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Old 23 January 2019, 15:01   #1
Gorf
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Should have Commodore copied Dell?

Commodore and Atari did very well in Europe, especially in U.K. and Germany. But both Companies failed to find enough distributors in the U.S. market.

It is said Jack Tramiel alienated computer-shops at his time with C= by selling through Kmart etc. and he continued to do so with Atari until he was forced to buy "Federated", a chain of computer stores, to have his own markets ... but that turned out to be a disaster and a 100 million dollar loss in the end..

The truth is probably much simpler: computer dealers preferred to sell PCs in the 80s, because they would earn more per unit. That was of course even more true for Apple products, leading to very loyal dealers.

(Both companies did not face this problem in Europe as customers due to a series of reasons.... but that would be a different discussion....)

At the same time starting with 1985 Michael Dell managed to sell millions of devices with a very low margin, by getting rid of dealers and shops all together and sending his computers direly to the customers, but still providing good service.

So would direct marketing have need a good way for commodore?
What do you think?
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Old 23 January 2019, 15:40   #2
hooverphonique
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I'm not sure OP is about Amiga, but if it is, my understanding is that Commodore did exactly the opposite as described above, in the US (refused to sell Amigas through anything but dedicated computer stores), thus not establishing any significant foothold.

Last edited by hooverphonique; 23 January 2019 at 18:06.
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Old 23 January 2019, 15:51   #3
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I'm not sure OP is about Amiga, but if it is, my understanding is that Commodore did exactly the opposite in the US (refused to sell Amigas through anything but dedicated computer stores), thus not establishing any significant foothold.
Yes of course it is about Amiga! (What else?)

And yes: they tried to sell through dedicated stores (at least in the beginning), but struggled to find enough dealers. That is exactly what raises the question what could they have done better.
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Old 23 January 2019, 16:08   #4
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Jeff Porter said on the Amiga32 festival in Neuss in 2017, that in his opinion it was Commodores big mistake they didn't market the Amiga in the US as they did in Europe.

He described Commodore managers in the US were abhorred by the thought that their the Amiga was" sold in a Toys R Us store", which was stupid since no one gave a shit about the Amiga as a serious business machine anyway.
So it was a big hit in europe where people bought it as a games, demos, music and creativity machine, while it wasn't in the US.
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Old 23 January 2019, 16:30   #5
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the reason I mentioned Atari here:
The ST was (theoretically) sold everywhere as Jack's opinion was: "whoever wants to sell it" - but it did not help much either as many dealers refused and that was leading eventually to the mentioned "Federated" disaster (87-89)...

So might selling only direct to customer be a way?

Dell was/is very successful with it, but it had a big advantage: people did know what a PC is and would see/touch/test them in any other real shop ... Dell was selling the same product only cheaper...
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Old 23 January 2019, 18:12   #6
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Shops wouldn't sell the ST because Tramiel was a horrible person that treated his business partners like shit.
Simply no one wanted to conduct business with him anymore because they knew him from his Commodore days.

I dont really get what you want to state in this thread. Yeah, maybe the ST would have sold better that way.

The Amiga was completely marketed in a wrong way in the US.
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Old 23 January 2019, 18:20   #7
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I dont really get what you want to state in this thread.
Just trying to discuss how C= could have come out of this dilemma in the U.S. market.
Maybe it would have been as easy as you suggest: just sell it via Toys'R'Us and Kmart....
But Atari did this and it did not help very much. Was that only Jack's fault?

Or was the Amiga kind of doomed in the U.S. market from the very beginning?
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Old 23 January 2019, 22:59   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steril707 View Post
Shops wouldn't sell the ST because Tramiel was a horrible person that treated his business partners like shit.
Simply no one wanted to conduct business with him anymore because they knew him from his Commodore days.

I dont really get what you want to state in this thread. Yeah, maybe the ST would have sold better that way.

The Amiga was completely marketed in a wrong way in the US.
Horrible yes..... there's no other word for that.
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Old 24 January 2019, 00:34   #9
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Wtf? I've had a lot of experience with Dell workstations. They're the most poorly designed, unreliable pieces of shit I've ever seen. Their servers suck as well. Overpriced rubbish.
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Old 24 January 2019, 00:46   #10
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Wtf? I've had a lot of experience with Dell workstations. They're the most poorly designed, unreliable pieces of shit I've ever seen. Their servers suck as well. Overpriced rubbish.
a) we are of course talking about the timeframe of 1984 to 1994, when we compare C= to Dell. Dell was a one-man-startup in 84 to become a Fortune500 company by 92, while C= was already on it's way to bankruptcy.

b) Today they may not sell perfect products, but they made a revenue of 60 billion dollars in 2016. They archived this by focusing on direkt to customer marketing since the very beginning.
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Old 24 January 2019, 07:27   #11
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Or was the Amiga kind of doomed in the U.S. market from the very beginning?
Of course it was. Americans were only concerned with three types of computer back then: Apple, IBM and Nintendo. End of.
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Old 24 January 2019, 10:41   #12
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Just trying to discuss how C= could have come out of this dilemma in the U.S. market.
That's a super difficult question to answer without the experience of having lived in the US in the late 80ies.

Quote:
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Or was the Amiga kind of doomed in the U.S. market from the very beginning?
Seems the Amiga was heavily marketed as the "Genlock Video Computer" to professionals there and had some success in that market.

The 1000 was super niche as well in the beginning in europe. There were probably a lot more US Amiga 1000s around then.

The real turnaround happened in Europe with the 500, and exactly at a spot in time where a lot of people wanted to switch to something newer from their C64s, and somehow PCs or Macs were just too expensive and also uninteresting for those 13 to 18 year olds back then who wanted colourful games, demos and nice sound to toy around with.

Somehow that "Amiga 500 moment" never happened in the US, it seems.

Why it was like that, I don't know. I can only restate what Jeff Porter said on stage at the Amiga32. That he thought it was completely stupid that the 500 was marketed at a business audience in the US who thought it was a toy and stayed with their IBM PCs, and those teens who might have loved it back then were probably not even aware of its existence because there were no advertisements or reviews in their computer and video gaming mags, nor were there A500s in the stores they usually frequented.

But like I said, I wasn't living in the US in the late 80ies, so it's all hearsay from my side.
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Old 24 January 2019, 18:26   #13
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The 1000 was super niche as well in the beginning in europe. There were probably a lot more US Amiga 1000s around then.
mostly because of the insanely high $ exchange rate back in 85 due to a certain FED policy in the early 80s. In the following years the $ dropped by 50% in value in comparison to german DM and British Pound. As soon as it would have become affordable in Europe the A1000 was canceled...

Quote:
Somehow that "Amiga 500 moment" never happened in the US, it seems.
sadly true ... I guess Jeff Porter ist somewhat right on this.
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