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compt.sys.editor.desk By: Jason Compton
Funny how things work out some times. Twelve months ago, Escom was in
trouble, VIScorp was slated to buy the Amiga, and everything was falling
apart at the seams.
Now, Gateway 2000 has stepped up and is buying the entire Commodore and
Amiga-related properties from Escom, with the exception of the Commodore
trademark which is already in use by the new "Commodore", the successor of
the Netherlands branch of Escom.
The official announcements of the Gateway purchase are in the News
section of the magazine. But a brief summary of where we are and how we
got here follows.
By March, things looked confused. VIScorp had made no secret of the fact
that it was no longer pursuing an Amiga purchase. The only company that we
knew of that was actively bidding was QuikPak, and while their intentions
seemed nice, it was somewhat questionable if they, a relatively small
privately held company, could raise the necessary funds for a purchase.
Rumors abounded about a plethora of other companies who were looking to
buy the Amiga, but nobody was telling who they were or what they wanted,
and there were certainly no official statements to be had.
One late March morning, the rumors started flying--"Gateway 2000 has bought
the Amiga!" The rumors turned into tentative truths when the first Gateway
press releases started showing up on the major newswires, and the tentative
truths were confirmed by telephone calls to Gateway. Gateway 2000, or GW2K
as I'm sure we'll get used to typing very soon, had submitted a bid which
had been accepted by the court-appointed trustee (our old friend Herr
Hembach), subject to the approval of the bankruptcy court and the German
Soon after, the court approval was granted. As far as I understand it, the
deal is still pending regulatory approval, although private e-mail messages
sent by Amiga Technologies president Petro Tyschtschenko seem to indicate
that the approval may have been granted. I have been unable to confirm
this with Gateway as of today, however.
What do we know about Gateway so far? They have explicitly said they want
to build and sell Amigas. We also know that they are interested in the
technology it provides them for their portfolio of intellectual
property--no surprise here. They are retaining Petro as head of Amiga
Technologies, now to be named Amiga International, which will continue to
be headquartered in Germany and will run as a Gateway subsidiary.
Rumors indicate that they have been in touch with a number of Amiga
developers and companies.
Gateway has not made any Amiga-specific announcements for a couple of
weeks--not a surprise since there are undoubtedly some boring but necessary
legal, financial, and procedural details to be worked out, and Gateway has
their $5 billion/year PC business to run, too.
Is Gateway a Good Thing(tm)? For starters, I think we're all agreed that
we'll take ownership over bankruptcy any day. While there have been the
requisite naysayers who are convinced Gateway will just "kill the Amiga",
perhaps "tricking us" into buying Gateway PC clones instead. I don't see
it. Had Gateway wanted to kill off the Amiga as we know it, they could
have done so quietly, by not making a fuss over their acquisition.
Instead, they announced it openly, and while it was on a big computer news
day (a potential Apple takeover bid was announced), it still rated as
important enough to make a number of worldwide newspapers, magazines, and
"So, what took you so long, Compton? Did you or did you not promise us a
special buyout issue?"
Yes, I did. And for a moment, it was tempting to sit down at the keyboard
and whip off a special issue as soon as Gateway confirmed that they'd
submitted their partially accepted bid. But then I sat down and thought
about the matter. When we did the Escom buyout issue, we had far more
facts and concrete decisions at hand--the bankruptcy court had ruled.
Here, we had a trustee's accepted bid, which was not the same thing. Then,
there was the matter of the regulatory approval--which I'm still not
totally clear on. So rather than get whipped up in the frenzy and report
something we might later regret, it was decided to hold off for either full
and final confirmation that the deal was done, or simply "it's about time
to put out another issue." We did hit the latter, although this issue is a
bit smaller because of the time spent in the past few weeks trying to track
down Gateway info rather than reviewing products, and since we're retooling
the magazine to go to native HTML some sections (dealers and BBSes) are
missing this time around.
So enjoy, keep an eye on Amiga Report, and here's to what looks like
another interesting year.