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Desktops (Apple) Hardware Technology

$399 Mac Clone Most Likely a Hoax 233

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."
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$399 Mac Clone Most Likely a Hoax

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  • 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...

  • 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 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.

  • 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?
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:54PM (#23122592)
    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?
  • by SilverEyes ( 822768 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @04:56PM (#23122606)
    Because it's a cheaper version of a Mac. What's not to like?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • If it's a hoax.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vil3nr0b ( 930195 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:36PM (#23123008)
    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 Tanktalus ( 794810 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:45PM (#23123558) Journal

    Generally speaking, if you attempt to purchase something, and the vendor does not follow through, you can go back to the credit card company and ask them to reverse the charges. The vendor ends up not only not getting paid, but a penalty is applied as well - both in immediate money and in the percentage that the credit card company charges the vendor to be able to use their service.

    This often works even if you do get what you purchased, but it just plain doesn't work, as was evidenced when my neighbour bought three trees from a local greenhouse, one died within the week of being replanted, and when the greenhouse wouldn't respond, he told them he was going to ask Visa to reverse the charges. He had a new tree the next day. (No, Visa wasn't involved - but the vendor knew what would happen... he'd lose more money than the cost of the tree.)

  • 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.
  • Re:think people (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tanktalus ( 794810 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:48PM (#23123588) Journal

    I'm not disagreeing with you, but please tell me how that works out when you try to call Apple for support ;-)

    (I anxiously await the updates on groklaw about the lawsuit you file ;-) )

  • by ( 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:The OpenPro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:58PM (#23124124)
    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.
  • Re:The OpenPro (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @10:22AM (#23127406) Homepage
    The low end user simply doesn't pay $600 for any computer, regardless of supposed value. I never have. $300-$400 computers do everything I want, so why waste money? There's absolutely zero value in wifi, blue tooth, optical dolby audio and the like for those of us who wouldn't use them if we had them.
  • 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.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker