Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Dec 2009 11:25 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems In a very unsurprising move, Psystar is closing up shop. It will fire its eight employees, and be done with it. There isn't more to say, really, except this: one down, at least four to go, of which three in Europe. Good luck bullying those three, Apple. Update: Psystar's lawyers have stated that the original story wasn't true. Psystar will continue to litigate the legality of Rebel EFI through the motion process described by Judge Alsup. They will also continue the Florida case.
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Goodbye
by darknexus on Fri 18th Dec 2009 23:51 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

and good riddens. Now we can stop concentrating on these morons at Psystar and see how this is actually going to effect Quo and any other US clone makers out there. It should be interesting to see what comes next, I doubt the saga is anywhere near finished yet.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Goodbye
by Mage66 on Sat 19th Dec 2009 00:15 UTC in reply to "Goodbye"
Mage66 Member since:
2005-07-11

The word is "riddance"...

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Riddance

And I disagree. They should have continued to make systems that were Windows and Linux compatible.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Goodbye
by darknexus on Sat 19th Dec 2009 22:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Goodbye"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

They should have continued to make systems that were Windows and Linux compatible.


Why? The PC market is a massive race to the bottom at the moment. They'd never have been able to compete against the big guys with the reputation they've received from this whole mess. Even as a Mac "clone" maker they didn't do all that well, they sold a whopping 768 machines as I recall reading here recently. Even the big OEMs (Dell, HP, etc) aren't exactly earning much of a proffit from PC sales since they have to simply keep cutting prices over and over again. The proffits these OEMs are making is coming from their other product lines, not from their consumer PCs. Psystar wouldn't have a chance, not now that most of the tech community regards them with pronounced mistrust.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Goodbye
by sbergman27 on Sat 19th Dec 2009 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Goodbye"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Psystar wouldn't have a chance, not now that most of the tech community regards them with pronounced mistrust.

I never saw anything ethically wrong with their MacOSX business; What Apple does is wrong, regardless of what the law says. If I distrust Psystar, it would be because of the Rebel EFI license/copyright issue.

However, if that were cleared up... Psystar, with 8 employees, is just about the right size to do OK in the preinstalled Linux market. Along with System 76, etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Goodbye
by alcibiades on Sun 20th Dec 2009 07:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Goodbye"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

This notion of the 'race to the bottom' comes up all the time in discussions of Apple, and the locking of OSX to Apple branded machines. Its use is generally to suggest that there is something illegitimate or destructive about price/feature competition. A number of other notions seem to accompany it, like the idea that PCs other than Macs are commodities, that suppliers of commodities compete solely on price, and that this price competition inevitably leads to zero or wafer thin margins. Another crazed idea that accompanies this is the confusion between costs and prices. Its usually assumed that to have as a strategic objective being a low cost producer implies a marketing strategy of selling at the lowest possible price and vice versa.

Sometimes people seem to have in mind an endgame for the market which never arrives and whose absurdity is clear once its made explicit: in this apparent endgame, profits would vanish and everyone but Apple would go bust, because they would have reached the bottom. Or something, its a point of view impossible to state without parodying it.

Keynes once said that those with some oddball obsession about 'what we must do' will turn out, on investigation, to be in the grip of an obsolete and outdated economic theory. The same thing applies here. This is a vaguely left wing account of markets, competition and profitability which predates Michael Porter, and to do that, it has to be really, really old, and really, really obsolete.

In summary, PCs are no more commodities than any other consumer goods or industrial product. Suppliers of commodities do not compete solely on price, they compete on the full marketing mix, which includes price, but not as the main driver any more than in any other manufactured products. When companies compete on price (and all have to consider price as a competitive element, because all buyers pay attention to it) the result is not to make price the sole driver of their strategy, it is to make the costs of running the business into a key strategic element.

The proponents of the 'race to the bottom' usually take the view that low price = low costs = poor quality = cheap components. This is simply not true. It is perfectly likely that the low cost position in any industry is accompanies by lowering the costs of quality, which may well be done by using better quality components, but in a more efficient operation. This will then allow the delivery of more reliable products at a lower cost, which may actually enable a price premium in the marketplace! The issue is not the cost of components. The issue is the total costs of the whole operation, including shipping, marketing, warranty and customer support.

What we are seeing in the PC market is no different from any other market. We see a highly competitive market characterized by rapid innovation in both product and total company operations. It is relatively easy to enter on a small scale, you or I can set up as PC assemblers in our garage, but it is very hard to enter at a national level. Hard = expensive. Margins vary from supplier to supplier, and from year to year, its a continual struggle to correctly assess markets and product fit and price and positioning, and sometimes people get it wrong. The large suppliers enjoy advantages of scale, and are profitable. The niche suppliers are different in their total operations (not just the products) in ways their customers value, and are profitable.

There is considerable buyer power, and buyers tend to be informed - they may not be informed themselves, but they typically have access to informed judgments. This is a key factor in focusing the competition onto stuff which actually, in their view, benefits the buyers. Buyers of PCs in general are buying what they think they need, and have an accurate idea of what they are getting and what they need, either directly, or via the advice of some informed intermediary.

If you are stuck in the middle, not large share, not a low cost producer, not differentiated in your operations, you are in trouble. Over a timescale of decades, companies move in and out of the various segments of this matrix. There was a time when Apple deteriorated into being different without being differentiated - when its high costs were perceived buyers as offering no benefit. Now its a proper niche producer, it does things differently from the large share suppliers, but in way its buyers feel adds value.

There is no right or wrong way to compete in these markets. There is nothing wrong with innovation designed to enhance ones cost position. There is nothing wrong with paying attention to price as a variable in the marketing mix. There is no 'race to the bottom', there is just the normal operation of a competitive market, which has given us all innovation and freedom. Yes, if you work for one of the competing companies, it is sometimes stressful, particularly when one of the others steals a march on you.

If you doubt this, go to some PC mail order site, then go to some other consumer goods site. Ask yourself what's the difference between large appliance positioning and competition and PC positioning and competition. Answer, not a whole lot. You find all price points covered, you find a variety of features, both products are composed of standard sub assemblies, both markets have barriers to entry (different ones). There is no 'race to the bottom'. What the phrase is alluding to, with apparent indignation, is the operation of market economies.

Welcome to life in the West. That's how it is when you work in the private sector.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Goodbye
by kaiwai on Sat 19th Dec 2009 09:07 UTC in reply to "Goodbye"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

and good riddens. Now we can stop concentrating on these morons at Psystar and see how this is actually going to effect Quo and any other US clone makers out there. It should be interesting to see what comes next, I doubt the saga is anywhere near finished yet.


The worse part, nothing ever stopped them from creating an EFI firmware and a custom motherboard that was compatible with Mac but providing Windows and Linux pre-installed - thus leaving the Mac side up to the individual to purchase it. Why didn't they do that? because it would actually require them to hire some proper developers, create a compatible EFI firmware, talk to a motherboard vendor and get them to create a batch with the custom firmware developed for it - basically they could do that but they found it easier to rip off open source projects and either creating a frankenstein installer or a bastardised re-branded version of Boot-132 with no attempt at giving back contributions to the original projects.

Maybe instead the effort should be fixing up Linux and creating a Mac like model based around a well integrated hardware/software combination using Linux or some other open source operating system instead - you know, so people are provided with a real alternative to Mac OS X or Windows instead of it entrenching the duopoly even further.

Edited 2009-12-19 09:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

What I don't get is ...
by de_wizze on Sat 19th Dec 2009 00:03 UTC
de_wizze
Member since:
2005-10-31

... why is this a good thing.

Reply Score: 8

Not sorry to see them go
by theosib on Sat 19th Dec 2009 00:32 UTC
theosib
Member since:
2006-03-02

And by that I mean _specifically_ Pystar. It's one thing to produce Apple clones. It's entirely another to produce substandard PCs that run MacOS badly and potentially make Apple look bad.

You know, half of the problems with Windows are Microsoft's fault. The other half are caused by the hardware vendors. Unreliable hardware, poorly-designed hardware, and broken drivers.

Well, perhaps one reason Apple doesn't license clones is because they're afraid of the clone maker tainting the Apple image like PC makers taint Microsoft's image. (Of course, the main reason is that Apple makes most of their money from hardware, so from an engineering perspective, they don't earn much from selling MacOS.)

Now, I WOULD be sad if Pystar had been making SUPERIOR hardware. People like to rave about how great Apple's hardware is. And compared to a lot of PCs, it is very good. But Apple hardware isn't perfect. I've encountered my share of difficulties. It would be cool if some company made BETTER hardware.

The thing about Pystar is that they did lots of questonable things, like sell machines that were over-clocked. One reviewer talked about how he had to change the clock speed settings to normal values in order to get the machine to be stable. If an end user wants to over-clock their machine, fine. But it's damn stupid for a hardware vendor to sell hardware that has a high probability of being unstable. I've tinkered plenty with overclocking, and it's an artform that needs a lot of extensive testing and tweaking.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not sorry to see them go
by bousozoku on Sat 19th Dec 2009 00:48 UTC in reply to "Not sorry to see them go"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23


...
Now, I WOULD be sad if Pystar had been making SUPERIOR hardware. People like to rave about how great Apple's hardware is. And compared to a lot of PCs, it is very good. But Apple hardware isn't perfect. I've encountered my share of difficulties. It would be cool if some company made BETTER hardware.

The thing about Pystar is that they did lots of questonable things, like sell machines that were over-clocked. One reviewer talked about how he had to change the clock speed settings to normal values in order to get the machine to be stable. If an end user wants to over-clock their machine, fine. But it's damn stupid for a hardware vendor to sell hardware that has a high probability of being unstable. I've tinkered plenty with overclocking, and it's an artform that needs a lot of extensive testing and tweaking.


Having had a PowerComputing PowerCenter Mac clone in the mid-1990s, I've seen other companies sell Mac OS-compatible hardware that was better than what Apple was selling and it nearly put Apple in the cemetery.

Psystar wasn't doing anything remarkable. They won't be missed and people will still be able to create their own Hackintosh for a while.

I hope this goes a long way to keep Apple from going to great lengths to secure Mac OS X to machine serial numbers or some other kind of identification and possibly raising the price.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Not sorry to see them go
by tyrione on Sat 19th Dec 2009 03:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Not sorry to see them go"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

"
...
Now, I WOULD be sad if Pystar had been making SUPERIOR hardware. People like to rave about how great Apple's hardware is. And compared to a lot of PCs, it is very good. But Apple hardware isn't perfect. I've encountered my share of difficulties. It would be cool if some company made BETTER hardware.

The thing about Pystar is that they did lots of questonable things, like sell machines that were over-clocked. One reviewer talked about how he had to change the clock speed settings to normal values in order to get the machine to be stable. If an end user wants to over-clock their machine, fine. But it's damn stupid for a hardware vendor to sell hardware that has a high probability of being unstable. I've tinkered plenty with overclocking, and it's an artform that needs a lot of extensive testing and tweaking.


Having had a PowerComputing PowerCenter Mac clone in the mid-1990s, I've seen other companies sell Mac OS-compatible hardware that was better than what Apple was selling and it nearly put Apple in the cemetery.

Psystar wasn't doing anything remarkable. They won't be missed and people will still be able to create their own Hackintosh for a while.

I hope this goes a long way to keep Apple from going to great lengths to secure Mac OS X to machine serial numbers or some other kind of identification and possibly raising the price.
"

PowerComputing was not putting Apple into the cemetery. Apple was putting itself into the cemetery.

The dbase of customers taken from Apple by Power was just around 230k.

I was there at Apple and saw the stats.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Not sorry to see them go
by Janvl on Sat 19th Dec 2009 18:01 UTC in reply to "Not sorry to see them go"
Janvl Member since:
2007-02-20

PC makers taint Microsoft's image.


Here is an example of "lack of intelligence", what good is an operating system without hardware?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Not sorry to see them go
by umccullough on Sat 19th Dec 2009 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Not sorry to see them go"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

" PC makers taint Microsoft's image.


Here is an example of "lack of intelligence", what good is an operating system without hardware?
"

Actually, I think the primary method that PC makers use to destroy the windows experience is by installing a million "craplets". Usually these are crummy ad-infested apps that want you to sign up for a service, or are so badly written that they drag the machine performance to its knees, while the PC builder gets kickbacks from companies that write them to help offset the costs allowing them to price the machines more competitively in the market.

This whole situation is basically avoided by Apple.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Not sorry to see them go
by theosib on Sun 20th Dec 2009 00:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Not sorry to see them go"
theosib Member since:
2006-03-02

Exactly. Bad hardware ruins the experience just as much as a bad OS. Windows isn't very good. But unreliable hardware makes the experience even worse.

Reply Score: 1

So...
by mrhasbean on Sat 19th Dec 2009 01:02 UTC
mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

Good luck bullying those three, Apple.


...protecting your business model within the allowed limits of the law and winning a case on legal merit as allowed by the law in the host country is somehow bullying?

If that's the case there are in all likelihood thousands of cases of "bullying" every day of every week in countries right around the globe, including yours Thom. There was never going to be any other outcome to this - anyone who looked at it logically could see that - and frankly Pystar were their own worst enemy.

And before Apple do anything in the host countries of these other clone makers they will examine the local laws to determine their best course of action. There are many options available to them that don't even require legal action considering the number of units their marketshare affords them in those countries. The US was a completely different scenario for them and they used the legal system to their advantage - like any smart company would do in the same situation. The other "targets" will certainly be interesting, but I don't know that it will (even need to) play out in the courts as with Pystar.

Reply Score: 2

RE: So...
by javiercero1 on Sat 19th Dec 2009 20:14 UTC in reply to "So..."
javiercero1 Member since:
2005-11-10

This is part of Thom's on-going battle with reality...

I am seeing a trend: mediocre writers without any technical background (never mind formal education in the subject) writing articles on subjects they know little about, and yet expecting their opinions to be somehow authoritative.

Thus, it is no wonder... than the legal field gets the same treatment by these individuals.

Reply Score: 2

Maybe not
by frood on Sat 19th Dec 2009 01:28 UTC
frood
Member since:
2005-07-06
DREVILl30564
Member since:
2008-04-18

I had hoped things would go differently for Psystar's case, and that they would be able to help put an end to ridiculous EULA contracts that try to tie licensed software to specific hardware devices. Having said that, before anyone fires up their flame throwers to roast me alive, let me clarify that I support Software licenses, I am running a Hackintosh system that I built, and I purchased licensed copies of OSX Leopard, and OSX Snow Leopard which I'm currently running on the system. If I want to go to the trouble and hard work that it takes to get my licensed software running on a hackintosh instead of a real Macintosh system made by Apple that's my business. I always advise anyone who just wants to run OSX with no problems to buy and use a real Macintosh system from Apple. It would help to get people who want more than the mini or a imac but don't have the budget for a mac pro if Apple would make a mid-grade desktop tower system and offer it with upgrade options for the video card, memory, hard drive, and optical drives so if people need a system with two hard drives, or want a better video card,etc. then they would be able to do that. I personally don't like the Imac product line, and think the Mini is a little too limited for my requirements.

So in Summary, Goodbye Psystar, hopefully you didn't pave the road for changes to OSX that will permanently remove the ability for people to build and use their own Hackintosh systems if that's what they want to do.

Reply Score: 2

Where's the original aritcle
by Laurence on Sat 19th Dec 2009 11:15 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

Am I going blind or has the original article been removed from AppleInsider. The OSNews link just points to a host of other hyperlinks rather than any articles.

Reply Score: 3

.
by eksasol on Sat 19th Dec 2009 21:01 UTC
eksasol
Member since:
2009-04-05

What's so pretty about Microsoft images that is left to be tainted?

You want me to only be be able to buy Microsoft propriety hardwares to use with Microsoft propriety softwares just like Mac. And that Microsoft would make better hardware products than these third party manufacturers like ASUS and Gigabytes that taints their images. O fcourse I was meaning supplied parts hardwares not whole PC building. I am very happy that I get that kind of choice for quality hardwares.

If you really mean the whole PC built for sales tainting images, I guess that means Dell, HP, Acer, etc.

Edited 2009-12-19 21:08 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: .
by eksasol on Sat 19th Dec 2009 21:36 UTC in reply to "."
eksasol Member since:
2009-04-05

So base on the rationing I get a choice between a group of mediocre hardware builders or submit to a single choice of a provider, aka monopoly. I might go for the former.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: .
by Bobthearch on Sat 19th Dec 2009 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE: ."
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

So base on the rationing I get a choice between a group of mediocre hardware builders or submit to a single choice of a provider, aka monopoly. I might go for the former.


To make your decision even easier, what if the "mediocre" hardware was the exact same as that used by the "monopoly" company? And the "monopoly" company charged twice as much?

Reply Score: 2

Goodbye
by Xaero_Vincent on Mon 21st Dec 2009 16:30 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Its the end of the road of Psystar. Too bad. No startups will dare mess with Apple again.

OS X isn't all that great anyway--way too much hype. Windows 7 is just as elegant if not more and far more secure. Had Psystar sold systems with Windows and Linux, they would of had a much brighter business future.

Reply Score: 1