean adopter leads the way with their pocket book and loses everything.

    The real interesting question here is how much did they get away with before they were busted?
    • If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
      The problem with this is it really didn't seem all that good to begin with.
  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:54PM (#23122588)
    This story is what, a week old? "Wow here's a story about a company that I have never heard of selling suspiciously cheap Mac compatible computers! I hope I don't melt my credit card taking it out of my wallet so fast!" I've no doubt that probably a lot of people may have gotten taken here, but I'm just having trouble understanding why anyone would be so quick to order something like this that just comes completely out of the blue. I mean at least wait a couple months for Tom's Hardware to review one or something.
  • Where's the Box

    That what it will all boils down to, when people get their computer (7 days from purchase, so should be seeing post about them next week). Or do a hand-on review (I saw a few pages called a review on the OpenPC where they were just reviewing their opinions.

    Until there is something more than phone calls and photoshopped corporate website images - a lot of this is just empty speculation.
  • by jsnipy (913480) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:01PM (#23122678) Journal
    ... people have bought a true Mac Air ;)
  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:02PM (#23122686)
    "According to Gizmodo...

    For a moment, I read that as Gizmondo [wikipedia.org] and thought to myself "Well, if anyone would know about hoaxes..."
  • think people (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hurfy (735314) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:17PM (#23122850)
    Dollars to Donuts if there was such a thing you couldn't call it "OpenMac"

    They (or you even) can't legally install OSX either can they? Not an Apple guy so dont know terms but i would assume not.

    I suppose in theory one could reverse engineer a clone but it is kinda spendy for a doorstop with no OS. Even then there would be no legit uses and you still couldn't sell them since it is clearly intended to infringe.
    • They (or you even) can't legally install OSX either can they? Not an Apple guy so dont know terms but i would assume not.

      No. OS X can't, legally, be installed on a non Apple computer.

      Falcon
  • by BattleApple (956701) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:32PM (#23122978)
    I'll be receiving a P-p-p-powerbook from them any day now.. it has firewire!
  • If it's a hoax.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vil3nr0b (930195)
    I want my mod points back from the fanboys of apple. Since the story should have been verified before being salaciously posted by editors not being editors, the whole event should be null and void.
  • by PingXao (153057) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:40PM (#23123050)
    It's obvious who's behind it. The most insightful comment on the earlier story went something like this: If Apple is so hell bent on protecting its IP and enforcing its license terms, then why are they selling off-the-shelf copies to anyone who plunks down the cash?

    Psystar. PsyOps. Nothing but Jobs looking to drum up more support for sales and mindshare. Mindshare is probably more important for Apple lest they lose their niche cult status and drop out of sight completely.
    • by larkost (79011)
      The off-the-shelf copies are all upgrades. Apple has been clear about that all along. There was never a copy of 10.4 for Intel Macs sold retail because every single Intel Mac came with a copy of 10.4 (so you never needed an upgarade disk).
      • by tyrione (134248)

        The off-the-shelf copies are all upgrades. Apple has been clear about that all along. There was never a copy of 10.4 for Intel Macs sold retail because every single Intel Mac came with a copy of 10.4 (so you never needed an upgarade disk).

        The off-the-shelf copies are not upgrades, they are the actual general use copies for the entire supported hardware matrix. The copies included with your hardware purchase are unique to that machine model.

        If you have prior Macs you buy the Off-the-Shelf copy so it will install and work as billed.

    • by kklein (900361)

      Yeah, because if they don't do something quick, everyone's going to forget Apple ever even existed!

      Why, just the other day, I stopped, um, every single person I saw, and asked them who made that MP3 player they were carrying, and they were all, "I dunno; some company... There's a mark here on the back... What is that? A screaming head with a flame on top? Oh yeah, 'Burning Screaming Head.' That's who made it."

      Steve Jobs, if you're reading this: Get out now before the whole thing caves in on you! D

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by orionrune (1275684)
      I've used Jas OS X for years... this guy is a dollar short and a year late... www.osx86project.org got a spare x86 pc lying around? build your own free openmac... just visit that site and read up.
    • by Swampash (1131503)
      Pirated? I have a perfectly legitimate OS X cd for which I paid full retail, and I'll install it on whatever machine I want.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:59PM (#23123216)
    Is steve woz behind this? He is the one who wanted slots in the mac form the apple 2 on.

    Is it some who is pissed off at the high priced mini with it's laptop parts and apples lack of DESKTOP with DESKTOP parts in the $500-$2000 price range the mac pro starts at $2200.
  • by stizzmindspring.com (686900) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:52PM (#23123618)
    Hackitoshes DO exist. You CAN build one easily with 400$ worth of components from Newegg. Leopard 10.5.2 CAN be installed with vanilla kernels. None of that is a hoax. I just recently built myself a quadcore mac pro clone for the startling price of $1000. It runs flawlessly because I built it to spec. All this IS possible. What we have here is a business owner who thought it would be a good idea to sell some of these types of systems pre-built. He was ill prepared to make such a risky buiness venture; he was simply not able to meet the demand or handle the media circus it evolved into. Think back to that old commercial in the dot com heyday. An eager team of entrepreneurs excitedly watch as their web store goes live. Nervous as first because nothing is happening, then the orders start coming in slowly and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Orders continue to come in and everyone is high fiving each other, then the speed of the orders coming in grows exponentionally. Suddenly everybody is looking at the screen in absolute horror. This is what I imagine happened to Psystar, only instead of a team of dedicated staff, this is one dude running businesses from home. He stuck his neck way out there for this, and if Apple isnt going to sue, other more capable entrepreneurs should try to sell some of these prebuilt hackintoshes with leo installed before the partys over.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LarsG (31008)
      I'd stay away from preinstalling. Even if Apple doesn't go after Psystar (since it is apparently falling of the cliff without the need of a helping hand from Apple), they're rather likely to go after anyone making this a successful business.

      I know arguing about EULAs is a favourite pastime on /., but if they preinstall that will give Apple enough of an argument to get past preliminary hearings and go to a full trial. One would be on safer ground selling a pre-assembled PC bundled with Leopard still in shrin

  • Pystar was discovered to be the performance art of a Yale art student. She said that she wasn't really going to load it with Mac OS but rather just say she was going to. First she needs to not get pregnant several times and then get pregnant and put some kind of not real blood on the cases.

    It's not a Hoax nor a Scam. It's art. And the artist said that if Paypal or the Credit card services takes the site down to say that this is not legitimate she will say that is.

    It's all for art.
  • Just tried to order onc. This is the response... Error: 2-1-2-P-N--This transaction has been declined. Error: Failure in Processing the Payment (ps_authorize) PS. I was using a real credit card/address/etc.
  • My guess... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @02:48AM (#23125766)
    Those whose orders were accepted will probably receive the configurations they requested complete with retail copies of Mac OS X in the box. But, the various issues currently affecting PsyStar's business and warnings from Apple Legal will probably result in the end user being left to figure out how to get OS X up and running on the system with maybe a sheet of paper explaining whatever process they initially intended to use.

    After all, these are simply custom built PCs constructed from parts you can buy anywhere. All PsyStar has to do is provide an assembled system and some evidence that the system is somehow capable of running MacOS X, without having to actually deliver a pre-installed setup ready to run out of the box.

    Sure, it'd be a low blow to the customer, but it'd probably be technically enough to keep someone out of prison.
  • So Far... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @11:35AM (#23127732) Homepage
    ...all I'm seeing is a lot of hurf-blurf.

    Okay, the company is currently doing some things that look suspicious to a highly jaded crowd, but actually make a lot of sense for someone who's been swamped with genuine interest. So we just wait and see how things settle down.

    And we haven't seen or heard ANYTHING from Apple. It's been more than a few days, and Apple is not known for sitting on their laurels when it comes to such things. If this were illegal or fishy, Apple would be all over them like white on rice and crowing from the rooftops about it.

    So far, zip from Apple.

    Here's an idea? How about we let these folks SETTLE IN for a bit and see how things turn out before we start writing their obituary?

    They're using credit cards for transactions, AND they're using PayPal on top of it. It's not like your money will vaporize without a trace, folks? There's a reason Nigerian and other scammers want you to use money orders and Western Union.

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

Working...