You must’ve heard of Psystar – the guys who are giving Apple lawyers sleepless nights. The recent news of cheaper iPhones & Apple netbooks got me thinking about Apple’s future market expansion and what role can Psystar play in it. Here are 2 reasons why in my opinion Apple should go and buy Psystar rather than fight them.

The first reason why Apple should buy Psystar is ‘coz they get rid of the law suit against them.

Secondly, let’s face it, people want Apple products. They have a certain premium value attached to them. Who doesn’t want a premium product? But not all can pay for it. Apple too is in a dilemma the way I see it. They are in a catch-22 situation. They either risk their premium status or gain mass market.

There were reports of Apple coming out with a netbook and even a 4 GB iPhone for $99 which would be sold through Wal-Mart. Now if I were a Mac zealot I would feel disrespected. I mean Wal-Mart? C’mon! Since when did premium stuff start selling off Wal-Mart & Best Buy? The same would be true for netbooks. Paying $1000 for a Macbook & the person sitting next to you in the train has a sub $250 Mac. Premium netbooks? Nah! Netbooks suck anyway. Now either they come with pocket friendly (as in low cost) netbooks or they might as well chuck the whole idea.

Apple runs the risk of losing it’s premium status if they go for mass market penetration. If every Tom, Dick & harry owned an Apple iPhone bought from Walmart & an Apple netbook, Apple pretty much ends up becoming any other computer manufacturer, only difference they have their own software. Other than that HP & Sony too make desktops, laptops, netbooks & even mobile devices. Whether the product is better or not is subjective.

Mass penetration makes Apple another PC manufacturer and that is why they should NOT attempt mass market with their brand.

Here is where Psystar comes into picture. Let’s take for example, HP. They bought Compaq and now sell Compaq machines at a price point lower than HP machines but they have pretty much the same configurations. Now what this does for HP is that they can tap into the premium segment with their HP range and the price conscious market with their Compaq range. The best part is that HP still has it’s brand value of being a premium PC product.

Other examples are the 2 biggest airlines in India. Both Jet & Kingfisher bought low cost airlines and now have premium and cost conscious customers with solutions while maintaining their brand values. I’m pretty sure if we were to research we would find many examples of this model in Silicon Valley itself.

Hear is what I’d say to Apple –

  1. Buy Psystar and rename it.
  2. Eat another half of the Apple, stick it behind the Psystar computers.
  3. Load them with an OS X version like Vista Basic, no frills basic operating system.
  4. Make netbooks under the renamed Psystar brand.
  5. Don’t make a 4GB $99 iPhone.

This IMO ensures that Apple as a brand maintains its niche & premium status with it’s customer base intact and loyal, at the same time they now will get mass market penetration with their newly purchased Psystar brand. Win-win eh?