Hackintosher to open US storefront
Numbers don't add up
Yet another Mac clone maker has surfaced, but this time with a twist: Quo Computer will sell its hackintoshes in its own bricks-and-mortar retail store in Los Angeles.
As reported on Friday by Cnet News, Quo's founder Rashantha De Silva plans to open his storefront on June 1st. Previous hackintoshers such as Florida's recently bankrupt Psystar and Germany's PearC have been strictly online endeavors.
We haven't met the man, nor have we been immediately able to contact him to hear his point of view, but we question both his faith in Apple's forbearance and his grasp of retail reality.
De Silva told Cnet that "I'm hoping that Apple sees the value in what we are doing." While we are warmed by his glow of optimism, his naïveté is indisputable.
Mac OS X's Software License Agrement (PDF) is quite plain when it says "This License allows you to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so."
We're no legal eagles, but that seems rather straightforward to us.
Then there's the matter of the retail store. Other hackintoshers have used the web as their storefront for the time-honored reason of low overhead. Real-world stores cost real-world money. Real-world stores in prime retail locations cost serious coin.
Margins must reflect that retail reality - a 30 to 40 per cent margin, at minimum. Many retail outlets that sell lower-priced items, in fact, base their pricing on what the industry calls "keystoning" - meaning doubling the wholesale cost of an item to determine its retail price.
But De Silva says that he plans to sell his entry-level boxes for under $900. Subtract from that figure the price of a retail copy of Mac OS X, and De Silva's sub-$900 machine will net him a mere $750 and change. To match the 2.66GHz speed of Apple's lowest-powered iMac, De Silva will have to pay Intel $348 for the 25-watt part or $316 for the 35-watt part - and that's in lots of 1,000.
Certainly De Silva could put together an acceptable machine with the remaining $400-plus for drives, RAM, motherboard, case, and the rest - not to mention display, keyboard, and mouse - but that's not the point. What matters is his margin-per-unit. And the numbers just don't add up.
And then, of course, there will be legal costs. As De Silva told Cnet about Apple, "They probably will [sue us]." And it goes without saying that Apple's legal team has immeasurably deeper pockets than an L.A. hackintoshing storefronter.
But De Silva dreams big. Cnet reports, for example, that he told them of his plans to "work with school boards to get computers in the hands of children and teachers." As if a cash-strapped public agency would risk major purchases from a company that might be squashed out of existence in a New York minute by Cupertino's law squad.
Quo Computer's website currently displays the company's logo and mantra - "Your computer. Your choice. Your configuration." - and nothing else. Plans are for it to go live next week. Bookmark it, and follow along in this latest saga of starry-eyed David versus steely-eyed Goliath. ®
I'm moved to ambivalence.
While I feel that you ought to be able to do anything you like with products you buy -- yes, _buy_ -- just because they tell you you're "licensing" it doesn't stop it being a purchase (see the comments about EU law). I really don't know why someone would want to buy one of these machines.
If you want Apple buy Apple or loose them a little market share and go elsewhere -- paying for an operating system so you can install it on a machine they don't want you to is just hypocritical.
If Apple decided to sell its OS to install on any machine you want I _might_ even buy a copy at least to play with -- as it is I don't buy from companies who think they can tell me what to do with products I buy from them.
@Mac Phreak Posted Monday 1st June 2009 13:46 GMT
I am a mac user have been for years but just very annoyed that i have to fork out so much more money just to be able to use OS X. I can get a good spec Dell Laptop for £500 but a similar spec Mac Book Pro will set me back £1,300 absolute madness.
Both Apple and Microsoft are just as bad as each other.
@ Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 1st June 2009 13:09 GMT
Don't hide behind the penguin - we all know you're a MSFT fanboi...
Chances are that *if* MSFT had taken the approach Apple have the market wouldn't be so imbalanced and MSFT WOULDN'T HAVE A MONOPOLY TO ABUSE - hence the anti-trust suit9s0 that have been brought, and UPHELD, against them !!! It's *really* not that hard to imagine... Do your views apply to the XBox?
How do apple get away with this? If Microsoft sold Windows that only worked on hardware made and sold by them for a hugely inflated price then the anti competition crowd would have a field day.
If Microsoft are taken to the cleaners for bundling IE with windows why aren't Apple being investigated for blatant anti competitive behaviour?
I may be totally wrong but I have always wondered how they get away with it!
@Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 1st June 2009 10:18 GMT
If you knew anything about hardware (you clearly don't) you'd know that the architecture of ALL desktop computers as we know them has essentially been the same since their initial inception in the early 80's with the IBM AT platform, Apple architecture moving toward this architecture with the early Performas. Infact, the ONLY thing that really separates the various desktop PC's is how they initially boot. This, on what you refer to PC's (see my first sentence) is done by something called BIOS. Apple uses a system, initially designed by Intel, called EFI, which has been around and used by several hardware vendors for quite some time, with Linux being the first OS to fully support it. Incidentally Windows Vista x64 SP1/Server 2008 SP1 are the ONLY versions of Windows that FULLY support EFI. But hey, why piss on your fire? Apple's computers are "just a PC clone now" if it's helps you sleep at night.