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iBox: Rise Of The Clones, Again?

iBox: Rise Of The Clones, Again?

by , 11:00 AM EST, April 2nd, 2003

There's no such thing as a Mac clone anymore, right? Well, according a Wired News report by Leander Khaney, that may not be true for very long.

It seems that one intrepid entrepreneur has a design in mind for a Mac that will remind some of a modernized version of the faithful old PowerMac 6100 series. According the article titled Pizza Box or iMac? No, an iBox, John Fraser wants your next Mac to be a squat little box with all the amenities of a Mac but without the cost, or OS. Mr. Fraser plans to dodge some of impending legal hassles with Apple by offering his iBox sans OS. From the article:

John Fraser, a 21-year-old engineer from Chanhassen, Minnesota, is finalizing the design for his flat "pizzabox" Mac and hopes to go into production in three to four months. If successful, Fraser will be the first third party to make a Mac since Apple shut down its three-year experiment in clone licensing in 1997.

Unlike the world of Windows PCs, which has many hardware makers, Apple is the only company making Macs. Apple doesn't license its operating system to outside hardware manufacturers.

Fraser hopes to sidestep the licensing issues by using older, off-the-shelf parts made by Apple and sold to computer repair outfits as spare parts. He will use Apple-made motherboards preloaded with Macintosh ROMs -- the vital piece of hardware-cum-software that makes a Mac a Mac. Customers will supply their own Mac operating system.

However, Fraser may still face legal problems with patents and trademarks, legal experts said. Apple is notoriously protective of its intellectual property, and has not hesitated to go after hardware manufacturers, software publishers and websites for infringement.

The Wired News article is an interesting read and it has pictures, so check it out.

The Mac Observer Spin:

iBox? If Wired News had posted this yesterday we might have thought it was an April Fool's joke. In fact, we're still not sure it's not. If true, Mr. Fraser may have more than Apple's famed legal beagles to contend with; iBox is a name already used on a PC clone from a company call iDotPC. We find it hard to believe that the iDotPC folks would be thrilled about Mr. Fraser's choice of names.

Still, the thought of a Mac clone will raise more than a few eyebrows and it's a story that needs watching.

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