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Old 16 February 2003, 00:32   #1
Jherek Carnelia
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How YOU would have saved the Amiga

I just wondered....
Is Bill Gates the best computer businessman that ever lived - or did he just get lucky?
Could the Amiga have gone on to become the ubiquitous machine that the PC is? And, if so, how could it have been achieved? Where did Commodore go wrong? Was there anything that they could do to make the Amiga survive and crush all competition (and if they had would we hate them as much as Bill?
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Old 16 February 2003, 03:42   #2
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In my opinion, I think the Amiga 600 is where they Amiga went wrong!! Like I said thats my personal opinion, please dont slag me off!!
 
Old 16 February 2003, 06:39   #3
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Not the A600 again! if they fucked up, it was with the A500+

Anyway, how would I have saved Amiga? Killing the WHOLE marketing department at Commodore and hire new, competent people. And I would have killed Jack Tramiel in public.

That would have saved Commodore. And Atari!
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Old 16 February 2003, 07:26   #4
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Well the A500 was state of the art back when it came out in 1987 but waiting untill 1992 to release the A1200 was nuts. 5 Years without a major hardware update pretty much killed them.

1987 pc's were pure dos (MSDOS 3.x), and Windows 2.0 (nobody used it) just came out so the A500 was killer at the time. The processors on the pc were slow 386DX 20 processor and EGA video was the norm, 486 coming out in 1989 so the 500 is very competative.

By 1992 Microsoft had the incredably popular Windows 3.1 and Windows for workgroups that owned the buisiness market (well taking alot of it from the MAC anyway). 1992 users had pretty fast 486 machines and the Pentium 1 line came out in 1993 so by then the A1200 was pretty slow. The win3.11 craze started the ball rolling on windows video acceleration and
multimedia bringing the PC out of the stone age. 1024x768 was standard by 1993

Basically if commodore could have had the A1200 come out maybe in 1990 and flogging it as the be all end all game system (get rid of AGA and do a full VGA resolution display compatible with the 9 pin monitors of the day they would have been alot better off. Also A1200 has to be 16bit not 8bit sound. Make 1 game system 500/1200 type and 1 buisines system 2000/4000 and skip the other crap like CDTV and CD32. Dont try getting into the ccommodity x86 market either. Commodore didnt invest enough money into the hardware, the A500 was revolutionary, the A1200 was evolutionary at best (IDE 2.5" HD's was smart). You cant do a slight refresh of your main product after 5 years and expect to be competative. the only thing Amiga had going for it was being ahead of the hardware curve, they lost that in the 90's and suffered for it.
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Old 16 February 2003, 16:21   #5
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Unknown_K is pretty much spot on. The great Amiga/PC struggle can be compared to the tortoise and the hare. The Amiga bolted off ahead, then paused for years whilst the PC tortoise slowly but surely passed it by - getting faster with each step.

The A500+, A600, and CDTV were complete wastes of time and resources (for me the CD32 killed off the Amiga). They were not a step forward from the A500/A1000 in all honesty were they?
One should always compare the equivalent Mac Hardware to see what Amigas *should* have had at any stage post 1987.

As Unknown_K said, Commodore should have adapted a two stroke strategy; one games machine line to stay ahead of the consoles and another business machine line to stay ahead of the Mac and Pcs in the multimedia field (as the business market was by then sown up):

Releasing the A1200 in 1990/1991 would definitely have been the best bet. It should have been an AGA spec 030/040 based machine around a built in CD drive (to get round pirating as cd burners were few at the time) with an external disk drive and external SCSI port for harddrives etc. That way it would have stayed ahead of the SNES and Megadrive, which was the bare minimum if you ask me.

And all this whilst pushing forward the high end A3000, A4000 as Mac/PC killing multimedia machines.

But to answer Jherek Carnelia original question, i dont think the Amiga could have gone on to become the ubiquitous machine that the PC is.

The Amiga dawned in 1985, the PC was already established in the business world by then. With Commodore's useless excuse for marketing personnel, they didnt have a chance in hell to alter that. But it could have survived as niche platform, you see in all honesty, one has to say that if Apple has survived, then so should have the Amiga.
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Old 16 February 2003, 17:56   #6
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I wonder what would have happened had that rumor about IBM purchasing CBM come true
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Old 16 February 2003, 18:37   #7
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The Amiga was always destined to be a niche player like the Mac because of 1 major thing... Proprietary hardare controlled by 1 company.

The PC is the king because IBM got lazy and used all off the shelf industry standard parts (they didnt know it would be what it is today).

You cant create a system with a soul using of the shelf standard parts.
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Old 16 February 2003, 21:10   #8
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Cool

Quote:
Originally posted by Antiriad
Releasing the A1200 in 1990/1991 would definitely have been the best bet. It should have been an AGA spec 030/040 based machine around a built in CD drive (to get round pirating as cd burners were few at the time) with an external disk drive and external SCSI port for harddrives etc. That way it would have stayed ahead of the SNES and Megadrive, which was the bare minimum if you ask me.
Antiriad surely you must be joking! Releasing the AGA Amiga 1200 in 1990/91 with an 030 or 040 with a CD drive would have been incredibly expensive at the time. Not only to develop but to sell as well. All those great features would have forced the price to well over 1000 no problem. So much for it being an entry-level machine. The only way Commodore could sell this monster of a machine to joe public would be to sell it at a hugely reduced price. Commodore would have gone bust in a matter of weeks if they had followed this route.
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Old 16 February 2003, 21:39   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve
Antiriad surely you must be joking! Releasing the AGA Amiga 1200 in 1990/91 with an 030 or 040 with a CD drive would have been incredibly expensive at the time.
Yup yup!

The answer to the problem was simpler: fire all marketing people
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Old 16 February 2003, 22:23   #10
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Well at least the CD drive and a 030.
The SCSI thing was a little much i guess...

Im dead serious! The A1200 was too cheap upon release! It should have retailed at 600!
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Old 16 February 2003, 23:55   #11
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Well, Unknown_K said it all !
The A-1200 wasn't something really new and unbelievable great as the C64 or A-500 was when it was released. It was just a polished and tuned up A-500, imho. This also was the reason why I never bought an A-1200 back then when it came out.
I think C= should have released another new Computer like the C64 or Amiga was. I don't think it was a big advantage for the A-1200 to be backward compatible to the 500. For business a card based system with grafik and soundcards like in a PC would have been the best, and for games compatibility to old A-500 software wasn't necessary since there would have been ports for the new system anyways !
But this would have meant death of the Amiga, but birth of a new Commodore system instead
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Old 17 February 2003, 00:23   #12
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i reckon if we all clubbed together we could buy out Amiga Inc... and re-launch a new machine
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Old 17 February 2003, 00:36   #13
Jherek Carnelia
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Count me in for a tenner!
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Old 17 February 2003, 01:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve
Antiriad surely you must be joking! Releasing the AGA Amiga 1200 in 1990/91 with an 030 or 040 with a CD drive would have been incredibly expensive at the time. Not only to develop but to sell as well. All those great features would have forced the price to well over 1000 no problem. So much for it being an entry-level machine. The only way Commodore could sell this monster of a machine to joe public would be to sell it at a hugely reduced price. Commodore would have gone bust in a matter of weeks if they had followed this route.
If they were smart they would have built the boards with a built in upgrade socket, kind of like intel soldering a sx25 486 into the motherboard but having a socket for a full 486 DX chip that takes over once installed (1 motherboard.. multiple chip settings something they should have learned from the intel architecture). That way they can sell the entry level systems and the resellers could easily upgrade them to buisiness class by adding 1 chip. Also why the hell couldnt they use standard 30 pin simms for memory upgrades on the board? Commodore always skimped on the amount of ram they had standard. If the A500/1200 had a built in scsi controller adding industry standard external devices would have been easy and simple so cdroms would not have had to be standard but could easily be added later. The power brick could have been made better with a better rating.

Oh and how about a high density disk drive on the A1200.. did they have a huge stock of old drives or something?
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Old 17 February 2003, 03:55   #15
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I think Commodore got it wrong right from the start. They seemed to push the Amige line as an alternative to the IBM compatible PC - I think they should have pushed it as a replacement of the IBM-PC.

I mean - they released an IBM-compatible hardware/software add-on to make the Amiga IBM compatible - WHY???. They may has well have said "If you want to run buisness software you'll need IBM compatibility, if you want to do something else look at the Amiga". They should have concentrated on either porting or writing Amiga-equivilent (or better) apps for those commonly used on the IBM-PC.

Also I would have looked at stopping all product development except for the Amiga line, but keeping up production of the Commodore 64 at the lowest retail price possible (ie: Kill the 16/plus4/128/PC clones/C64GS).

The CDTV may have been a success if released with worthy software.
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Old 17 February 2003, 12:50   #16
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The Amiga died of the following things:

-A500+
-A600
-A570
-CD32
-CDTV

One of the main reasons why Amiga died is also the fact that we stuck with expensive technology. Why did they insist using expensive technology is something that needs to be questioned. For ex.

-Why did they stuck with the Zorro technology?

I also believe that the Amiga should have been back to where it started, i.e big box computers. I know that the desktop computers were succesful but look what happens in term of expandability. It would have been nice to have a big box Amiga with cheap PCI add-ons like graphics cards, modems, ethernet cards, sound cards and so on...
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Old 17 February 2003, 15:19   #17
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Exclamation

Another factor in CBM's/Amiga's demise which is easy to forget is market penetration. Part of the reason for the Amiga's demise was the A500's failure to establish itself as a C64 replacement in the U.S.

As Twistin' will no doubt confirm, CBM's pathetic marketing & support of developers stateside ensured the Amiga's fate there. Whilst it did feature heavily in serious app's like Deluxe Paint, & Desktop Video, the low-end failure of it being a home computer meant people replaced their C64's/Atari's etc. with PC's, if they wanted to play games they went Sega/Nintendo.

Shrinking worldwide markets, shrinking revenue.

General penny-pinching by CBM upper management starved Amiga R&D. Rather than the belated AGA release, had CBM not invested heavily in the PC market & instead concentrated its R&D on the AAA chipset Amiga's, it might've been able to retake the technology initiative & impact that the original Amiga had on its release.

@Unknown_K. CBM did have the option of including a high density drive, however costs were involved in order to sell at its pricepoint on release. Either the A1200 would've had 1meg RAM with high density drive, or 2meg ram with low-density drive. The CBM UK managing director Kelly Sumner confirmed this in an interview in The One magazine.

Realistically, in order to have survived The Amiga & Aplle technologies would've had to have merged or the Amiga to have taken over the Mac's market. And with the idiotic clowns headed by Gould & co. neither was ever going to happen!

Any longtime commodore fan would recall the pre-gates days, we'd endlessly complain about commodore's marketing & R & D!
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Old 17 February 2003, 16:27   #18
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Nope, you're all wrong.

The reason the Wintel PC got to it's position of dominance is because of one thing and one thing only.

Lotus 1,2,3.

This was the ultimate killer app, as all the bean-counters had to have it. No option. Bean-counters have control of the purse strings, so when they want somthing, guess what. It gets bought.

Because the bean-counters have MS-Intel PC's, they could save money buy buying in bulk. So the more of their work colleagues who used them the more they could save, and they could then lay off all the clerks who's job it was to add things up.

Ergo, massive dominance of the business market, and what do people buy for home use, for playing games, or taking work home? Same shit they've got at work. So the dominance trasfers to the Home market as well.

Commodore shot themselves in the foot by trying to break into the PC market with overpriced, underpowered crap, that didn't have good enough back up for them to be a force in the business arena.

So the PC division went belly up and took the rest of the company with it. Which was all done for a pointless stupid gamble buy the greatest moron in business history, who NEVER understood what the best thing the company had going for it was all about. And I think we all know who that was?

The whole board should be strung up, drawn, dipped in salt, quatered, shot and burnt. And they still won't have suffered enough.

So, anyone wish to kick holes in the logic?
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Old 17 February 2003, 16:58   #19
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Visicalc was the very first spreadsheet and came out for the apple 2 and everybody who wanted to use it (quite a few) purchased apple 2's. By your logic beancounters should still be using apple 2's or apples current visicacl machine.. but they dont.

Killer apps come and go by platform.

I jumped from my C64 to a pc286 because I needed a real computer for college, and the 286 still could play games since it was a vga machine. I never even thaught about an amiga 2000 (the 1200 wasnt made yet) because colleges didnt use amiga's and most engineering software (if not all of it) was on the industry standard PC.

The A2000 was popular for the video toaster addon, but how many video toasters were actually needed anyway? People purchased a toaster and whatever hardware they needed to run it on, so they were not amiga users but can be classified as toaster users.

So what do you have then, home users still playing around with an A500 ( a machine that was made in the late 80's) with nothing coming out to compete with PC power in the early 90's. Every early 90's pc had more memory, better resolution (VGA), and a built in harddrive plus HD floppies.. the A500 didnt (a500 hard disks are still hard to find even today).

Also by the early 90's amiga games were multifloppy.. I hate swapping disks all the time, the HD was a killer device for gamers at that point. How many of the old amiga 500 games even let you install them on a amiga HD even if you could afford one?

Dont forget the sound blaster 16's gravis ultrasounds, and soundscape audio boards came out for the PC in the early 90's while the A500/A1200 still stuck with 8bit sound and no midi so even the great lead in sound of the amiga's was lost.

Dont blame bean counters on the fact that the amiga wasnt updated fast enough to be a killer game machine in the 90's. it loast its lead and even the A1200 was a letdown compared to what was out on the PC. Also since PC''s came standard with alot more memory they also had the better games at the time (most software makers all jumped onto the PC by the time of the 386). In the buisiness world amiga never had a foothold anyway. People using wordperfect in the office wanted to use thier pirated copy of wordperfect at home.

Once the amiga lost the edge in gaming there was nothing that would save the platform.. which is why commodore would have gone under even if it didnt lose money making clones of PC's , the a600, cdtv, and cd32. Their core market had basically gone to another platform.
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Old 17 February 2003, 17:18   #20
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For the most part I agree with Unknown_K, I had to do almost the same thing, however my reason was that the company I worked for was diversifying as we could read the handwriting on the wall and knew that CBM on was a slippery slope into the black abyss

At that time I had to get my first PC, a 486 clone with only 8MB of ram. I purchased this over-priced behemoth for nothing more then to play games.
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