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%% Amiga Media Watch #1 By: Pat Fish %%
Please distribute the following article far and wide (newsgroups,
BBS's, echos, post on FTP sites, etc). When you mail the author your
POLITE comments, please send a copy of his responses to me at:
If possible, please also keep a copy of your messages to him.
The author (Al Fasoldt) is syndicated in *over 100 newspapers*, and is
a long-time Atari ST fan. (You can tell from the spin he puts on the
Amiga story, and his anxiousness to pronounce the Amiga dead.) He avoids
all the details and facts that imply that the European outlook is better
than the US outlook, claims of continued production, and several
potential buyers (with stories ranging from an outright takeover, to
purchase of the Amiga chipset & OS for licensing to those wanting to make
This was AFTER a Rome-NY Amiga dealer corrected the columnist following
Fasoldt's announcement (on a May 18th PBS talk-show) 'that it was all
over'. The author refused to listen to the dealer's facts, instead
insisting that Commodore was a singularly AMERICAN company and that ALL
of CBM had already closed it's doors, everywhere. Also note what seems
to be stale Atari fanaticism regarding Tramiel, Atari and the Amiga's
lineage. If you have access to one of the texts from RJ Mical, Jay
Miner, Dale Luck, Dave Needle, etc., describing the factual events
surrounding the Amiga's birth send them as a separate message to the
columnist or his editor. Maybe one of you has a copy of the 'History of
Amiga' video that you could send him.
Mail responses to this article to the Editor and Publisher of the
Syracuse Herald American Newspaper/Stars Magazine, and to the columnist
himself. US and E Mail addresses at bottom.
(Text inbetween %% are my personal comments, use your own)
Transcription of Al Fasoldt's column by David Gorton
-------Excerpt of syndicated column follows----------------------------
Syracuse Herald American - Stars Magazine May 22, 1994 Page 29
REQUIEM FOR A COMPUTER
Revolutionary Amiga has logged off for last time
The Commodore company gave up the fight against IBM and Apple
Macintoshes and closed, probably for good.
The company had too many debts and too few assets. It had a lot of True
Believers but not a lot of cash.
AND SO THE Commodore Amiga Has passed away. It was a brilliant computer,
more powerful than a PC or a Macintosh when it was introduced nine years
ago. It displayed stunning color graphics when the best a PC could do was
an ugly picture or two - and when the best a Mac could do was show a tiny
black and white image on an absurdly small screen.
COMMODORE KEPT improving the Amiga year after year. One of the biggest
changes was a built in emulator that turned the Amiga into an IBM-
compatible PC at any time. Another was the addition of faster chips and
%% IBM compatibility was an option; not built in, and most of us %%
%% prefered it that way. Memory was never a problem either. %%
A separate company marketed a device that turned the Amiga into a
television-picture editing machine at one-tenth the cost of previous
%% A really crude way of short-selling NewTek's VideoToaster? %%
%% Or just the ramblings of a person who's never bothered to %%
%% find out what the Amiga/Toaster is really all about? %%
This brought video editing down to an affordable level for the first
time and started a revolution, just now catching on among PCs and Macs,
called desktop video.
The legend of the Amiga is ripe with stories that sound too tall to be
true but are factual nonetheless. One of them is the story of how the
Amiga came to be a Commodore computer in the first place.
%% The following is The Word According to Atari Fanatics %%
THE AMIGA WAS supposed to be an Atari. In the early '80s, a group of
computer software and hardware designers, including some from the
original team that created the first Atari models, came together to
devise a new model that would put Atari on top of the home-computer
%% It was an independent company called Hi-Toro. Not an Atari %%
%% subsidiary. Jay Miner who once worked for Atari was now working %%
%% for Hi-Toro on their new computer the "Lorraine". It was named %%
%% after the fiancee of one of the engineers. Atari's role was %%
%% limited to it's vulture-like intent to take over the struggling %%
%% company, with an insultingly low stock buyout offer. %%
It was going to be powerful and friendly, and so the code name of
"Amiga" - Spanish for "friend" - was chosen.
%% Almost. Amiga = FEMALE friend, chosen to replace "Lorraine". %%
%% It came lexically before APPLE, unlike "Lorraine". %%
At that time, Atari was owned by Warner Communications. Atari's rival,
Commodore, was owned by Jack Tramiel and his sons. In a hectic month,
Tramiel had a falling out with Commodore's board of directors and left
the company, pausing only briefly before buying the Atari company from
%% Reality check: CBM insiders claim Tramiel's intent to buy Atari %%
%% was known to him LONG before CBM had any suspicions. They claim %%
%% Tramiel intentionally set CBM up to fail, as he was moving to %%
%% take over CBM's competitor (Atari). His seemingly insane %%
%% actions before he left CBM now make sense. CBM never fully %%
%% recovered from his 'bad business decisions'. %%
To get back at Tramiel, Commodore raided the Amiga team and hired all of
them. Overnight, the Amiga switched stables, and the prize that Tramiel
had set his heart on- an Atari with a dazzling new model-turned out to be
a company in distress.
%% Falcon fantasy. Hi-Toro (now renamed Amiga) accepted CBM's %%
%% offer because Atari's was a joke. Companies don't %%
%% "get back at" former execs. They seek profit. Later, %%
%% Tramiel claimed his ST was better than the Amiga. %%
NO DOUBT the Amiga as a Commodore fared better than it would have as an
Atari, but an irony was playing itself out on the week that Commodore
handed its affairs over to a liquidator.
%% Funny, European divisions are said to be in normal operation. %%
Atari, still in the computer business, announced a new deal that would
put its graphics circuits in IBM-compatible PCs and saw its stock soar on
%%Is this like "Atari & IBM entered a joint venture to make the %%
%%Jaguar" when Atari actually PAID IBM to manufacture it's Jaguar? %%
%%I suppose anything from .25 would be a soaring improvement. "Still %%
%%in the computer business"? When was the last time you saw an Atari %%
%%TT or Falcon anywhere? Atari survives by sales of stand-up arcade %%
%%units. Jaguar is it's last shot at consumer electronics. %%
To some, it looked like Jack Tramiel's revenge. But to fans of the
Amiga, it was just a somber epitaph for a computer that lived a good
Rest in peace, Amiga.
%% Mr. Fasoldt seems all too eager to perform an autopsy while %%
%% the patient is still warm. Not surprising considering the %%
%% disproportionate coverage he's given to the Atari in %%
%% contrast to the Amiga, IBM and Mac. %%
Al Fasoldt's "Technofile" is distributed in the United States and Canada
by Newhouse News Service. The author is systems editor at the Syracuse
Newspaper. Write to him c/o Stars, P.O. Box 4915, Syracuse, NY 13221.
You can send electronic mail to "a.fasoldt" on GEnie or to his Internet
address: A.Fasoldt@genie.geis.com Or Email him at the Syracuse
Newspapers' computer bulletin board service, "Syracuse Online" BBS: 315-
-------End of annotated article----------------------------------------
Due to some disreputable reporting, the Amiga's condition has been
battered. Amigans are used to this arrogance, but now, at this critical
time, it is very vulnerable. We need to address every non-truth, lie,
slam, and premature declaration of death. Many less-than-savy Amigans
are already thinking about moving to another system. These are the
people who are most easily mis-lead by "industry pundits" who are all too
happy to bury the Amiga while it's heart still beats.
It's up to us to do damage control, since CBM sure isn't going to do
it. Public perception and reactions will have an effect on the
willingness of companies to take over and continue the Amiga family.
While you're still fresh from reading his article, use your Amiga
multitasking to write a letter, right now! Or call. Considering Mr.
Fasoldt's disposition, it makes more sense to contact his editor first:
The Syracuse Herald American/Stars Magazine welcomes comments and calls
on this issue. Jim Howe, Editor of Stars Magazine, has a willingness to
listen to Amiga users' complaints, perhaps to even PRINT them. His
office is reachable at:
Stars Magazine Voice/AnsMach: 315-470-2296
P.O. Box 4915 Voice/AnsMach: 315-470-6052
Syracuse, NY 13221 FAX: 315-470-2111
To developers continuing support of the Amiga: consider sending Mr.
Fasoldt (and Mr. Howe?) letters of your intent, or literature on your
product(s). His home mailing address is (if for some reason you don't
use the PO Box listed above):
7408 Van Ness Rd Blvd.
Baldwinsville NY 13027
The Syracuse Herald American/Stars is owned by Newhouse News Service, who
syndicates selected columns (Al Fasoldt's is one). Mr. Beaubette is the
executive editor. Newhouse's address is:
Newshouse News Service
2000 Pennslyvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
If you happen to be one of the people who actually worked on the Amiga,
(or know one of them) please contact Mr. Fasoldt and his _Editor_ @ the
above E-Mail address and phone numbers. The designers of the Amiga
hardware and system software are in a better position than anybody
to straighten Mr. Fasoldt out. Note that it's probably just as important
to contact his editor.
NEW YORK STATE AMIGA USERS
The Syracuse area Amiga dealer, Industrial Color Labs, has about a
quarter million dollars of Amiga products in stock. Since Mr. Fasoldt's
premature claims, they've had a difficult time selling their wares.
You can contact the PBS affiliate which broadcast the interview
with Al Fasoldt. The "Good Afternoon" show is hosted by Art Levy, who
seems almost smitten by Mr. Fasoldt. It's better to complain to Jack
Neal, the Executive Producer for WCNY at: 1-800-451-9269
Good Afternoon Call-in: 1-800-451-2414
If you're ouside their 800 coverage, replace "800" with 315.