Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jan 2017 21:41 UTC
Amiga & AROS

As the 1990s began, Commodore should have been flying high. The long-awaited new Amiga models with better graphics, the A1200 and A4000, were finally released in 1992. Sales responded by increasing 17 percent over the previous year. The Video Toaster had established a niche in desktop video editing that no other computer platform could match, and the new Toaster 4000 promised to be even better than before. After a rocky start, the Amiga seemed to be hitting its stride.

Unfortunately, this success wouldn't last. In 1993, sales fell by 20 percent, and Commodore lost $366 million. In the first quarter of 1994, the company announced a loss of $8.2 million - much better than the previous four quarters, but still not enough to turn a profit. Commodore had run into financial difficulties before, particularly in the mid-'80s, but this time the wounds were too deep. Sales of the venerable Commodore 64 had finally collapsed, and the Amiga wasn't able to fill the gap quickly enough. The company issued a statement warning investors of its problems, and the stock plunged. On April 29, 1994, Commodore International Limited announced that it was starting the initial phase of voluntary liquidation of all of its assets and filing for bankruptcy protection. Commodore, once the savior of the Amiga, had failed to save itself.

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Mehdi Ali
by Vanders on Thu 26th Jan 2017 22:28 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

I was going to rush to post "If this doesn't blame Mehdi Ali for everything I'll be dissapointed".

I wasn't dissapointed.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Mehdi Ali
by bugjacobs on Fri 27th Jan 2017 04:07 UTC in reply to "Mehdi Ali"
bugjacobs Member since:
2009-01-03

AND Irving Ghoul ..

Reply Score: 3

Major reason platforms should be open
by Dasher42 on Fri 27th Jan 2017 02:26 UTC
Dasher42
Member since:
2007-04-05

The Amiga represented so much of a technical lead that got squandered by shabby, overpaid top management. The engineers did amazing work, the industry and customers never got to see much of it. The designs we're depending on are worse for it.

This is why I insist on open source platforms. No single team of suits can sink the ship when the engineers can just fork it, and keep kicking ass.

Reply Score: 7

Amiga History videos by Nostalgia Nerd
by ml2mst on Fri 27th Jan 2017 06:09 UTC
ml2mst
Member since:
2005-08-27

I recently watched a series of two interesting video's on YouTube by Nostalgia Nerd about the rise and fall of the Amiga:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws3DJF7MbMU&t=689s

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws3DJF7MbMU&t=689s

Reply Score: 5

Amiga
by Sauron on Fri 27th Jan 2017 07:55 UTC
Sauron
Member since:
2005-08-02

Commodore may be 20 odd years dead but the Amiga is still rising in my house.
What could have been though. Both Gould and Ali should have been shot on the spot!

Reply Score: 3

True 32 bit designs
by Earl C Pottinger on Fri 27th Jan 2017 15:54 UTC
Earl C Pottinger
Member since:
2008-07-12

Not only were they slow to release a true 32 bit design (32 CPU, DATA/ADDRESS lines) but also what they did release was inferior to the Dave Haynie Amiga model our store recieved for test purposes.

It had a interweaved memory design the burst 4*32 data chunks with only 2 wait states for the first 32 bit chunk and no wait states for the following data.This was with memory that worked in the nibble mode.

IT WAS FAST!

Graphics was faster, cleaner and I don't remember how many colours/graphic modes it supported, but it also had HAM6 mode at double to old resolution, and I may be wrong but I also think it supported HAM8.

If memory is right, the motherboard had 4 meg of memory, and the CPU was running at 28 MHz.

Maybe someone else saw this test model and fill in details.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Yasu
by Yasu on Fri 27th Jan 2017 16:41 UTC
Yasu
Member since:
2014-05-15

The thing that made the Amiga amazing was also it's main problem: the hardware. It was so specialized that they could do magic, but only if you banged the hardware directly. Which meant that it was very difficult to create an ecosystem out of it.

When the Amiga was release in 1985 it was so far ahead that when it finally got a foothold in ordinary houses in the late 80's with the A500, it was still a good computer. But times where changing fast and by 1993 it wasn't special anymore. And the new models (A4000/A1200) was an improvement but had serious compatability problems with the very popular A500. Many didn't see a reason to upgrade when they realised this.

People had stopped buying a computer to use it as is for years and years, but instead wanted upgradability. Amiga 1200/4000 had that, but it was made it difficult for developers as there was no way to know what would be the natural upgrade, unlike with the PC where you knew people would get more RAM, faster CPU and such little by little. So they often had to stick with stock specifications, which didn't impress.

There was no easy fix for this and the engineers knew this. They had some plans for the future, but Commodore went bust first.

I'm not saying that management doesn't have a huge blame in this, but some people seem to think that shift in technology and needs wasn't a factor. Which it was. In hindsight, the Amiga was fighting an uphill battle from the start, but managed to get as far as it did by being purely amazing.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Yasu
by Vanders on Fri 27th Jan 2017 19:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by Yasu"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Well that's part of the problem that the article highlights; Commodore management failed to invest in R&D. Jay Miner & the Los Gatos team had designed, tested & delivered the new Ranger chipset on a golden platter, but short-sighted penny-pinching management refused to put it into manufacturing. Same deal with the A3000+, same with the HP PA-RISC plans...short sighted idiocy torpedoed all of them. AAA was too little, too late, and probably would have proved too expensive for the bean counters yet again.

Amiga could have lead the market, and maintained that lead, with appropriate investment in R&D. Sadly, that was never going to happen at Commodore, despite the fact they owned MOS and were perfectly capable of rapid tape-out & fabrication of silicon during development. It's infuriating, even now.

Reply Score: 4

Small error in the article
by JLF65 on Fri 27th Jan 2017 17:51 UTC
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

Inside was essentially an Amiga 1200 with a CD-ROM drive and a new chip called “Akiko” that added MPEG 2 movie playback and chunky-to-planar graphics conversion.


AKIKO only did chunky to planar (or reverse) conversion. They had a separate plug-in card to do MPEG1 (not MPEG2) decoding.

One of the worst decisions made by top management at CBM was to sell the IC manufacturing facilities (to boost their own salaries). The Amiga was almost entirely made with chips from CBM, and selling off the IC division meant that they had to outsource the major chips. This meant that when they realized how big the AGA was selling, they couldn't immediately capitalize on it - they had to wait on another company to get around to making more chips for them. Management doubled down on this stupidity by only ordering a small lot of AGA chips feeling that limiting the number of 1200 and 4000 computers would help diminish the stock of older computers. The Osborn Effect meant that one decision coupled with the sale of the IC division meant plummeting sales as stocks of 1200s and 4000s ran out.

Reply Score: 3

My Amigas were my favorite computers!
by cmost on Sat 28th Jan 2017 18:53 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

I was a long-time Commodore fan having cut my teeth on a C64 and later a C128D. In high school I saved my yard work money for an Amiga 2000 which I spent many long hours tinkering with and programming. Then in college I bought a bright shiny new Amiga 4000. Unfortunately, Commodore went out of business shortly after that and there was not a lot of software development for this model but I used the machine with a bridgecard and ran PC compatible software for several years.

Reply Score: 2