Mysterious Mac clone maker for sale

Open Tech for sale for $50,000, says company VP.

A Mac clone maker that said it would soon start selling Intel-based computers able to run Apple's Mac OS X is itself now for sale, according to the company's vice president.

In an e-mail sent to Computerworld and several other technology publications, Elijah Samaroo, the vice president of online sales at Open Tech, announced that the firm is on the block. "Open Tech is For sale," said Samaroo in the short e-mail. "This includes all trade secrets and brand equity. Thanks you for tour [sic] time."

According to additional information on Open Tech's Web site, the sales price is $50,000, and payment can be made only through PayPal, eBay's online payment service. "As soon as the payment is received your information will be emailed to you or faxed," the site read.

"We are selling the Open Tech name, the website, the trade secrets, and press contacts all in one package," said the company.

Samaroo did not reply to questions about Open Tech's sale.

Open Tech, which last month said it was getting ready to sell Intel-powered computers that could run Apple's operating system, never actually created an online ordering section of its Web site, which is hosted on a domain belonging to Tokelau, a South Pacific island territory of New Zealand that in the past has been widely used by cybercriminals and scammers.

Also last month, an Open Tech spokesman who identified himself only as "Tom," said that the company would do legal battle with Apple if necessary. He also refused to give his full name or title -- although he claimed to be part of Open Tech's legal team -- because of "the ruthless sharks that are swimming around."

Unlike Psystar, the Florida Mac clone maker that has been sued by Apple, Open Tech was not going to preinstall Mac OS X 10.5 on its US$620 Open Tech Home and US$1,200 Open Tech XT systems. Instead, it planned to shift the legal responsibility to customers by shipping the machines without an operating system.

Psystar was sued by Apple in early July over copyright and trademark infringement, breach of contract and unfair competition issues. Apple charged that Psystar's practice of installing Leopard on its machines violated the Mac OS X end-user licensing agreement (EULA). That license specifically bars users from installing the operating system on non-Apple hardware.

Two weeks ago, Psystar posted a message on its Web site stating it was still in business, a move perhaps prompted by media reports of the Apple lawsuit.

In a filing to federal court last week, attorneys for Apple and Psystar agreed to a second extension to the deadline Psystar faced in responding to Apple's complaint. The new deadline is Thursday.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)

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