CNET News Video: Daily Debrief: The stealthy Apple clone
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CNET News Video: Daily Debrief: The stealthy Apple clone

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It runs Apple's Mac OS X Leopard, but doesn't look anything like an Apple computer and certainly doesn't come with an Apple price tag. On Monday's edition of the Daily Debrief, CNET News.com's Kara Tsuboi and Tom Krazit discuss Psystar's open computer and how in the world the real Apple hasn't caught on yet.

^M00:00:00 [ Music ] >> I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET News.com. I'm joined by Tom Kravitz, staff writer for News.com. And today we are talking about Psystar, the Open Computer that can essentially be called the Apple clone. Tom, why don't you tell us a little bit about it for those who are not familiar? >> Sure. Well Psystar is a company in Miami, and they are making a product called the "Open Computer." It's basically a off the shelf, sort of, you know, if you go down to Fry's and you want to build your own desktop PC - >> Sure. >> They've got the chassis and the motherboards and all that stuff down there. Well, these guys pretty much did that, except the took the additional step of installing MAC OS on it, which is not officially authorized by Apple, but is possible if you are willing to download a little bit of code that you might find a bit torn, or something like that. >> So they've got this box. Like, they've got the machinery - the hard drive. >> Mm-hmm. >> But installed with Apple OSX. How is Apple not making a stink about this? >> Well, you know, it's interesting that they haven't yet. I mean because it seems that they have a clear right to do so under their terms of their software licensing agreement. But the thing is that these software licensing agreements, even though it says it in real official looking print, it's not the law. >> Hmm. >> You know, it's - the whole general concept of these software licensing agreements does not really seem to have been tested in a US court in a very long time. You know, long before the industry became mature as it is today. So the specific provisions of these licensing agreements have been knocked down, like if they violate certain local laws, or something like that. But the general concept is ripe for a challenge. I mean the thing is, is a little company in Miami with maybe 50 people equipped to take on a company like Apple? And so that's what we're sort of waiting to see, I guess. >> Right. But as these machines get more and more popular, and they sell more of them, perhaps they could actually be a threat to Apple. >> Well, that's the thing. I mean Apple has sort of tolerated the home user doing this for a while. >> Sure. >> Like, ever since - when Apple switched to Intel's chips in 2000 - well, they announced the switch in 2005. And in 2006 the first products came out. People started doing this. Individuals just hanging out in their basements, or whatever did this. And Apple didn't really come after them because they're just sort of hobbyist people, and you can't actually go out and sue. The RRIAA has showed us how bad that works. But when a company's making a profit off your product in a way that you did not authorize, then all of the sudden, it's a little bit different. So I'm sort of surprised that we haven't seen any moves from Apple. Apple has not officially commented on it and apparently has not even contact Psystar yet to even say hello. >> Hmm. >> So that's pretty interesting, yeah. And I don't know. We're gonna have to see how that evolves. >> Now, you've been using one of these Psystar computers for about a good month, is that right? >> Yeah. >> And what do you think? How is it performs? >> Well, you know, it's a Mac. I mean this is the thing that it's hard to remember sometimes that you're not using a Mac because once you - if you're staring at the screen all day, and all you see is the familiar look and feel of the software then that's what you know. And then you get up from your desk and you look and you see an ugly box underneath your desk, and you're like, "Oh, yeah. It's not a Mac." But, you know, for all intents and purposes, in the day-to-day usage of it, it's the same thing. >> So it doesn't quite get the style points that... >> No. >> Apple products have. >> Yeah. And one thing that Apple has always insisted on, for years, is that what makes a Mac a Mac is the combination of the hardware and the software. And that's true to a certain extent. I mean, you know, we should be clear that this is not a high-end, premium computing experience that you're getting with one of these things. Apple's products might have better quality in the long term. They certainly have better support. But at the same time, if you're looking to get into a Mac for cheap, this works. >> And cheap, how much cheaper would you say that this tower is versus and Apple hard drive, or an Apple. >> Well, they are selling an Open Computer, with Mac OS installed, for $550.00, thereabouts. >> Wow. >> And if you want a Mac Mini, which is the basic Apple system that's out there, with out a display or anything like they, you're gonna pay more. So... >> Considerably more. >> Well, a couple hundred bucks, yeah. >> Couple hundred, Yeah. Hmm. >> Yeah. And if you want, you know, the iMac. The cheapest iMac is at 999. So you know, I mean that's with the display, but still. >> Yeah. Interesting. Well, thank you very much, Tom. >> Thank you. >> I look forward to reading your updates, and I'm sure we'll be hearing more as Apple discovers the role of Psystar. Tom Kravitz. I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNET News.com This had been the Daily Debrief. We'll see you next time. ^M00:04:13

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