It is a well known fact that once you have drunk three whiskies,
you quickly loose count of the rest. The same could be said about
Amiga buyouts. This is the fifth company to own the Amiga since its
inception. Anyone would think it was a jinx!
The second company to carry the Amiga Corp. name rose from the
ashes of the previous Amiga Inc. Its founders consist of two former
employees- Fleecy Moss who left in October 1998, after the mess
that had been made of the Be deal, and Bill McEwen, who followed
suit in August 1999. They were seen to be two of the few people who
actually understood the Amiga community and were not afraid to be
honest about the situation.
As Amiga slowly turned away from the community that had supported
it, the two set up their own company to develop a migration path
from Classic Amiga to another Amiga-like operating system. This led
to a three-way partnership between Amino, QSSL, and Rebol to create
the A.Q.U.A. (Amino Qnx United Architecture) reference platform.
The aim was to combine Amino's business plan, the QNX operating
system, and the Rebol technology to create a system that is
Amiga-like in everything but the name. It was hoped that A.Q.U.A.
would provide a sense of direction for the failing market. During
this time, Amino had also entered into talks with Gateway to
purchase the Amiga. It had become clear that the company no longer
had any interest in developing the technology beyond their
convergence technology and were finding the community increasingly
a nuisance. Just a few days before Christmas the sale was complete
and Amino now owned all rights to the Amiga, apart from the
software patents that were still owned by Gateway. The plan was to
announce the purchase during the first few days of 2000. However,
the plans were bungled by Gateway who leaked the news, and it was
published on December 31st, 1999. Peter Ashkin, Gateway senior vice
president, said that the company elected to sell the name after
deciding to fold Amiga's software engineering function into
Gateway's product development activity as part of Gateway's overall
strategy to develop and market the coming generation of Internet
appliances. In an online statement Peter Ashkin, Gateway senior
vice president commented the high cost of allowing Amiga Inc.
independence had lead to the decision to sell the company
"Under Gateway's wing, Amiga morphed into a
software development company working on a new Internet appliance
operating environment software. Now that we're bringing that
development work into Gateway product development, it made sense to
find a buyer for Amiga."
Two days later Bill McEwen made his first announcement as CEO,
outlining what had been purchased by Amino Development Corporation.
Gateway still owned the patents that led them to buy the Amiga in
the first place, but Amino had a license to these. His celebratory
message reassured the Amiga user that the company would support the
community first and foremost, echoing back to Gateway's purchase of
Gateway purchased Amiga because of Patents, we
purchased Amiga because of the People
Shortly after the purchase, Amino slipped into something more
comfortable and re-emerged as the Amiga Corporation. The name
harkens back to the startup development of the original Amiga
Corporation that ceased to exist 16 years previous. As the new
owner Amiga Corp. abandoned the previous roadmap set out by the
Phoenix Platform Consortium, jilting QNX for the UK-based Tao
Group. It is suspected that this choice was influenced partly by
the loan of the necessary $5 million needed by Amino to purchase
Amiga. In comparison to the previous Gateway effort, Amiga Corp
seem to be in the fast lane to developing a new Amiga market. It
took the previous company almost a year to get to the stage of
announcing an OS partner.
At present there is much confusion over the exact nature of
Amiga Corp's plans. Rather than hailing them as the Amigas saviour
or indulge in needless speculation. Here are some of the facts that
- The company will be known as Amiga Corp. but it is unlikely the
product will bear the name.
- The company will focus upon two markets-
- The Pathfinder: General computer users.
- Domestic Digital Habitat (DDH): A new title for the digital
- The x86 and PPC have been confirmed as the next processors for
- Tao are the new OS partner.
- The new Amiga product family (formerly called AQUA) will run
natively and hosted
- Amiga Corp. will do everything in their power to ensure the new
system includes Classic Amiga emulation.
- Developer boxes are already in development.
- A product may be released as early as Winter 2000.