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Summary:

I wrote earlier about Mac clones and where Apple may draw the line. A recent example I gave of the sheer bravado of the cloners was the story of EFI-X USA selling a dongle with PCs as pseudo-Mac clones. The company that supplies the dongle did […]

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I wrote earlier about Mac clones and where Apple may draw the line. A recent example I gave of the sheer bravado of the cloners was the story of EFI-X USA selling a dongle with PCs as pseudo-Mac clones. The company that supplies the dongle did not approve of this, and I mentioned in my article how EFI-X USA admitted as much.

Well, today comes a report that the company making the dongle (Arts Studios Entertainment Media) has officially severed ties with EFI-X USA as their North America distributor. According to the article: 

The whole situation was triggered when EFI-X USA LLC (unrelated to ASEM as a company) started peddling generic PCs with pre-installed OS X and the EFI-X dongle. This upset ASEM which sought to block the American shop from selling machines. A falling out of sorts ensued and, as of the 12th of January, ASEM has come forward and denounced the EFIX USA business model as breaching its NDA and terms & conditions.

Good for them. As they had shown before, they see a difference between selling an item for a one-off Mac installation on PCs, and wholesale distribution of what are essentially Mac clones. As explained in my post, Apple has little history of going after one-off “Hackintoshes,” but are not likely to stand around while anything resembling a ready-made Mac is being sold to the public at large. 

Keep in mind that the dongle in question is still available. ASEM has simply picked a more, shall we say, ethical, distributor: 

ASEM has appointed a new EFI-X partner in the US. It’s named Express HD, a newly-founded hardware etailer that’ll take over selling ASEM’s EFI-X UEFI dongle.

Lest there be any doubt this was a case of ASEM knowing the difference between enabling a thing, and selling it ready-made as a “Mac,” comments from ASEM’s CEO should make it clear: 

Not peddling hardware pre-installed with OS X and not pitching itself as a competitor to Apple is what sets the EFI-X apart from the likes of Psystar and other clone makers, says [ASEM CEO David] Rutigliano.

Exactly. 

Obviously, I don’t know what Apple’s future intentions are regarding the practice of bypassing the Mac OS X EULA and installing it on non-Apple hardware. Maybe at some point they’ll decide ASEM’s dongle makes it a little too easy, and try to shut it down as well. But I tend to think they won’t, certainly not anytime soon, and will continue to focus their efforts on the Psystars of the world.

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  1. If I were Apple, I think I’d look at it like this: If a company is selling a chip that enables tech-savvy users who are interested in installing OS X on a non-Apple machine with relative ease, that user is still likely to know enough to not expect support from Apple. However, if a company is selling ready-made machines with OS X preinstalled, not only is it likely to cut into Apple’s hardware profits far more than a chip would, it also opens up the possibility of novice users who want a Mac but want it cheap to think that because they bought the machine with OS X, they deserve support from Apple on it, in spite of Apple having no involvement.

    As such, Apple should probably not bother going after the niche market chip manufacturer, but focus their efforts on making it clear that pre-made Macs are not okay.

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