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RADIO HAMBURG INTERVIEW WITH DR. PETER KITTEL, AMIGA TECHNOLOGIES
German transcription by: Olaf Schaper firstname.lastname@example.org
English translation by: Giorgio Gomelsky email@example.com
Klaus Dieter Ackermann, in his Radio Hamburg program Online, included an
Amiga item-a telephone interview with Dr. Peter Kittel, head of the
Product Planning Group for Amiga Technologies GmbH.
KDA: Hello, Dr. Kittel! You have for many users, a couple million at
least, you've pulled the straw out of the water! You've done it again, so
PK: Right. You know, you have to start from the point that in Germany we
have quite a big Commodore community. In Germany, there has always been a
big Commodore community, with many collaborators, who were always busy with
the Amiga. There was a lot of passion. At the moment, we are gathering
all these people together again so that we may be able from Germany to be
able to bring the Amiga back to full strength. It's nice to consider that
there is a lot of Amiga competence in Germany so that we don't have to
start from scratch.
KDA: Yes, I've got four computer freaks here who know the machine
inside-out. You might have heard my introduction earlier. What the Amiga
is capable of today or was 5 or 6 years ago, that's what the PCs of today
slowly have become capable of imitating.
PK: Yes. And we're always surprised by this fact. We never had the
impression that we had achieved something incredible. But there are still
things that neither the PC nor the Mac can do without trouble.
KDA: Things which of course even today are not even quite been achieved by
them today. Just a few days ago I spoke with Karola Bode, whom you
probably know, about the situation. Although she also lost her job with
Commodore, she is also happy that the system is coming back to life.
PK: Correct. That is what is so fantastic in the Amiga community.
Consider also that on the level of the company here, there are all kinds of
cross-refences to the whole of the German microcomputer business scene, so
that one is involved with old friends, that being back on the scene you
bump into your old friends again. So much so that now we know, more than
ever, what our competitors are up to.
KDA: Good. Now, let's look a little bit at the future. When is the whole
thing going to start? When will the first Commodore reappear? And which
models will we see again soon in the shops?
PK: At the moment, we already have two people who do nothing else than, all
day long, make phone calls all across the world to get the production going
again-to track down the special parts which we need from every corner of
the planet. That will take a bit of time, then we have to find
manufacturers that will build our boards because we cannot as yet do this
at Escom. As you know, Escom has until now only done assembly of computers
(adding to that hard drives). We have to give it to outside people to do.
But there are many factories abroad, where Commodore used to manufacture.
And if nothing abnormal happens inbetween, we'll get that going as well.
And our timing is such that we hope to deliver the first machines in
September. If something unforseen happens, it could be a little later.
This means that at the moment, we can't really seriously promise anything,
but let's say that if everything goes well, we'll release the first
machines in September.
KDA: Well, how does it look, then? In Braunschweig, there was a very
important production site. Is that not available?
PK: No, the production in Braunschweig was closed down some years ago. In
more recent times it was only a warehouse with service attached to it.
Anyway, Braunschweig was assembly, they didn't make any boards there. In
this respect, it wouldn't have been a solution.
KDA: There was a big fuss with regards to the taking over of Commodore.
The rumors said there was a big Japanese wholesaler in what we call
"brown-ware" wanted to take over the company. And then we heard that
nobody was doing it, and then suddenly, like the phoenix from the ashes, we
saw over the wires that Escom had bought it.
[Brown ware is a term for radios and home electronics. We puzzled over
this one for a long time... -Jason]
PK: Yes, in hindsight, and I wasn't as yet employed by Escom, I've only
been there two weeks, I've heard from my new colleagues that the action to
take over Commodore started over half a year ago. But they behaved in a
very skillful way for not letting it come out, and that way other potential
competitors were not aware of their desire. If they had noticed, they
probably would have pushed the price up. So I think Escom had a skillful
politic here and for all intents and purposes saved quite a lot of money.
KDA: Correct. Otherwise, the price would probably have really gone up.
The rumor has it that you have a Commodore 64 as a headrest, and as a
comforter, an Amiga, and that you know the system partially better than the
PK: No, no, no, that's not correct. I have to insist upon this-I knew the
64 only a little bit, because the C-64 resembled the old CBM 8000s. I
first came together with Commodore on the Pet 2001, and later became an
8000 freak. Since the C-64 was 90% similar to the 8000, I was able to do
something with the 64. As my headrest, at most, there would be a small
KDA: Dr. Kittel, this is a hectic life. We have a lot of questions here.
But to start, let's speak about the software. You are going to re-activate
the whole developer support community so that programmers go back to the
PK: Luckily enough, we don't have to reactivate that much. These guys are
always ready to go. They were all following the Internet, and as soon as
the communication came that everything was falling into place, they
announced themselves immediately. (They called Escom) Also, our
infrastructure is here, we had an internal network for registered
developers that was never stopped. We found in some countries partners who
already had taken care of the network while the Commodore subsidiaries shut
down. They kept the network running, always ready to go. We can let the
whole thing come back to life quite easily, continue it like nothing
KDA: Is it realistic that we say that the first Amigas will be seen in the
shop by the end of the year?
PK: As stated before, as far as we're concerned we're going ahead
full-steam. If nothing else comes up, in September. We of course do not
want to miss the Christmas season.
KDA: I can imagine. Where will we be able to buy the Amiga? Will it be
exclusively your stores, or in other stores as well?
PK: No, no, the new Amiga company will be very different in this respect
from the old Commodore situation. The intention is to have a very liberal
policy. On the one side with regards to sales-anyone that wants to sell an
Amiga will get one to sell. And exactly what it will look like with the
Escom chain stores has not as yet been totally discussed. But I proceed
from the point of view that they also will get Amiga computers to sell. At
the same time, this liberal policy that we want to follow would also be
applied to things concerning licensing. For instance, if someone wants to
create an Amiga compatible computer or something really great like a
laptop, he will be able to get the license for that immediately, as well as
the special chips which are needed, which in the old days of Commodore was
KDA: Correct. How will it then look? I have here for instance a question
with regards to 'Will there be a card for the PC that will simulate the
Amiga or emulate the Amiga?'
PK: Well, at least we're thinking about this. You also should be aware
that such a board could be very expensive to put out, and you have to be
practical. To put three-quarters of an Amiga on a board like that so it
really functions as a compatible device might not be all that cheap to put
together-and then it wouldn't be that certain that many people would buy
it. We are thinking about it, we're looking into it, but I cannot promise
at the moment that this will happen.
KDA: You already notice the question-many with an Amiga have gotten a PC
for themselves, without having discarded the Amiga-just in case. So it
seems that there is quite a lot of people out there that are a captive
audience. I wish you all the best, and I hope that you can come out with
the Amiga in the German market as soon as possible, and all the users will
probably, and I'm saying this quite soberly, be sitting at your feet and
will rejoice that finally the machine is rising again.
PK: Thank you very much.
KDA: Good, so I wish you a very wonderful evening, and thank you for having