Psystar offers Blu-ray burner in Mac clones

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Mac clone-maker Psystar brought out an option for those users that want the ability to play and burn Blu-ray formatted disks.

The Blu-ray option is available on its low-end Open and high-end OpenPro configurations. Both of those computers come pre-installed with Mac OS X Leopard. A Blu-ray burner costs an additional $350 in both configurations, bringing the retail price to $904 and $1504, respectively.

Many users expected Apple to offer the Blu-ray disk option in its computers for the past couple of years. Apple is a member of the Blu-ray association, but to date the company has not offered the option on any of its systems.

But Apple has not shown any inclination toward adding Blu-ray to its systems, citing the cost of licensing the technology. At this month’s launch event for the updated MacBook line, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called Blu-ray “a bag of hurt” from a licensing standpoint.

“We’re waiting until things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace before we burden our customers with the cost of the licensing and the cost of the drives,” Jobs said.

Of course, most users recognize Psystar as the company that is fighting Apple for the right to make and sell Mac clones. Apple sued the company in July claiming it had violated the end-user license agreement for OS X, which does not allow users to “install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-labeled computer, or to enable others to do so.”

Psystar filed a counter suit claiming that Apple enjoys monopoly power by linking its hardware and the Mac OS and claimed that Apple violated antitrust laws when it blocked users from installing OS X on computers not built by Apple. Apple has asked a judge to dismiss that suit, with a hearing on that motion set for next week.

The legal battle between the two companies seems far from over, but in the meantime Psystar will continue to offer low price Mac clones with options not available from Apple.

Updated at 10:37 a.m. to include more background on Apple’s stance toward Blu-ray.

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