Contents | < Browse | Browse >

            Sponsored by Amiga Report and Amiga Link Magazines

<jcompton> Welcome to the First and (I hope) Last Commodore Auction
Conference, sponsored by Amiga Report and Amiga Link Magazines-"It's news,
and it's cheap.  What more do you want?"

<jcompton> The ground rules:

<jcompton> We'll be explaining, in as much detail as is possible, what
happened over the past two days of the Commodore auction proceedings.

<jcompton> Then our esteemed op-panel of developers will be free to offer
any questions or comments they see fit (careful, boys).

<jcompton> After that, we'll go to the floor for questions.  This is a
very complicated affair...if you weren't aware Commodore was in
liquidation, you'll probably not catch up tonight.

<jcompton> The Auction issue of Amiga Report Magazine should be making its
rounds now.../msg your neighbor for a DCC if you don't have it yet. 
(note-don't /msg me...)

<jcompton> With that said...if there are no objections from the ops, I'll
delve into a mini-summary of what's happened...

<jcompton> No?  Ok, here goes.

<jcompton> The Short Version: Escom AG, the #2 German PC clone
manufacturer, has successfully entered a bid for Commodore's assets,
including (but certainly not limited to) the Amiga technology.

<jcompton> The slightly more explained version: Yesterday (Thursday) was
the auction for Commodore.  What we had been lead to expect was a heated
bidding battle between CEI's Alex Amor and C= UK's David Pleasance...after
all, they'd been the most vocal in their

<jcompton> pursuit for the Amiga.

<jcompton> As it turns out, neither of them bid.  Instead, the only three
bids came from Escom, Dell (a large US PC clone maker) and a California

<jcompton> The Dell and dealer bids were thrown out.  Escom's $5 million
contract, signed in March, was accepted by the liquidator.

<jcompton> Almost immediately after the auction, the C= UK heads issued a
press release withdrawing from the running.

<jcompton> The next day (Friday), at the court hearing, the objections to
the process were heard.

<jcompton> From what I've gathered from the attendees (Josh Galun and
Giorgio Gomelsky), the three pre-filed objections from C= US' creditors,
IBM, and the C= Netherlands/Philippines/UK trustees were done with without
a ton of effort.

<jcompton> However, it seems that the C= Netherlands people were
temporarily successful in removing the Philippines inventory of parts and
Commodore UK from the buyout package.

<jcompton> The other objection came from Dell, who, in conjunction with
Alex Amor, entered a new $15 million bid.

<jcompton> This did not please Escom.  A recess was called.  At the end of
the recess, Escom had doubled their bid, that bid was accepted, and so
ends the process.

<jcompton> The Bahamas Supreme Court still has to approve the deal next
week, but by their own agreement, it should be nothing more than a
rubber-stamp process.

<jcompton> In addition, Escom could always fail to close the deal, in
which case the second-highest bidder, Dell, would be offered the package.
Dell has asked for a 30 day "trial" period on the Amiga, which was part of
the unacceptable (to the liquidators) condition <jcompton> of their bid.

<jcompton> However, as of now, Escom is the heir to the Commodore suite. 
What they choose to do with this is at present unclear.

<jcompton> They have promised everything from more Amigas to Commodore 64s
for China and "Commodore" Macintosh clones.

<jcompton> That about covers what I've got on my mind now.  Josh?
Anything to add?

<Zool> Yes, I do Jason.  Thanks a lot for a nice summary

<Zool> OK.  Just to expand on what Jason said about the bidding...

<Zool> Yesterday, Dell/CEI entered a bid, however it was rejected in favor
of Escom's bid.  After this, Dell kept working with on their deal

<Zool> Dell submitted the bid, which was higher, but also required a 30
day waiting period.  Anyway, as you now know, Escom raised their bid by
6.5 million dollars, and that cleared up all the obhections

<Zool> Anyway, I did an interview with the man who will be heading the
Amiga devision at Escom, and this is what he had to say

<Zool> (I can't remember his name) He said that Escom wants to improve on
the Amiga technology.  Tight now, they are interested in making a Power PC
Amiga, although that is not a decision written in stone

<Zool> He said that they have an agreement with a Chinese manufacturer,
who will be shipping new Amigas in 2 months

<Zool> They said that they also want to use the Amiga technology for other
products, such as set top boxes for TV

<Zool> When I asked them about liscencing Amiga clones, they said that
anything was a possibility at this point, and that we may see Amiga clones

<Zool> Escom sounded very open on their policy on the Amiga, as much of
what I questioned them on was replied to with "yes, that may be possible.
We'll look into it"

<Zool> Later in the day I talked to Colin Proudfoot of C= UK.

<Zool> Colin Proudfoot said that in Escom is meeting with C= UK in two
weeks, and that Escom will most likely buy C= UK at that point.  Colin
said that Escom may have wanted the Amiga to use it to go into the US
Computer market

<Zool> He said that Escom doesn't want to start up an American operation
with only PCs, since you can already get PCs very cheaply in the US.  On
the other hand, if they came into the computer market with new
technoilogy, that would seperate them from the crowd

<Zool> Escom, by the way, said that they would try to hire as many ex-C=
techs as possible, and that they already have some on their staff.  They
did say, however, that some ex-C= techs already had new jobs that they
were happy with

<Zool> Anyway, in the end, my interview with Escom left me pretty
satisfied with their plans.

<Zool> Although I think that CEI/DELL would have been better for the
Amiga, Escom could still be very good, especially with the business savvy
and 2 billion dollars in sales they had last year

<Zool> Alex Amor, when he lost the bid, sat stoically, and left soon after
the announcement.  He made no comment on what had happened

<Zool> Jason, I give the floor back to you.

<Devophile> Zool: I am sure I speak for everyone when I thank you for this

<Zool> Devophile: it was my pleasure.

<jcompton> For those of you who worry about transcripts, a raw version
will be available soon after the conference.  After that, if you want an
edited version, wait for the appearance on Aminet or for AR 3.09 or Amiga
Link #3.

<Zool> I would also like to say that the text version of my interviews
with Escom and C= UK should be on Aminet soon.

<jcompton> I've had time to read over Josh and Giorgio's interview with
Escom.  Obviously, he was with the guy, so I'm one level removed.

<jcompton> Still, I am not exactly convinced that Escom's interests lie
with the Amiga.  From a strictly financial point of view, Escom is poised
to launch their PCs in the UK (now that they have obtained the Commodore
name AND the large chain of Rumbelowes stores)

<Zool> About the Phillipine plant, although Escom does not have it yet,
apparently they should have it very soon.

<jcompton> ...they have spoken of Mac clones, and of course C-64s in
China.  With markets like that, it seems that the Amiga could easily fall
by the wayside...thinking that the Amiga is an inroad to the US is
ludicrous-Escom hasn't checked the Amiga's public image in the US lately.

<KermitW> I don't think that's the point.

<Devophile> jcompton: The plans for the US market seem to be right on the
nose, as far as the US is concerned.  New technology can be welcomed or
outcast, depending on how it is brought forward.

<Zool> Escom believes that the Amiga can make money, which is why they're
in this, and not because they have any fondness for the amiga.  However,
they will pour money into Amiga R&D, and they think that the Amiga can
make money for them

<Devophile> jcompton: Let us hope Escom knows what they are doing.

<AK> Does Escom have the capital and willing to use it to launch a
marketing plan in the US.

<Zool> AK: they have the capital

<Zool> AK: I believe that they will market it in the US, because according
to C= UK, they want to make inroads into the US market

<jcompton> So, of course, the logical course of action is to make sure
they DON'T forget.  They have repeatedly avoided contact with the Amiga
community and lied to journalists.  I'm not accusing them of doing it in
this case, but my point is that there are no assurances.  I currently have
no contact information for Escom...Josh?

<Fastlane> jcompton: what ever happened to the 'rumor' that Escom had a
side-deal with CEI with regards to the technology and the trademarks?

<jcompton> Fastlane: Considering that Escom told Alex that their
relationship depended on his performance at the auction, and that he
tossed in his hat with Dell...well, CEI isn't ruling anything out, but I'm
not holding my breath.

<Devophile> Fastlane: The smart thing for Escom to do would be a joint
deal with CEI, as CEI knows the US market and has the distribution
channels.  Plus, a strong goal to get the Amiga back on top.

<Zool> Fastlane: It is conceivable that Escom might liscence Amiga clones
to CEI

<Fastlane> Devophile: agreed.  Escom only seems to want it all for the
name anyway.

<Zool> Fastlane: As I said, Escom seems excited about the Amiga.  The man
from Escom said "We wouldn't have spent all this time and 12 million
dollars if we didn't want the Amiga"

<jcompton> Kermit: You were going to say something?

<KermitW> Only that the Amiga lends a uniqueness to a company looking to
startup in the US market that they would lack with yet-another-pc-clone. 
It might not be the top of their market or even a large part of it, but it
could be the thing that could keep them in the press and, face it, the
Amiga's still pretty good at getting used in TV and film venues for
publicity.  CBM never truly made use of this, but a smart company could.

<AK> When will Escom make a official press release?

<Zool> AK: Probably tommorow, to AP

<jcompton> AK: "When they're damn good and ready", I would expect.

<Zool> And Escom wouldn't pour money into R&D for the Amiga if they didn't
want to continute with the Amiga brand

<jcompton> Zool: Until we see some serious commitment from Escom, and some
serious former employees-not C= Germany exec and sales staff, Commodore

<jcompton> Zool: Until then, there's no guarantee of anything.

<Zool> KermitW:  Escom has business smarts.

<PillBottl> Zool: But they need engineering smarts too.

<Devophile> All: Escom needs to face the reality that the Amiga is still a
viable platform.  And with proper R&D, marketting, and distribution - the
Amiga can make Escom a lot of money.  But they need to support the users,
the developers, and listen to comments <Devophile> and suggestions.

<Zool> jcompton: True, but Escom did sound excited about the Amiga.  I
genuinely think that Escom wants to market and sell Amigas.

<fallous> Kevin, do you have a view from SoftLogik?

<KermitW> Until I see otherwise, I would assume Escom is business smart.

<Zool> PillBottl:  that's why they are hiring ex-C= techs.

<jcompton> Zool: Then why avoid contact with the Amiga market since August
of 1994?

<Beowulf_> I assume it's also not out of the question for Escom to license
the Amiga technology to third parties...

<AK> Will Escom pursue 3rd party support that has sence left the Amiga?

<Zool> jcompton: I don't know.  Perhaps because C= was a hideous company,
and they didn't want to deal with them?  Also, they said that they had
sold Amigas at Escom stores before

<KermitW> Remember that some of that third party support that left the
Amiga, left because they WEREN'T successful on the Amiga, and many still
weren't relatively successful after leaving anyway.

<softlogik> Soft-Logik is comitted to the Amiga as long as long as the
market can support them.  No special info on Escom yet.

<Zool> KermitW: Yes, but Escom is going to buy C= UK, and C= UK had GREAT
developer relationship.  They put on a World of Amiga show after C= died.

<PillBottl> A big pat on the back to Softlogik and the other "important"
developers who kept the faith!

<bytey> The real question is will a real effort be made to get a new Amiga
model out (new chipset) and that would require a _lot_ of work software
wise.  Do they have previous software staff ?  (Chris Hames
PC-Task/DirWork etc)

<Devophile> A comment I just received was in regards to why developers are
"tripping over each other to leave this platform", simply because C= did
not support developers, nor users as well as should have, and have been
basically gone for a year.  :)

<Zool> bytey:  They did say that they had and were hiring ex-C= people.

<Zool> bytey:  Some C= techs don't want to come back, though.

<KermitW> As a developer (of ImageFX) I can say that it wasn't like anyone
is forcing developers to leave the Amiga.  The market, your sales, are
what push you into new platforms.  A lot of companies who visibly and
audibly left the Amiga to go to Macs, SGIs and PCs weren't run well or
making the money they needed.  In many cases it's because their Amiga
products weren't "up to snuff" anymore.

<Devophile> Softlogik: Thank you for not betraying us, we are all

<bytey> Zool: But ex CBM does not mean ex US software developers.  The
ones with the knowledge that would take months to learn.

<Zool> SoftLogik: I'm with Devophile.  Nice job, you guys!

<Cappy> As the president of one of the most successful C= user groups in
the country, I hope that a US branch gets implimented soon and get user
groups involved as much as possible.

<AK> Devophile: Be tray is alittle strong, they just have to think of the
business aspect.

<Devophile> Cappy: Yes.

<softlogik> The boss thanks you.

<Zool> bytey: Well, I assume the reason they are hiring ex-C= people is to
get people with smarts on the Amiga OS.  Also, many ex-C= people don't
want to come back because they have already found nice jobs.

<Devophile> AK: Yes.  It was a poor choice of words.  :) "abandon" would
have been better.

<fallous> Such as GVP

<Zool> Cappy: Escom said that they would be starting a US operation pretty
soon.  I'll have the info on that within 2 weeks.

<bytey> have they said anything about _real_ developer support ?

<Light2> All: Bernard van Tienen ESCOM was vice-president of Commodore
International.  Does he have a track record we can follow?

<Zool> bytey: Nothing other than: "Yes, we'll work with developers"

<Zool> Light2: BTW, that was who I spoke with at Escom

<jcompton> bytey: Again, there have been no solid commitments, just a lot
of broad based indications of what CAN happen.

<Fastlane> Zool: that has been said by many before...  but did it ever
REALLY eventuate?

<Devophile> I just received an amusing comment..  "Did Sony buy Amiga or

<Cappy> Zool: Does Escom have an email address that they can be reached? 
I'd like to press the issue of the importance of user groups.

<Zool> FastLane: Who has said that before?  Other than C=?

<Zool> Cappy: I don't believe so.

<Zool> Devophile: :)

<Fastlane> Zool: my point exactly.

<Light2> Zool: Yes, I read the transcripts.  I would really like to know
what to expect.  Previous track records in mind.

<jcompton> Cappy: E-mail?  Not to our knowledge.  That would make too much
sense.  They're not even sure if they want to use the net to help promote
their product.

<KermitW> We're quite willing to give Escom the time they need to do this.
It can't possibly happen overnight or even over just two months.  
Developer support, user group programs, new machines, all this will take
time for anyone.

<Idcmp> Many ex-C='s like Dave Haynie and Dale Larson have already said
that they don't like the direction that Escom is planning for the Amiga

<Zool> Fastlane: Yes, that is a problem.  But since we have no real choice
in this, we have to jhope for the best.

Idcmp> it would take more $$ rather than less or equal $$ to get them to
go back to R&D rather than if CEI or alike had got it.

<Zool> You know, if Amiga users had banded together, we could have had a
legal right to send a representative to the court hearing to plead for who
we wanted?

<Zool> Idcmp: Yes, but Escom has a lot of money.

<Cappy> jcompton or Zool: How about a snail mail address?

<jcompton> Um, guys, I hate to interject, but we're losing the flow

<Devophile> Another comment, Dell has a better "image" in the US than
Escom.  People might be more apt to but Amigas with the Dell name versus
Amigas with the Escom name.

<Beowulf_> jcompton: Is there a snail mail address?

<Idcmp> Zool: And in that sense Escom is alot like Commodore.  (was)

<Zool> Devophile: I dobut that will make much a difference once Escom has
an operation here.

<jcompton> Beo: None that I have access to.  Zool may have one, if not,
I'll try to get it from Dan Stets.

<jcompton> Everyone, please calm down.  I'd like to actually let the
general public be heard, so...

<Mitchman> Did they mention any plans for a US-based R&D department?  This
is obviously needed if any of the old engineers is to return.

<jcompton> Mitchman: No specific locales were given, although some
engineers have indicated their willingness to relocate in the past (Chris
Ludwig, for example.)

<Harv> So what's up with Alex/CEI?......

<Harv> I can't believe he's just gonig to fade away.....

<Harv> is an Escom/CEI deal possible? or even desireable?

<Zool> Harv:  He could possibly get a liscence to clone Amigas.

<jcompton> Harv: Well, Giorgio told me Alex said "I'm going to grow
flowers." I haven't talked to him today.  He didn't give up over a year's
time, so...

<jcompton> Harv: At the same time, throwing in with Dell certainly didn't
help him in Escom's eyes.  On the other hand, money's still money.

<Harv> he threw inwith Dell? yikes. didn't know that.

<jcompton> Harv: Desirable, I can't see how it would hurt.  Possible,
we'll see.  Pursuable?  It depends on whether or not Amor's investment
group (which has clearly shrunk by a lot since September) would go for

<PieMan> Thankyou.  Does escom have any plans to continue to manifacture
amiga cd32 console type machines? 

<jcompton> Pieman: I haven't heard anything that specific discussed.  I
don't see why not, I know of at least two companies who would love new
units for their own products...

<Zool> Pieman: It makes sense.  Escom wants to get Amiga tech in other
things than the Amiga computers, so the CD32 would be step towards a set
top box

<jcompton> Pieman: But again, this is one of those things Escom needs to
be made aware of.

<Zool> Pieman: Also, if the Phillipine plant does have 130,000 akiko chips
in stock, and they buy it, I'm sure Escom will want to make CD32s.

<Zool> Pieman: there is still good profit to be had in CD32s and royalties
off it.

<Zool> Pieman: It fits with Escom's strategy.

<Beowulf_> Mention was made of Escom producing the 64 for sale in some
parts of the world.  Do you know of any plans for 64's to be sold in the
US (specifically the SX 64)?

<jcompton> Beowulf: Again, that's gotta be up to them.  The Chinese market
seems to be where they want to put the 64-it's cheap to make and cheap to
buy.  There's always the CMD market in the US, but again, Escom may not be
aware of that.

<jcompton> Beowulf: I, personally, would be surprised.

<jjohnson> If C= Uk is a subsidiary (sp?) of C= Intl who was just bought
by Escom (and the Phillipines plant also), how can those two entities not
be included with the deal?  Thanks.

<Zool> jjohnson: no, C= UK is not part of Escom, but Escom plans to buy it
in 2 weeks time.

<Zool> Escom also will probably buy the Phillipines plant.

<jcompton> Good question.  C= UK is DIRECTLY owned by Commodore BV, which
is in liquidation.  Its trustees objected to the sale of its assets
through C= International (the Philippines assets and C= UK).

<jcompton> C= BV SHOULD have to report to C= International, but because of
Commodore's convoluted structure...

<jcompton> Zool: The inventory, not the plant.  They don't own the plant.

<Zool> jcompton: It may be illegal to sell the plant to anyone other than
Escom, because there may be Amiga tech still in there that Escom owns. 
That is what the court said.

<oleg> stoopid question, is the court-approved contract available
electronically?  it is a public document, so it can be requested.  has
anyone done that?

<jcompton> oleg: It's a very LONG public document.  I, for one, don't want
to type it in.  I'll ask the lawyers on Monday, though.

<Zool> jcompton:  Ofcourse, there are such things as scanners... :)

<jcompton> oleg: You might be able to get it sent to you from the office.

<jcompton> Zool: Which any member of the audience can feel free to buy for

<oleg> jcompton actually it *should* be available for the cost of
copying/mailing from the bankruptcy court if it is not available from the

<Zool> jcompton:  :)

<Zool> jcompton: Maybe a company that makes scanners will be good enough
to take an ad out in AR, right?

<jcompton> Zool: I can always hope.

<HammerD> Any mention of C= Canada or other operating subsidaries?  Was
Douglas MacGregor there?  (head of C= Canada)

<jcompton> Ok, then, how about bytey?

<bytey> What is Escom's reputation in Germany ? GA

<jcompton> HD: Not clear.

<AK> A Amiga Deal friend of mine has said that NewTek has officially
stated that the future Amiga is of no concern of theirs.

<Zool> Are there any Germans here who have dealt with Escom?  If so, /msg
Zool so that I can answer bytey

<jcompton> bytey: Like any large company, Escom has its supporters and
detractors.  On .misc, there's a thread, one person lauds Escom for great
potential, the other says their service sucks.

<jcompton> bytey: But they've demonstrated tremendous growth lately, so
they've got attention on them, and this can't hurt.  So I guess the quick
answer is: you'll know soon.

<jcompton> Ok, Shadowhwk was lagged, let's try again...

<Zool> bytey: Willow says that Escom is very big, but doesn't have good

<Shadowhwk> Has any evidence as to whether or not ESCOM has talked to, met
with or is planning to meet with NewTek? 

<Cryo> there's more to life than NewTek

<jcompton> Shadow: Too specific.  If they have, they haven't made it

<jcompton> Everyone has to understand...Escom has been incredibly
secretive over the past months.  We found out more about their plans and
thought processes today than we did since the rumors started spreading in

<jcompton> So, any secret deals, meetings, or promises they may have made
are still total unknowns.

<Nyx> I'd like to mention along with Cryo that NewTek, while being a very
"public" company in the eyes of the public, never sold enough Amigas to
keep C= alive.  Commodore survived on the low-end machines, and always

<oleg> There is a thread on c.g.lightwave (initiated by lee stranahan an
ex-NewTek employee) that NEwTek is in deep financial trouble...  Thus they
may at least be interested in selling Amiga Toasters for a while, if only
to liquidate their inventory.

<Nyx> The only reason C= had high-end machines at all was for a technology
proving ground.

<Zool> By the way, people, Willow has told me that service is on of
Escom's selling points, but that in practice, like Radio Shack, it's not
very good, because the people don't have the expertise.

<CHamer> Thanks.  Are there any 'surprise' legal actions on the part of
the 'un-successful' bidders set to slow this down again?

<Zool> CHamer:  No, it seems as if all is smooth saling from here on in.

<jcompton> CH: Good question.  The only chance would be at the Bahamas
court, but the court has all but signed in blood that they'll say what the
US judge said, and he said "yes", so...

<Frotz> Does anybody know how to contact Escom in ANY country, like with
phone or fax or email?

<jcompton> Frotz: I don't.  One of my Dutch sysops has Escom's number, I'll
try to get it in the next issue.  Josh might have something...

<Zool> Frotz: I have one number, but I'd rather not give it out, because it
is not a general number that is given out.  Sorry.  However, when I talk to
someone at Escom, I will try to get a phone number you can fax requests for
the Amiga to.

<jcompton> Hold on...number is coming...

<Number1> Have any comments been made by either CEI (answered earlier) or
Micro-PACE, my two main distributors as an Amiga dealer?  If so, what?

<Zool> jcompton: any day now...  :)

<jcompton> reti032-"what about jcompton future plans, i mean ar issues and
possible conference qith escom boss ?"

<jcompton> Answer: I don't see any big changes for AR.  As for conference
with Escom...that's up to them, but it won't be for lack of trying on my

<Zool> +49 241 27734 is one of Escom's phone numbers.  Thanks to ChrisDi
for this.

<Zool> OK, we have more phone #s.  Fax: +31-2526-72216

<jcompton> Escom is also +31-2526-87971, +31-2526-72216 fax, but those are
customer service.

<Zool> Thanks Willow for that one.

<Kthulu> Does this mean that the next Amiga will have plug in graphics and
soundboards like the ibm?  Also I would like to add that the Amiga Computer
Users of RIT hope that ESCOM will be open to suggestions from those of us
who use the computer.  I beilieve that we need to stay on top of ESCOM so
they know what we want and what can be done with the AMIGA

<Zool> Kthulu: I suppose just call those numbers, at this point.

<jcompton> Kthulu: Another question I'd love to answer, but Escom just
hasn't given us specific enough information.

<Zool> Kthulu: However, as I have said, when I talk to Escom again in 2
weeks, I will ask about where concerned Amiga users can call to voice

<Cyclone2> How much is Escom planning to put into Amiga R&D?  This is a
legitimate concern, since C= invested about $30 million a year in Amiga
R&D, and it wasn't enough.

<Zool> Cyclone2: It sounds like they are willing to spend a lot.  They
know that the Amiga need new technology upgrades, and that it will take a
lot of work to incorporate the Power PC into the Amiga.

<jcompton> "As much as they say they will." As of now, Escom is a >$1
billion company.  Their clones require far less R+D than the Amiga would,
and the 64 certainly won't be an engineering challenge.

<Zool> jcompton: Yes, but if they believe that the Amiga can be a viable
computer, they will spend on R&D.

<jcompton> Zool: Of course.

<Zool> jcompton: And Escom did say that they bought it to make Amigas, and
that they wouldn't have put the time into it otherwise, nor the money.

<Zool> Another Escom phone number, this one Germany: +49 6252 71313 Thank
ChrisDi for that one!

<jcompton> Zool: I think they could turn a handy profit without the Amiga.
In fact, I'll submit that the Amiga is the riskiest part of a balanced diet
of PC and Mac clones, the 64, and the Amiga.

<Zool> jcompton: They could make a profit without the Amiga, but they
could make a bigger profit WITh the Amiga.

<Zool> jcompton: I believe that they want to revamp the Amiga.  I could be
very wrong, but that is what they conveued to me.  And a revitalized Amiga
sold in big computer chains could make money.

<Nyx> Not unless you can attract big name software vendors as well.

<Zool> Nyx: Those will come if Escom sells Amigas again, especially if
they put them in all Escom stores and other big computer chains.

<Nyx> Zool: Perhaps in Europe.

<CHamer> When are we going to see some machines appear?

<Zool> I think that Escom should sell cheap A1200s to China, because that
would really boost the Amiga user market.

<Zool> CHamer:  In 2 months, according to Escom.

<Zool> CHamer: They already had a deal set up with a Chinese firm to make
Amigas in their plants.

<CHamer> Is that real, or just 'smoke'?

<mr_t> Have Escom talket with the AmigaOS replacement group?  and what are
their plans for distribution to others than their own stores?

<jcompton> Zool: Um, your interview says 3 months.

<Zool> Chamer: Well, the Chinese were at the hearing, so i assume so.

<Zool> jcompton: [sigh] That must have been a typo...

<mr_t> How are they going to promote the Amiga vs PC?

<jcompton> mr_t: Another question locked in the brains of many German and
Dutch execs.  We just don't know yet.

<Zool> mr_t: Willow informs me that Escom hasn't contacted the Amiga OS
project.  However, C= Uk did contact the Amiga OS project, and Escom will
be buying C= UK, so they may contact them through C= UK.

<Optic> Will American/Canadian stores be able to sell Amigas, or do Escom
only sell their products through Escom retail outlets?

<Zool> Optic: I assume that Escom will sell Amigas everywhere.  It makes
business sense to sell them in stores other than their own, because they
can make more profit off the Amiga that way.

<jcompton> Zool: That's a pretty simplified view.  Pleasance sent the OS
people a letter saying "Good work, carry on, we think it's neat", but
there was no commitment made...

<Zool> Optic: Ofcourse, that will be a measure of how much they want the
Amiga to survive.  If they don't allow other stores to have it, that's a
bad sign.

<Zool> jcompton: Actually, he said that they were interested in talking to
them, and that was before they got the Amiga, and just that he acknowledges
them is a good sign.

<Pala> what did do the amiga director of escom when he was at C=, how good
how bad ?

<jcompton> Pala: Good question.  I'd never heard of the guy.

<Zool> jcompton: I though you knew everything about idolization of
you is shattered...  :)

<jcompton> Zool: Sorry, CIL management wasn't one of my fortes.

<jcompton> I'd just like to interject that I DO strongly feel that Escom's
purchase of Commodore's assets seriously imperils the future of floor
scrubber development.

<mage> From which point would it be realistic to think Escom would continue
R&D?  Will they start over from scratch, or will they keep any of the "old
stuff" ?

<jcompton> (It's been asked that I point out that CIL had a good dozen or
two vice presidents at any given time, so this one was probably nothing to
worry about.)

<Zool> I just want to say that although I agree that Escom could turn out
to be VERY bad, they could also turn out to be VERY good for the Amiga.

<jcompton> mage: Well, Amor toyed with the idea of scrapping AAA and
3DRISC, because the benefit-to-time ratio may not have added up.  But it's
going to be up to Escom's evaluation.

<Zool> mage: I don't think we really know.  They could go Power PC and
,make old software compatible, or they might feel that it is easier to
start from scratch with the Power PC.

<jcompton> mage: As it stands, AAA and 3DRISC (separately) are each a good
18+ months from saleable completion.

<Nyx> Zool: 18+ months before you could have them in a sellable product.

<droids> Does Escom have a floor scrubber, and do they know how to use it?

<jcompton> droids: Probably, but unfortuately they haven't admitted it.

<Zool> Also, I think that with Escom, we pretty much have an all or nothing
venture.  They either are going to kill the Amiga, or do great things with
it and push it like crazy.

<WilloW> Zool: That's correct.  Is a totaly unknown thing.  Maybe they are
worse then C= or ten times better.

<HiDog> Did Escom mention their intended market?  High/low end, desktop/
console etc.?  I still have a feeling they might just milk the Amiga
technology as is and eventually kill it i.e.  cheap settop box...

<jcompton> Hidog: They mentioned all markets, like the good salesmen they
had on hand.

<Zool> HiDog: I believe that they want to do low end for new markets, like
China, but on the other hand, I think they wanted to make Amiga business
machines for the European market, which is very business oriented

<Sudog> How long can we expect to wait (perhaps an estimate?) before we see
some sort of action in North America?  I'm looking for general ballpark,
not exact figures.  So far from what I've heard, it doesn't look good for
us.  Please, your impressions would be wlcm.

<Sudog> I ask this for the users out ther who have broken Amigas!  Like
broken a4000s.

<jcompton> sudog: Well, what Giorgio told me about their answer to the US
distribution question was NOT encouraging.  Their answer was "Well, we'll
look for the best people", which means "We haven't thought about it."

<Zool> Sudog: Escom said that they want to set up American offices soon,
and Colin Proudfoot says that Escom wants to use this to get into the US
market, so I think it looks pretty good.

<Zool> jcompton: Hmmm...conflicting answers...

<oggy> Escom are breaking into the UK PC market theyve bought up all the
rumberlow(formaly owned by Thorn Emi) and are opening superstores on top of
these in the UK, now theyve bought C= and say they plan to break into the
US market as well, although they have..

<jcompton> Zool: Yes, and you were both talking to the same guy...

<oggy> large captial, will it be enough or have they bitten off more than
they can chew?

<Zool> jcompton: perhaps I misunderstood his statement.  However, he did
say that they were going to be setting up some kind of US contact, somehow,
and Colin Proudfoot did say that Escom wanted to get into the US market.

<jcompton> oggy: Rhetorical question.  :)

<Zool> oggy: Escom definitely has the capital to the do whatever they want
with teh Amiga...

<jcompton> Zool: Because as salesmen, they would be committing suicide to
rule anything out.  That's their job.

<JoeC> What was Microsoft's objection at the hearing, and who gets to pay
that old cursor patent fee now from that other company?

<jcompton> JoeC: Microsoft didn't object, they were at the auction as a

<Zool> oggy: The computer market is growing in Europe, and they are
positioned to make a nice sum off it.

<jcompton> JoeC: And it will fall on Escom to re-license the CadTrack
patent, and pay up all of the MANY MANY patents that are "not in good

<jcompton> For instance, the CrossDOS license is not in good standing,
along with hundreds of others.

<Corinna> Comment: We need to be positive about the future with Escom,
being negative will not help anyone, us or them.  This could be a whole new
era for the Amiga.  KEEP THE FAITH!  :)

<jcompton> Interestingly enough, not even Consultron knew it was not in
good standing...

<Corinna> Thanks to Zool and Jason and all other folks for the info!

<Zool> Corinna: Thank you!  I think that since we are stuck with Escom, we
should hope for the best, and wait to see what happens.

<Optic> jc: What about the Amiga speech synth?

<jcompton> Optic: I didn't see it in there, I thought that was a dead

<jcompton> I'll agree...but this is also not the time to be complacent. 
We've been screwed around before, and this last year hasn't exactly been
fun, so it's worth our while to make DAMN sure Escom knows what they have
to do.

<Piranha> Since IBM still has patents pending on some of the architecture
on the Amiga platform, is it *secure* that Escom has the technology, or
will they end up going to court again?  This will put our Amiga's out of
commission 'again'.  Is this something we have to worry about?

<jcompton> Piranha: Unfortunately, the result of IBM's claim was unclear. 
The main problem seems to be that they weren't LISTED as holders, making
them wonder what the liquidator was trying to pull.

<jcompton> Piranha: They held a license, not the patents themselves.

<Zool> Piranha: It is secure.

<Zool> Pirahna: IBM dropped their objection, as far as I understand.

<Drizzit> Will Escom allow ship Amigas with better CPUs with stock machines
(ie 25,33,&40MHz models) instead of just one (25MHz right now)?   And will
they move on to the PowerPC, the 060, or some other RISC based chip?

<jcompton> Drizzit: We don't know the answer yet.

<Zool> Drizzit: The have said that they like the Power PC chip, but that no
decision has been made yet.

<Lighty> The following question is for Zool to include in his next
interview with Escom:

<Lighty> I realize that the matter has probably not been discussed
internally yet, but in a future version of the Amiga's OS, do they plan to
include plan to include internet capabilities?

<Zool> Lighty: OK, I'll ask them that when I next speak to them.  Thanks
for the suggestion.

<TritN> I'm sure I speak on Behalf of many ppl within the large Amiga
community of Montreal, Quebec.  I Must ask, Is there any news about
distribution in other countries like Canada?  (Also please comment of fate
of C= Canada)

<jcompton> Tritn: C= Canada was a direct subsidiary of C= International, so
will be part of Escom.

<jcompton> Tritn: No news about Canada otherwise, though.

<mr_t> Has Escom said anything about what direction the are planning on
developing hardware and OS (besides setop and PPC)?

<Fastlane> let me add also with Australia (C=Australia was never any good)

<Zool> mr_t: No.

<jcompton> mr_t: No, but I'm sure they haven't ruled anything out.

<Draegon> What kind of support can we posibly expect for older amigas?

<jcompton> Draegon: I'd say you should stop hot-swapping joysticks now,
just in case.

<CHamer> Thanks, Are there going to be assurance that while machine
production ramps up, that parts will become available as well?

<jcompton> CH: No, there's no assurance of that at all.  This is another
one of those things Escom won't think of unless they hear enough complaints
and prodding.

<oleg> zool, who exactly are you, and what relationship, if any do you have
with ESCOM?

<Zool> oleg: I am the Editor-in-Chief of Amiga Link Online Magazine.  I
have no relationship with Escom, except that I talked to them today at the

<Spinner> Will the Chinese manufacturer mean cheaper (cost and/or quality),
more expensive, or similar to current AMigas?

<Spinner> Will we see an A4000 cost competitive to a 486 syustem?

<jcompton> Spinner: I'm not sure what the relation of Chinese-to-
Philippines labor costs are, but I'd imagine Chinese labor is a few degrees
cheaper, at least.

<Zool> Spinner: It will probably mean Slave labor, sadly.

<oleg> zool so why aren't we getting at least some "I don't know answers
from you"?  you CANNOT conceivably have covered every question asked here
in your talk with ESCOM, soo how much is speculation on your part, and how
much is ESCOM answers?

<Cryo> thank you all for attending..  we have some entertainment for you
coming up

<Cryo> We are going to tie jason down and let you all come with your cow
prods and have at him

<jcompton> Yeah, that about does it for the formal part, everyone.  Thank
you very much for coming, the official edited transcripts will be appearing
in the online magazine of your choice...

<Zool> oleg: I haven't said that because I don't answer what I can't
answer.  And yes, there is a matter of speculation inveolved, but it's the
best that I can do with a 3 minute conversation.

<jcompton> All I have left to say is that I'm not about to watch Escom
screw this up, so I'd appreciate all the help I can get making sure they