mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This would look great next to my eOne...

AOpen, a computer hardware manufacturer best known for their motherboards, has revealed the AOpen Pandora, a small-form-factor PC that looks very similar to the Apple Mac Mini.

Now, there is a lengthy discussion in the forum, with Mac fans claiming that it's a direct knockoff of the Mac Mini and PC people saying that it's just a coincidence and that there were other small-form-factor PC's, some of which shared design characteristics of the Mini, before the Mini. I tend to side with the Apple crowd - the Pandora looks nearly identical to the Mac Mini to my eyes. (For the record, I own both a desktop PC and an Apple Powerbook, so I consider myself pretty neutral).

There is a bunch of debate over if Apple will sue AOpen, and if they will win.

What's funny is that this isn't the first time that a company has tried to make a knockoff of an Apple product and gotten sued by Apple. When the original Bondi Blue iMac came out, eMachines came out with a knockoff, the eOne. The eOne looked similar to the iMac, but was a Celeron running Windows 98. It also had a few interesting features of it's own - including RCA inputs, so you could hook up a gaming console or DVD player and use it as a monitor.

Apple sued eMachines, and they ended up settling the case by agreeing to pull the eOne.

In a way, it doesn't really matter if the AOpen is a ripoff of the Mac Mini or not - chances are that Apple will sue (Apple likes to sue). AOpen will probably wind up giving in and settling - small form factor PC's aren't a big part of their business, and they would probably rather stop selling these than devote the time and money to fighting the lawsuit.

As a side note, I'm actually the proud owner of this fine eOne, which I consider to be a part of computing history. A few months back, an English professor at the college I work at mentioned that he had one and was about to replace it. I told him I might be interested in buying it. I offered him $50, and he initially balked, but then realized nobody else would want it and accepted. I threw Fedora on it. It's kind of slow, but then again it is about 5 years old. It does have some nifty touches, like the afformentioned monitor feature and a PCMCIA slot.


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