Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Sep 2010 20:24 UTC
Legal Well, this was rather unexpected. As it turns out, Commodore USA's CEO Barry Altman isn't particularly pleased about the article I wrote earlier today in which I placed a considerable amount of scepticism with regards to Commodore USA and its business (and website). He (not his lawyer) sent us a threatening email demanding we take down the article, post a new correction article, the whole shebang. The entire email - as an image, you'll want the original formatting - after the break. Our reply? We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.
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This CommodoreUSA episode, and I call it that, just shows what happens when a brand goes under.

Realistically, no matter how hard you try, the re-hashes and attempts to rebuild something that once was using other components will never succeed to the expectations that some people have. Look at Guns N' Roses for the perfect example of that. If you want another example, look at Eyetech, who tried to make a next-generation Amiga, overextended themselves, and died in the process (probably due to crappy chips from MAI Logic).

Trying to bring back the days of Commodore by re-selling modern hardware in a retro case won't make you the metric ton of cash that it made Commodore's executives.

Realistically, the only "retro" projects in the C= world that have succeeded post-Commodore were the DTV and the CMD products. The DTV was priced cheaply, and the CMD products gave you a lot of performance for your buck. The Amiga world has had Cloanto, Individual Computers, AmigaOS 4.x, the SAM, MorphOS, and the Pegasos I and II as successes, plus MiniMig. They've had a lot more parasites (Merlancia et al) and broken promises from many well-meaning people, and Amiga Inc. than they should have, and the negative karma surrounding the Amiga name and brand has been shuddering, to say the least.

The people who got screwed the most so far have been Hyperion. Whether or not people like or dislike them, and they seem to be very polarizing (Ben Hermans) to some, they managed to put OS4.x out on the market, and people bought it. Now they've been basically told to go f*** themselves by Amiga Inc. because someone else wants to sell PCs with AROS as "Amigas" and probably got that right by promising people the sun, moon, and stars. These guys have worked their tails off for little money to rewrite an OS to run on modern hardware, which is no small task, and have been basically screwed by being told that they are no longer wanted or needed right before they are set to release newer hardware (the X1000 and Sam 460). As much as Trevor Dickenson is derided by many for trying to sell the X1000, he's doing far more than the armchair analysts who complain every day, and who are a very vocal subset of the Amiga community that has managed to drive away many users.

Trying to bring back other brands and basing a company on it is more often than not a losing proposition. Think of why you don't see new AMC or Packard cars. No sane investor who wants a ROI is going to buy that line unless there's a clear plan to sell many products quickly and cheaply.

Why are people going to buy Commodore when they can buy Dell at Wal-Mart? Any PC can run an emulator, and Nintendo still sells tons of Wiis that can run retro games. Why buy a PC that hooks up to a TV when you can get TVs that have powerful PCs built in, or have the ability to run full web browsers and videogames either through the TV or cable box?

The actions of Barry Altman have done nothing to quell the suspicions and fears of many out there, and have pissed off many in the hacker/hobbyist community that makes up the core of the C=/Amiga users. The actions they've taken have been repeated multiple times in this thread and do not bear repeating. The last thing the Amiga or Commodore communities need is someone else turning the Amiga message boards into Amateur Lawyer Hour. These are really smart people who pride themselves on originality, giving credit where credit is due, and creativity, and he's managed to piss on all of them very quickly.

Realistically, selling computers is a negative-margin business for many. Dell makes money by bundling crap with every PC, because if they didn't, they'd lose money making them. I do not foresee Commodore making a dent, not when Dell, HP, and Acer can push $300 PCs at Wal-Mart, or when Apple can sell 800Mhz handhelds for $300 that have access to thousands of games and apps. The only companies these days that make a decent profit actually selling computers are IBM and Apple, and that's because they can charge whatever they want and people will still buy them because they have the software they need to do business.

The only way that you're going to make a decent profit from the Commodore or Amiga brand names is to either get the Amiga games ported and sold on modern platforms like the Xbox360 Live arcade, iTunes Store, or Wii Market, or by managing to get a Amiga DTV device with games like Turrican and the Psygnosis ones on it out to market that can sell for $20-$30.

The projects that succeed are the ones that are done by the people that do them because they want to, not because of profit margins or complex corporate structures or "consortiums". The Commodore and Amiga communities are filled with very creative people whose motto should be "I'm from Missouri, Show Me!", and a lot of users who are big fans of their computers. Unfortunately, there have been many people who have tried to milk this for money, and a lot of people who have no idea of the hacker spirit that created the community in the first place, and desperately try to re-create the past instead of innovating for the future. The attempts to use nostalgia to get people to buy product usually fail, unless it's cheap.

Hardware, unfortunately these days, is a commodity. Slapping a C= badge on it won't sell many units. Calling it an Amiga won't sell many either, especially to people who see the past week's action as a slap in the face to the Friedens.

Reply Score: 2

Raffaele Member since:

This CommodoreUSA episode, and I call it that, just shows what happens when a brand goes under.


I agree mostly with the thing you said, but you missed the fact that this Commodore USA IS NOT COMMODORE.

Commodore actually is based in Europe (Netherlands) and the propriety is from asian (Chinese? Singapore?) Electronic Manufacturing Company called ASIARIM.

There are no evidences that Commodore International based in Netherlands (where still remains the board of chairmen) has sold any rights for the name Commodore to this cybersquatter so-called ghost enterprise firm "CommodoreUSA".

As long as mr. Barry Altman now is user in this forum, then it is time to proof that he is legally entitled for the name COMMODORE, or please leave the scene forever.

Edited 2010-09-03 10:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

mbpark Member since:


I did not miss that point. Perhaps you did not pick up on the subtleties there.

Reply Parent Score: 1

viton Member since:

Thanks I was not aware of them
Seems they have their own C= netbook - under construction - is not working at all

Reply Parent Score: 2

viton Member since:

There are no evidences that Commodore International based in Netherlands (where still remains the board of chairmen) has sold any rights for the name Commodore to this cybersquatter so-called ghost enterprise firm "CommodoreUSA"

Reply Parent Score: 2