Heater wrote:Edit: Ah, just found your links. Thanks. Interesting, those statements seem a bit odd given the points I made above. It's inviting cloning the Pi whilst knowing that cloning is all but impossible !
Perhaps they thought, having secured a deal with Broadcom to buy SoC's at a price others could not obtain, they would be able to act as resellers or middle-men to those who wanted to clone, able to buy in quantities which Broadcom likes while allowing cloners to buy smaller quantities from them. That's pretty much the model most component distributors work to.
I more likely suspect that they were thinking, if they did make the Pi available for cloning and the Chinese jump on the bandwagon, those doing that cloning would manufacture in such quantity that they could secure direct purchases in the quantities Broadcom would entertain.
That first possibility might still be on the cards today if RPT/RPF were inclined to do that. There seems no reason the manufacturer of the SoC would want to restrict sales only to RPT/RPF usage and it would probably be illegal if they did, and there seems no reason they would want to restrict their profits by limiting sales. It would seem the more RPT/RPF buy the better it would be for them. There may however be legal, commercial and capacity issues I don't know about.
Added: In some ways the Pi is already a clone product, both RS and Farnell producing clones of the RPT/RPF design. I don't know if RS and Farnell buy their SoC's direct from whoever makes it, through RPT, Sony or whoever.
Second Added: It also has to be remembered that Eben was talking at a time where it was believed only 10,000 units would be sold and the Foundation had no capacity or funds to produce in quantity, so third-party cloners were a good vision for mass production. Only when it looked like there was demand for 100,000 were RS and Farnell bought on board as a means to satisfy that demand. Had everyone known and accepted that 10 million Pi's would be sold things may have been done very differently, but no one believed that at the time. Even my own 'wildly optimistic predictions' were well short of the mark.