Attack Of The Clones?

Arik Hesseldahl

I've wondered for some time when this might happen. I don't know exactly what to make of it, but The Inquirer noticed an item on the OSx86 Project site concerning sightings of Intel-based Mac clones.

The Inq links to this Alibaba page which advertises a "PowerPC G6 Macintosh" for sale at $499. And an odd-looking beast it is, or appears to be. Though it carries the name of the PowerPC, the specificiations given suggest the vendor is a bit confused as to which processor is actually inside the box: "G6 CPU:90nm 3800MHz SSE3 Central Processing Unit Intel Pentium4 3.8GHz SSE3 Prescott, 64-bit PowerPC-G6 Processor Intel Inside 284KB Memory On-Chip."

It's advertised by an outfit caling itself, short for Rapid electronic Devices Personal Computer MicroSystems Corporation. There is little about this outfit that can be confirmed. More after the jump.

The contact information at the bottom of the Alibaba ad gives two phone numbers in area code 309, which is in Illinois. Both of which turned out to be fax machines. A whois search for yielded another phone number in area code 213, which serves downtown Los Angeles. A person who answered that phone number didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned "RedPCs."

Visiting on the web yields only a "server down" message. And the source code of that page points to a webhost called which appears to be located in Iowa. I found an older version of its site at The Internet Archive.

The outfits "company profile" page on Alibaba claims RedPCs was founded in the year zero, that it boasts 1,000 or more employees, that it takes in annual sales between $10 and $50 million. It's "about us" page shed a tad more light, saying it was founded in 1995.

As a good friend of mine once said, the whole thing looks sketchier than an art class.

Now then, having said all this about this suppossed vendor, I've been wondering for some time when the clone problem would first rear its head in Apple's MacIntel era. Apple has made its feelings on this issue quite clear: No one but Apple may build and sell Mac OS X-compatible computers.

Yet the shift to Intel chips can't help but encourage the existence of an unsanctioned market for non-Apple, Mac compatible clones. If this happens in any widespread fashion, Apple's lawyers are going to be busy. If you see anyone selling more machines like this -- or get your hands on one -- let me know.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.