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                           AT/ESCOM ON GERMAN TV
  Thomas Tavoly                                       ttavoly@amiga.ow.nl
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This morning, Sunday 22nd of Octobre, Gilles Bourdin and Manfred Schmitt
appeared on the third German television station WDR (West Deutsche
Rundfunk) announcing the rebirth of Amiga.

The presenters seemed pleased to announce this item of about a quarter of
an hour (or at least one, since at the end they use to hold up their
thumbs, saying "one bit for ..", one of them said _Atari_ (a little
spitefully it seemed), the other said Amiga).

First Gilles Bourdin appeared telling about the Amiga, it's multitasking
capabilities since 1985 and it's video/sound capabilities.  The A1200 was
shown with a demo of Scala MM300 (smooth scrolling stuff with sound, but
not that awesome for the seasoned Amiga veteran :).  This was shown on an
Amiga 1438S monitor (=Microvitec 1438 + builtin speakers).

Then they moved to the Amiga 4000 (desktop model, no tower in sight).  It
was sitting in front of a bigger monitor (17" I think) also with the label
Amiga on the front, in the middle on the bottom.  It seemed to have a lot
of icons and Magic Workbench installed, although not too much colour.  They
didn't demonstrate anything on it, just told that it has the same
capabilities as it's smaller brother, the A1200, and you can expand it with
graphic cards, MPEG and whatnot, just like a PC.

Nothing was mentioned in the way of what processors were used and what
configuration was installed, except that the A1200 had a 170 MB HD.

Gilles made a relaxed and cheerful impression and they talked some about MS
Windows 95 = Mac 89 = Amiga 85 :^) Lastly Bourdin made the announcement of
AT/Escom being present at the Cologne show, taking place on 10-12 november
(World of Amiga 95)

After that a Commodore multimedia PC (midi tower) was shown, with a small
(but good looking) keyboard (MIDI, I guess) attached.  The Qwerty keyboard
had two small speakers built in on either side at the top.  They didn't
show anything of it's capabilities, just mentioned it.  I'd guess it does
everything a normal PC does, bundled with some 'multimedia' software.

Then the camera moved to Manfred Schmitt, sitting with the other presenter.
He first asked Schmitt to tell what happened to Commodore and why Escom
purchased them.  Manfred told him that Escom purchased Commodore and the
Amiga (he seemed to stress that), because of two reasons: Firstly the names
Commodore and Amiga have the second largest brand recognition after IBM in
Europe and have a good name, and also due to the size of this recognition
it is more difficult to change that recognition or image.  (Sounded like a
tongue in cheek reference to the Amiga's bad reputation overseas)

Secondly: although Escom is one of the biggest customers of
Intel/Microsoft products on the European continent and they have quite
good relationships with aforementioned vendors, Escom regards them as being
monopolistic and therefore harmful to the market as a whole in the long
term.  This is quite a big thing for a computer industry representant, he
might burn some bridges there :)

The presenter then asked if they were planning to break that monopoly with
the Amiga, and Manfred replied to the effect of: "certainly" :^) But he
also stated that he regards the PC as a workplace tool, for wordprocessing,
spreadsheet and the like, while the Amiga is more suited for multimedia
purposes.  He again stressed it's capabilities regarding multitasking,
video and such. 

Also the efficiency of the Amiga was spoken of, the way it's OS can run in
512 KB, if need be from a floppy drive.  Schmitt stated that today you need
8 MB for Windows and 2 MB for an Amiga, and again stressed how much
advantage the price difference between a multimedia PC (2000+ DM) and an
Amiga (implying 1200, below 1000 DM) makes.  Also the way the custom chips
make the design cost effective.  That was good marketing ;)

The whole interview emanated a modern, 'lean, mean, fighting machine'
image.

Then they talked some about the recent purchase of [can't remember the
name, sounded like Hageka or Hakema] the telecommunications company.  The
presenter asked a lot of quick questions whether the Amiga would also be
utilized in the communication business, to which I couldn't get a firm
impression, Manfred Schmitt gave some answers, but they were kind of vague
promising.  (That and that I just got up and nearly fell asleep again by
this time..).

At the end Manfred Schmitt again stressed the Amiga's capabilities (they
seemed to talk little about Commodore :) and the position of
Intel/MicroSoft and the Amiga's future.  The presenter vaguely implied (he
was guessing it seemed) forthcoming news next year regarding new models to
which Manfred answered with a subtle smile..

The presenter then closed the show with stating that in the future there
will be more Amiga items.

Manfred Schmitt made a relaxed impression too, it was a good interview.

I might be forgetting something here and there, since I'm still sleepy, but
thought you would like to know that finally they have come out of the bush
a bit and started marketing the damn product, even though nothing was said
we already didn't know.  At least the general public now gets the message
(the show is quite popular in Germany, at least among the computing
public).  BTW, I love those guys, they slagged off Windows 95 pretty badly
about a month ago, due to it's installation-horrors, unstableness and
bloatedness :^)

The show will be aired again tomorrow, Monday 23rd Octobre at 06:00 and
23:45 CET.  You might also catch it on the Astra satellite, though I don't
know which channel that would be (WDR).