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U > UNITRON (BRAZIL) > Mac 512   

Unitron (Brazil)
Mac 512

This machine was the first Macintosh clone in the whole world.

In Brazil it is almost unknown and there are people who doubt its existence, but it really did exist!
This computer almost started a commercial war between Brazil and the United States. Apple persuaded the U.S. government to use everything it could against the Brazilian clone makers (increases in import taxes for brazilian products such as orange juice, shoes, etc.) until this machine was no longer made.

Brazil had a tradition since the beginning of the 80's of cloning computers without permission from the original brand owners (see the lawsuit moved by Sinclair against Microdigital). Apple had so far tolerated brazilian clones of the Apple II, but not this time...

There were differences between this machine and genuine Macs: Some of Unitron's macs had keyboards with black keys, some others had grey keys. Some versions had a disc drive with a button to eject the disc, others were like the original Mac and had no button in its disc drive.

The end of making Brazilian Mac clones may have been not good for Apple in the long run since it opened the doors of Brazilian market to PC clones that didn't have such restrictions.

Thanks to Ernesto Hublard from Brazil for information.


Jonas Pachciarek Roter adds:
I would say that Apple's decision to sue Unitron was a huge mistake. Not that they shouldn't do something but how it was done.
This decision made them stay out of our market for more than ten years. Currently Apple's local market share is still very small.
IBM's decision to tolerate clones made them stronger and is most probably the reason why 99% of the market uses IBM XT descendents.

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Just a little correction to Ricardo Tolomelli, the so called protection to brazilian industry and technology has been imposed after the brazilian military government, by the president José Sarney.

MSX could only be bought on the black market, mainly (but not uniquely) from Paraguay.

Saturday 25th January 2020
Gilberto Martins (Brazil)
Linux Drops

When I was a college student, in 1984. These little Macintosh computers were so expensive, nobody could buy them. I would had loved to had the Brazilian copycat computer. I was so mad at Macintosh for the expensive computer, which I had to use at the University to type my homework on. I resolved never to buy an Apple product. Years later, delivering air freight, Apple still "pimps" their products to kids, and the poor parents have to pay out of their pocket for overpriced computers!

Saturday 14th September 2013
Edward W. Jackson (Missouri, USA)

During the military dictatorship in Brazil, which lasted till 1986, the government applied rules to "protect" brazilian industry and technology development by forbidding any kind of import for products that we "could produce" here. The cloning industry was then : supported" by the government when they showed they could produce similar computer with "local technology", in fact they were just cloning and manufacturing them here, the development involved was just on how to produce the same components here and not import anything.

I used to have and Apple I and Apple II clones, both from Microdigital, and an MSX from Gradiente (which I''m not sure if it was cloned or licensed, but it was fully produced in Brazil). Those were the only options we could find on the (white) market during those days. Anything apart from it has to be illegally imported, and was very hard to find (not to mention their programs).

Those "protection" laws were on until beginning of 90''s, when Fernando Collor, the president, $ped them, and the cloning industry died. Actually, that was the only good thing he did to our country... but that''s another story.

Wednesday 27th June 2012
Ricardo Tolomelli (Brazil)


NAME  Mac 512
MANUFACTURER  Unitron (Brazil)
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  Brazil
YEAR  1985
KEYBOARD  Full stroke qwerty 58 keys
CPU  Motorola 68000
SPEED  Unknown
RAM  512 KB
ROM  64 KB
TEXT MODES  40 chars x 32 lines bit-mapped
GRAPHIC MODES  512 x 342 dots
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  Unknown
SIZE / WEIGHT  Probably same as the original Mac 512
BUILT IN MEDIA  3.5'' floppy disk drive
OS  A thing called ''System'' (actually it was a MacOS version translated and adpted by Unitron).
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  Unknown

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