Last February I turned my Lenovo PC laptop into a Lenovo Mac and many readers told me what I was doing was illegal. Well, if that was illegal, what about the incredible offer from Psystar everybody has been talking about in the last few weeks? Here is a video on TechCrunch, long but worth watching, showing how Leopard runs smoothly on this PC, as does on my Lenovo laptop. This OpenComputer is much more powerful then a Mac Mini and at the same time is also much cheaper.

So this is my question… are clones good or bad for Apple? Will Apple prohibit them? I don’t think so, because even if they won’t let companies bundle Leopard with clones, users will always be able to buy it separately or get it illegally and install it on their PCs. Pandora’s box was opened with Apple’s shift to Intel processors.

Even if many of my readers believe clones are bad for Apple, I think clones will be instrumental for Mac OsX to get really popular and Apple much more valuable as a company. If Bill Gates has become the richest man in the world with PC clones, I don’t see why the same shouldn’t happen with Apple. Maybe clones are better then proprietary systems simply from the point of view of shareholders.

Those of my readers who bought Apple shares, like I did, last January, when I suggested to buy them at $134, could sell them today at $178. This means that if one of my readers bought $100.000 in Apple stock at $134, now he can sell them for $132.000 and get a 32% return, not bad after 90 days and reading a blog post!

With clones Apple will sell more copies of OsX and more software. It’s like piracy for Microsoft. Microsoft fights piracy but piracy is what made Windows a real global standard. Those who can pay do, others don’t. They get it illegaly but still use it. Opposing piracy is one of the reasons FON supports free software (in my company we use almost only open source software). Piracy hurts open source with its best advantage, being free (gratis).

Clones are part of the ecosystem and will incentivate Apple building better products. Let’s not forget the iPhone was a total commercial failure until it got hacked, and hacking is quite close to cloning.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Olivier on May 4, 2008  · 

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