On July 11, MacCentral brought readers news that Zettabyte Solutions was offering users an eMac equipped with a SuperDrive. Apple currently sells the eMac with a Combo drive or a CD-RW, but doesn’t include the SuperDrive as an option.
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While sales of the SuperDrive eMac were brisk — 30-40 units a day — you won’t be able to get one of the machines from Zettabyte today. A note on Zettabyte’s Web site reads, “Due to legal restrictions we will no longer be able to sell our SuperDrive equipped eMac. We will honor all existing customer’s warranties.”
“These are Apple’s lawyer’s legal restrictions,” Chris Thompson, owner of Zettabyte Solutions told MacCentral. “I was not trying to hurt Apple or their sales, I was just trying to fill a need in the marketplace.”
After receiving two letters — one from Apple and one from their lawyers –Thompson tried to call Apple to explain his side of the story and to clear up any misunderstanding there may have been. But, according to Thompson, they were not willing to discuss the situation at all.
Zettabyte shipped as many eMacs as they could before they ran out of machines and had to cancel the remaining orders.
“We filled most of the orders; there was a certain point in time where I was not able to acquire any more eMacs and because of that some of the orders did have to be canceled and the money refunded to the customer,” said Thompson.
Thompson reassured owners that did receive their eMacs that “their warranties are intact and will remain intact for the duration of the warranty.”
Zettabyte will not be going away, instead the company is changing its strategy and will continue to fill a niche in the market by selling upgrade kits for users that want to change their optical drive.
This means that you can’t buy a machine from Zettabyte equipped with a SuperDrive, but if you already own a machine, the company will sell you the kit to install the drive yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable installing the kit, you can send your computer to them and they will install it for you. Zettabyte will also be focusing on machines that have few upgrade options available to them.
“I think a lot of Cube owners, early iBook owners and early PowerBook G4 owners are upset with the upgrade options available to them. We have already found a solution for them and we will offer Combo drives for those computers.”
Users should be aware that replacing the optical drive will void your Apple warranty — you should check with Zettabyte on warranty options before removing your drive.
Thompson said pricing for the upgrade kits has not been decided yet.
Representatives from Apple were not available to comment on this story.