English Amiga Board


Go Back   English Amiga Board > Main > Nostalgia & memories

 
 
Thread Tools
Old 26 November 2022, 17:42   #1
ImmortalA1000
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: london/england
Posts: 1,005
Why didn't Commodore buy bankrupt Cinemaware in 1991?

tl;dr version-Because Irving Gould was a greedy scumbag and his managers were clueless idiots.

NEC purchased a 20% stake in Cinemaware in exchange for the $700,000 shitshow of a CD game It Came from the Desert for PC Engine CD. This ultimately bankrupt them. It's a shit FMV game (crap acting, crap story) and FMV on the PC-E is a shit idea technically.

Instead of shoving CDTV out there as a set top box idiotic campaign Commodore should have only sold CDTV with a mouse and keyboard (and produced a Workbench CD-ROM) AND purchase Cinemaware for peanuts in 1991 when that shitshow of an idea for NEC killed them.

A 50mb hard disk install sized type of update with a much bigger game map and much more to do/places to see in the game (on CD-ROM obviously) of Amiga It Came from the Desert with CDDA extra speech/audio and HAM6 static screens and streamed blitter objects over 32/64 colour static backgrounds for simulated FMV type sections would have saved the machine. It would have been a killer app CDTV title on the scale of Defender of the Crown demo on Amiga 1000 in 1985/86. Would have cost a lot less than the below B movie direct to VHS bullshit NEC PC Engine CD version they did and a lot less embarrassing to play.

International Soccer sold a hell of a lot of Commodore 64s in the EU (didn't hurt that it cost HALF the price of Atari VCS Realsports Soccer on cartridge either), Jelly Monsters/Starbattle sold a lot of VIC-20s too. Commodore made f^#kall worth mentioning for Amiga.

Ah well.

(520ST was dead as a format by Summer 1991 so no point Atari buying it, STE was a shit update).
ImmortalA1000 is offline  
Old 27 November 2022, 00:00   #2
Bruce Abbott
Registered User

Bruce Abbott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Hastings, New Zealand
Posts: 1,370
Irving Gould was an investor in Commodore back when they were making typewriters. His cash injections saved the company many times. Without him there would be no VIC-20, C64 or Amiga!

Commodore International: early years
Quote:
With the financial backing of Atlantic Acceptance, Commodore expanded rapidly in the early 1960s. It purchased a factory in West Germany to manufacture its own typewriters, began distributing office furniture for a Canadian manufacturer...

In 1965, Atlantic Acceptance collapsed when it failed to make a routine payment. A subsequent investigation by a royal commission revealed a massive fraud scheme in which the company falsified financial records to acquire loans funneled into a web of subsidiaries in which C. Powell Morgan held a personal stake. Morgan then either pocketed the money or invested it in a series of unsuccessful ventures...

To extricate himself, Tramiel worked with a financier named Irving Gould, who brokered a deal to sell Wilson Stationers to an American company. Commodore now owed Gould money and still did not have sufficient capital to meet its payments, so Tramiel sold 17.9% of the company to Gould in 1966 for $500,000. As part of the deal, Gould became the new chairman of the company.
The purpose of a corporation is to make money for its owners. Whether it makes typewriters, computers or office furniture is just a means to this end. Like almost everyone back then, Gould had no interest in computers. He left that side to Jack Tramiel. However...

Quote:
In 1983, Tramiel decided to focus on market share and cut the price of the VIC-20 and C64 dramatically, starting what would be called the "home computer war". TI responded by cutting prices on its TI-99/4A, which had been introduced in 1981. Soon there was an all-out price war involving Commodore, TI, Atari, and practically every vendor other than Apple Computer...

Commodore's board of directors were as impacted as anyone else by the price spiral and decided they wanted out. An internal power struggle resulted; in January 1984, Tramiel resigned due to intense disagreement with the chairman of the board, Irving Gould... Now it was left to the remaining Commodore management to salvage the company's fortunes and plan for the future. It did so by buying a small startup company called Amiga Corporation
In 1984 Gould was 65 years old. Most people would be looking to capitalize their investments and retire at that age, not risk it all on a new computer line (especially when the PC was trampling over everything else). But by this time Gould was becoming an enthusiast...

Amiga Computing June 1991: Interview with Irving Gould
Quote:
Q: "What sort of company do you see Commodore being in five years
time?"


IG: "At my age? I don't know! You tell me! I think we are onto a great thing... if I am wrong about CDTV as a consumer item it's still the greatest educational tool that's ever been invented."

IG: "The Amiga for the first time allows (multimedia) at a reasonable price and that's the exciting part..."

IG "It's always been my goal to develop a product that's powerful and exciting but accessible to people like me who find it difficult to use a computer"
Was Gould greedy? No more than any other businessman of his status. Was he - like most Amiga fans - hopelessly optimistic and blind to the realities of the marketplace? For sure. Was he as incompetent as most of us would be if thrust into a position of leadership in those chaotic times? That too. But if you are going to blame him for the Amiga's demise you also have to give him credit for creating the machines we love.

The logical path would have been to fall in line with all the other big name manufacturers who were making PC clones, which we now know was the future. But...

Quote:
Q: "About IBM. When Commodore decided to PC compatibles it really bugged me..."

IG: "Whether we like it or not, or whether it's the best or worst machine in the world, you can decide yourself, I have my own opinion...

But, you can't fight City Hall... Most businesses throughout the world today have accepted MS-dos with all its dreariness and everything else... You can't change that... I'm the first one to admit. If Commodore had been on the ball the MS-dos wouldn't be. It would have been the PET standard. We were the first, We goofed..."
He obviously wasn't just in it for the money.

Imagine if you could travel back in time to 1991, to advise Gould that if he was to forgo most of his salary, cancel the CDTV and turn the Amiga into another dreary PC, Commodore might just hang in there for another 5 years. Let's hope you don't bump into past you and have to explain what you are doing...
Bruce Abbott is offline  
Old 27 November 2022, 11:18   #3
Megalomaniac
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Location: Eastbourne
Posts: 269
Would having an in-house developer have really helped Commodore that much? Cinemaware made quite a narrow range of titles. What makes you assume that the acting and story would have been better had the updated It Came From the Desert been a CDTV game under Commodore's auspices, rather than a PC Engine CD game under NEC's, just because they'd've been making it on a more powerful system?

Off-topic, but the STE still only being able to display 16 colours strikes me as a mistake - with 32 colours it would have been so much easier to port Amiga games as STE exclusives. Obsession and Stardust (both created for the STE by first-time bedroom teams) suggest that the STE could be a match for the A500 in other areas. It still probably launched too late though.
Megalomaniac is offline  
Old 28 November 2022, 04:31   #4
ImmortalA1000
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: london/england
Posts: 1,005
Irving Gould was SCUM, end of discussion. I know all about what he did. If he was so brilliant why did he force Jack out for the sake of his playboy wannabe lifestyle with the PET Jet? If he was so good at finding good business why did he destroy Commodore by forcing out the only person who knew what to do with the company to make a fortune? Why was Gould writing himself 1 million Dollar cheques from the pitiful profits of the piss poor selling A500 era of Commodore?

Irving was a greedy little shitstain waste of space of the human race. There is no advantage to Gould having anything to do with Commodore. Anybody can supply money, only a moron would suggest he was the only person in the world who would ever buy Commodore stock for peanuts in the aftermath of the calculator wars.

If a low-life scumbag steals your M3 and crashes it into a brick wall are you supposed to be impressed with his scumbag thief talent that let him into your M3? No.

He took from the company, he gave nothing useful, he destroyed it by forcing out the only man in the computer business to not get screwed over by pipsqueek Billy boy Gates. He bled the company dry with his bonus cheques and his company lost ALL the talent involved in making the Amiga chipset by forcing them to leave or move thousands of miles to relocate between East/West coast. A real shitshow just like Warner Atari after kicking out the genius of Nolan from the company.

Oh yes I know all about that financial vampire cunt Has fuck all to do with the actual topic. Stay on topic next time or just move on.
ImmortalA1000 is offline  
Old 28 November 2022, 12:30   #5
gimbal
cheeky scoundrel

gimbal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Spijkenisse/Netherlands
Age: 41
Posts: 5,881
Yeah if I were a moderator, I would have given you a timeout by now. There is no need for turning EAB into Reddit. If you can't say it without outright slandering people, it is not worth saying.
gimbal is online now  
Old 28 November 2022, 12:43   #6
Daedalus
Registered User

Daedalus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin, then Glasgow
Posts: 5,980
Quote:
Originally Posted by gimbal View Post
Yeah if I were a moderator, I would have given you a timeout by now. There is no need for turning EAB into Reddit. If you can't say it without outright slandering people, it is not worth saying.
Same. But don't forget, his immense intelligence combined with his enormous ego endow him with the superpower of superiority, making him far more important than us mere mortals. And so it follows that his childish opinions and barely-contained emotional rants are the only posts that really matter on here, thus he couldn't possibly be suspended or banned.
Daedalus is offline  
Old 28 November 2022, 14:18   #7
malko
Ex nihilo nihil

malko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: CH
Posts: 4,325
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
[...] with the superpower of [...]
I think a song that my mini-Godzillas like could apply here : "Rotten Super-powers" by Aldebert .
[ Show youtube player ]
malko is online now  
Old 28 November 2022, 15:49   #8
Keops/Equinox
Registered User
Keops/Equinox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: .
Posts: 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by gimbal View Post
yeah if i were a moderator, i would have given you a timeout by now. There is no need for turning eab into reddit. If you can't say it without outright slandering people, it is not worth saying.
+1
Keops/Equinox is offline  
Old 30 November 2022, 08:12   #9
Bruce Abbott
Registered User

Bruce Abbott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Hastings, New Zealand
Posts: 1,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmortalA1000 View Post
Irving Gould was SCUM, end of discussion. I know all about what he did. If he was so brilliant why did he force Jack out for the sake of his playboy wannabe lifestyle with the PET Jet? If he was so good at finding good business why did he destroy Commodore by forcing out the only person who knew what to do with the company to make a fortune?
Gould didn't force Tramiel out, he left because he couldn't get his own way.

Jack Tramiel
Quote:
Gould had controlled the company since 1966. He and Tramiel often argued, but Gould usually let Tramiel run Commodore by himself. Tramiel was considered by many to be a micromanager who did not believe in budgets; he wanted to approve every expense greater than $1,000, which meant that operations stopped when Tramiel went on vacation. His management style made it difficult for Commodore to hire and keep executives...

Despite successfully shipping the ST, Tramiel's poor personal reputation hurt Atari. One retailer said in 1985 about the ST that because of its prior experience with Tramiel "Our interest in Atari is zero, zilch". A software company executive said "Dealing with Commodore was like dealing with Attila the Hun. I don't know if Tramiel will be following his old habits ... I don't see a lot of people rushing to get software on the machine." (One ex-Commodore employee said that to Tramiel "software wasn't tangible—you couldn't hold it, feel it, or touch it—so it wasn't worth spending money for".) Steve Arnold of LucasArts said after meeting with Tramiel that he reminded him of Jabba the Hutt, while within Atari Darth Vader was often the comparison.
Quote:
Why was Gould writing himself 1 million Dollar cheques from the pitiful profits of the piss poor selling A500 era of Commodore?
What part of 'a business exists only to make money for its owners' do you not understand? With a consistent year on year revenue of $800-1000 million, why shouldn't Gould take a little out for himself?

During the A500 era sales climbed rapidly. Only in 1992, after the A500 was replaced by the A600 and A1200, did sales slump dramatically. Cause and effect? Coincidence? Or... It's only a mystery if you ignore the elephant in the room, the PC - which was trampling everything in its path.

Quote:
only a moron would suggest he was the only person in the world who would ever buy Commodore stock for peanuts in the aftermath of the calculator wars.
You seem to be ignorant of Commdore's history. Gould first injected money into the company, and became a major shareholder, when the parent company imploded due to fraud by its owner. Nobody else wanted to touch Commodore then.

Quote:
He took from the company, he gave nothing useful, he destroyed it by forcing out the only man in the computer business to not get screwed over by pipsqueek Billy boy Gates.
Are you referring to the reason the C64 had such a piss-poor BASIC?

I'm not saying Gould did a particularly good job of running Commodore or didn't make a lot of mistakes, but had Jack been in charge during the Amiga years there probably wouldn't be an Amiga. We saw his vision in the ST - how did that turn out? His management style led to the C64 becoming the biggest selling home computer model of all time, but this success would not be repeated in the era of ever more powerful and cheaper PCs.

I only had experience working with Commodore from 1990 on, and it was very positive. Would that have been the case If Jack was still in charge, or would he have burned all his bridges by then?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	commodore financials.png
Views:	30
Size:	20.6 KB
ID:	77267   Click image for larger version

Name:	commodore-sales.png
Views:	30
Size:	59.0 KB
ID:	77268  
Bruce Abbott is offline  
Old 30 November 2022, 09:49   #10
Bruce Abbott
Registered User

Bruce Abbott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Hastings, New Zealand
Posts: 1,370
Since this is the 'Nostalgia and Memories' forum, I will share my own experience of running a company in those times. In 1991 I was a highly paid telephone exchange technician who played with computers and did repairs and support in my 'spare' time. This was the year that the New Zealand government decided that the country didn't need a national telecommunications infrastructure, and sold it to an overseas corporation. I was made redundant and looking for another source of income.

I got involved with a local producer of Amiga educational titles who needed a programmer. However this didn't promise much return. Shortly afterwards the local computer shop closed because the nation-wide chain of stores it belonged to went bankrupt. I had been working closely with the manager and knew this store was profitable, so I bought the assets and rehired the manager to run it. Since the manager had far more experience than me I let him run the shop while I provided technical and sales support.

I drew funds from the business as required for living expenses, and assigned motor vehicle expenses to the business on the advice of my accountant (since I mostly used my car for business purposes this was fair). At the end of every month I would go over the books with my manager to make sure the business was in good financial health.

Everything went great while Commodore was alive. After that I regrettably had to pivot to only selling PCs, though we continued to support the Amiga as much as possible too. Business seemed to be going well for the next few years, until one day I needed money to pay for a hernia operation. That's when the manager told me there was no money for it. I then discovered that things had been slipping for a while, but purportedly would be OK once a big client finally paid their bill.

Turns out it wasn't enough, and I had to draw on my personal savings to pay the shop's bills. We had both agreed when I started the business that if this ever happened he was gone, and so he was. I took over managing the shop and within 2 years had repaid myself and made the business profitable again.

For someone with no business training this was a very risky venture. Thus I relied on experts such as my manager (who I paid twice as much as I received myself in drawings), my accountant and my lawyer. Nevertheless the buck stopped with me, and there was no one else to blame if the business went under - even if it wasn't my fault.

I wasn't greedy, but that didn't prevent a crisis. Perhaps if I was ruthless and underhanded I could have made more money - or perhaps not (even if so, I would rather have a clear conscience). In any case, despite the stress and lack of financial reward I still think it was worth doing. It gave me just a glimpse of what it must have been like running a billion dollar computer manufacturing company back then.

Pictures attached are of my store front, and my manager at the counter. They were taken with a Pentax Spotmatic 35mm film camera, then the prints were scanned into the shop's A1200 via a SCSI flatbed scanner and manipulated with ImageFX before saving on the hard drive - in 1997! (I 'rediscovered' them on my A1200 yesterday).
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	shop.jpg
Views:	80
Size:	64.0 KB
ID:	77269   Click image for larger version

Name:	greg.jpg
Views:	83
Size:	55.4 KB
ID:	77270  
Bruce Abbott is offline  
Old 30 November 2022, 22:36   #11
TEG
Registered User

 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: France
Posts: 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Abbott View Post
It gave me just a glimpse of what it must have been like running a billion dollar computer manufacturing company back then.

So you got the babes?
TEG is offline  
Old 01 December 2022, 20:51   #12
sokolovic
Registered User

sokolovic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Marseille / France
Posts: 506
They did bought Defender of the Crown license as it was one of the few games published by Commodore themselves (the CDs version) along with Amiga CD Football which was also a revamping of an old Cinemaware license (TV Sport Football).
I'll be curious to know more about Commodore policy about that.
Wing Commander CD32 also was only released in a CD32 pack. Did they commission Nick Pelling to do an AGA version ? Did they bought the rights to publish the game just on packs and not releasing it as a standalone ?
sokolovic is offline  
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Why did Jack Tramiel not buy Commodore back? Gorf Nostalgia & memories 5 15 November 2022 05:47
New Policies At Commodore (circa 1991!) Radertified Nostalgia & memories 3 11 February 2021 01:14
commodore 1084s switching setup, why didn't this work? lost_lemming support.Hardware 8 26 February 2019 03:49
Want to buy: CU Amiga Dec 1991 Predseda MarketPlace 0 16 February 2012 15:02
Didn`t know Cinemaware did this... stainy Nostalgia & memories 3 02 February 2002 03:47

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:28.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Page generated in 0.08536 seconds with 14 queries