|What If You Would Have Been the CEO of Commodore||page 1 2 3 4 |
06 Jan 2012 20:26
|I forget to add,|
in the end 3 model styles, (with 32 bit chipsets and CD)
1. A1200 style with at least 1 fastram slot and blitter slot
2. CDTV style much the same as above
3. 3000/4000/Tower style with the usual type of stuff expected
of a highend machine cpu slot, zorro ect.
I wonder where the amiga could have been with the above even if CBM
Im mean If you had a good base model with CPU, buses, memory and sound at a fairly good level and the blitter on a card, 3rd party developers could have maybe developed newer blitter cards of thier own design following the same register pattern but adding new features. Would it not have ended up a sort of graphics card like todays riding on the wave of the PC cards of that time 3dfx ect
06 Jan 2012 22:37
|The CDTV should not have been abandoned.|
It should have had software out of the box for communicating with LaserDisc, and receivers over Rs232.
It should have been put on life support and upgraded each year. If Commodore would have survived until 1995, it would have had DVD!
Also, it should have come in a version with several MIDI ports and a case suitable for mounting in a 19" rack for the pro music guys. And come standard with SCSI and DAT taper. (For audio DAT.) Money would not have been an object for that crowd.
06 Jan 2012 22:44
|As a general consensus, the Amiga was a VERY advanced computer in 1985 and was even outselling the Mac in 1986 - however while commodore stood still after the initial succes, Apple quickly regained momentum and in 1990, Amiga technology was just on par with the competetion and by 1992 it was severely lagging behind, since commodore hardly evolved the platform at all. So how did Commodore waste a 5-year lead over the competition? |
Commodore had a developed a strategy to lock users into a specific hardware with the C64 and "milk" this hardware without ever evolving it. While this had worked well for the C64 during the entire 1980's this strategy was not sustainable on the Amiga. Amiga adepts (like myself) compared the Amiga to the Mac and the PC's and were expecting similar evolutionary improvements. For example Apple introduced the Mac-II 68020 based system in 1987 and put a faster system on the market every other year. I remember reading the Amiga mags each month in the hopes of finally learning that some advanced new chipset had arrived. Unfortunately it never came (not until it was too late anyway).
Commodore realised their mistake no sooner than 1992: While the C64 sold multiple millions of units ayear consistently throughout the 1980's, C64 sales had slumped after 1989 and by 1990, the Amiga finally outsold the C64 for the first time with 1 million units sold that year. From 1992 however, Amiga sales started to go down rapidly as the Amiga no longer held the price/performance-edge over VGA-based i386SX systems. At that time Commodore was producing huge piles of unsellable C64 and Amiga's and they got into financial trouble because of this. The AGA-based A1200 and CD32's cranked up the sales in the final year before bankruptcy but it simple wasn't enough and it was allready too late.
Strangely, Commodore management couldn't see the "writing on the wall" that many Amiga users could see. For example this is shown by the fact that CBM management had even postponed the new AGA-based chipset which was ready in 1991 (in the A3000+) in order to develop the low-cost A4000. At the same time, the A500+ and A600 were introduced which meant no performance upgrade over the A500 whatsoever. It just shows how detached from reality CBM-management really was..
07 Jan 2012 00:44
|Casey Bakker wrote:|
| So how did Commodore waste a 5-year lead over the competition? |
it just didn't scale well.
is it as simple as that ?
mac got 256colour,truecolour chunky modes earlier didn't it (more useful than ham/copper gimmicks for productivity IMO), the game consoles did sprites+tiles better, so in 5 years the amiga gfx hardware went from being revolutionary to 'convoluted'
mac's started getting DSP photoshop accelerators..
I wonder if multiple 68000 machines would have had a chance against 80x86 world
such a shame that ISA was culled.
how easy was it to move applications between Mac -> Amiga -> AtariST ?
did anyone ever write mac emulation (think WINE) for the amiga/st.. thats probably the way round it would have to have been done.
08 Jan 2012 01:23
|Moving applications between Mac/Amiga/ST wasn't really straightforward I guess, since the OS's were so different. Despite all these machines having the same CPU. |
There was a Mac emulator for the Amiga and ST, but it required original Mac ROMS. Funny enough, Mac applications worked faster on Amiga and ST hardware than on the original Mac..
The thing is that all 3 companies were frantically trying to protect their customer base (tied to their own specific hardware) and weren't keen on co-operation at all - let alone licence their OS's.
The Amiga chipset was indeed difficult to evolve further, but not
impossible. Actually the engineers at Commodore built a much more expandable and modular approach in the AAA-chipset -which was cancelled in 1993 BTW.
In a broader perspective, the Amiga was scalable in every possible way. Just look at accellerators with fastRAM and Retargetable Graphics cards. It was a shame that all this advanced hardware -mostly coming from 3rd party vendors- never could become a commodity in the Amiga world because commodore chose not to evolve the A500 and A2000.
Simply replacing the aging 68000 with a faster clocked CPU with some fastRAM in the A500plus for example would allready have made a world of difference.
|Casey R Williams|
09 Jan 2012 20:36
|Yeah, you could have two identical pieces of hardware, but if you had to use a compiler to produce code for two different OSes, it wouldn't really matter how similar the hardware was. It was the games and demos that relied on clever assembly coding and CPU tricks that ported from Amiga>Atari best.|
The Mac emulator you are talking about ran faster because of differences in the CPU (FPU?) libraries, IIRC. Don't think there was any significant gains from hardware differences.
Any mention of later Amigas using upgraded chips should address how C= had no real way to encourage developers, especially in Europe, to take advantage. I once got a hold of Xenophobe to play on my 2000, but it would only run on 500s with no memory expansion. Memory addresses were fixed and so having memory above 512k would make your machine incompatible. By the time I had 060/PPC/chunky graphics, there was almost nothing commercially available that would hit the upper limits of my machine. Developers wrote for the lowest common denominator, and without 1st party development it was up to each developer to figure out how having an FPU or AGA might benefit a particular title.
In recent generations, Nintendo was one of the few console companies to build HW back-compatibility in and (as has always happened) Wii games rarely look better than what was already available for the Gamecube. The hardcore gaming community on the PC is just large enough that significantly newer GPUs see some software support soon after release (note the developers often partnering with chip vendors to include new features in exchange for promotion/inclusion). Even now games are still being written for DX9 (<OpenGL 2.0) level systems if graphical bells&whistles aren't the developers' top priority.
If C= had wanted to do more than simply offer more advanced hardware, they would have had to consider 1st party software development, development subsidies or bounties, software bundling or some other method to actively encourage developers to take risks on the new hardware en masse.
10 Jan 2012 10:36
|Casey R Williams wrote:|
| Developers wrote for the lowest common denominator|
Yes, that's precisely the reason why buying a new Amiga was mostly useless if you already had one. Commodore did not earn anything from an Amiga once it was sold. Since the base configuration remained the same for so long, each Amiga customer meant a lost future customer. However, this person would have been the most likely to buy an upgraded future machine if it had meant any advantage over the older machine. Thus, it is my firm believe that Commodore's main mistake was to not continuously upgrade the minimum CPU and the custom chips (as well as making additional stuff compulsory components like hdds and fastmem). They probably thought they could sell the same piece of hardware for so long because it did work with the C=64. With the Amiga it meant always shrinking margins which ultimately led to bankruptcy.
10 Jan 2012 21:03
|Totally agree: Continuous upgrading would have been technically easy too and the Amiga platform with it's chip/fastRAM split was perfectly suitable for such an upgrade path.|
It wasn't the decreasing margins however that killed C=. CBM was selling the A500 on average at 3x the production cost to the resellers, so there was plenty of headroom. The A500 was even cheaper to produce than the C64-1541drive combo!
I think what killed C= was the huge build-up of inventory once they could't sell those C64's and Amiga's. Imagine having these large production facilities with huge write-offs and plenty workers producing unsellable stuff: it wipes out your balance pretty fast. And that's exactly what continuous upgrading could have prevented!
11 Jan 2012 03:52
|Commodore couldn't compete because Intel, AMD and other PC makers have these big contracts with the government.|
Commodore did not compete speed wise with the chip makers and they really didn't develop a new SID chip to compete with the old chip.
Some of the problems were perception. I would walk into an Amiga store that sold PCs and they would tell me that everyone was buying PCs and I shouldn't waste my time with Amiga. They said there were 10,000 more programs that worked on the PC.
A problem was they kept selling the C-64 with a 40 column screen. They should have upgraded the display so that it wasn't considered a toy. The other problem was the keyboard was not fun for typing and the other problem was Commodore engineers referred to the C-64 as a toy. They also should have upgraded the internal memory on the C-64 instead of selling it with ram expanders. They should have stopped depending on Microsoft for Basic and did more development in house.
I had a 1080 Amiga monitor. They had made lots of monitors that stores stocked but few of them had "s" for stereo. The problem was trying to get a 1080S monitor when they only had 1080D. The other problem was trying to get third party disk drives because stores were having a shortage.
Commodore didn't do anything or enough of anything to get it into schools. People bought Apple because their students only knew Apple II from school.
The problem was competition. Commodore lost Jack Tramiel and he had enough power to restart Atari so Jack could have saved Amiga with all of that power and Amiga would have been better off without the competition from Atari.
I think the problem was gouging customers and not giving them enough computer. The C-16 should have had more memory and not less and they were fighting a competitor which didn't exist nor did Commodore have the will to fight.
So you're going to have these posts on bulletin board for years to come. The point is that users shouldn't live in the past but invest in developing technologies like the Minimig and Natami.
There are microcontrollers like the beaglebone and gameduino which could easily be developed into a computer. The Maximite is a computer that exists and it runs on a Microchip pic.
The point is you can take old school Commodore values and put them into new technology and develop new computers. Are you willing?
11 Jan 2012 07:46
|We are and others too. I think we are seeing the beginnings of something beautiful.|
11 Jan 2012 12:02
|Casey Bakker wrote:|
| The A500 was even cheaper to produce than the C64-1541drive combo!|
Don't tell me that. I was too poor to get good hardware. My first own computer was a C=16 with datasette when it was sold off at Aldi for 149 DM. That was 1986 and everybody around me had C=64s with 1541s. When everybody got A500s in 1989, I eventually had saved enough to get a C=64. Again with datasette. Thinking that it was more expensive to produce than an A500 seems a crazy thought.
I only got an Amiga when the A600 was sold off for 299 DM (which was half the price of the C=64/datasette combo four or five years earlier). The only computer-related thing my parents ever got me was a monitor to stop me from occupying the (black-and-white) family TV. When I eventually earned some money myself (and my A600 died on me), I got a used A1200 and everything you could stuff in it at the time: 50 MHz 68030, 50 MHz 68882, 8 MB fastmem, HD floppy, 330 MB 2.5" hdd. It cost me 2100 DM altogether. Now THAT was some piece of hardware! A very short time after that Commodore went belly-up...
11 Jan 2012 20:42
|Jakob Eriksson wrote:|
We are and others too. I think we are seeing the beginnings of something beautiful.
What I like about the Natami is that - if you look at the spec sheet - it reads very much like the AAA-chipset + Hombre and maybe some Xbox all in one package. But whereas Hombre was not designed to be compatible with preceeding Amiga's, with Natami I get all this under the desktop of may favourite OS.
12 Jan 2012 18:37
|Hombre was really designed to be an RTG board for existing amigas. I don't understand why everyone acts like they were going to kill it off.|
12 Jan 2012 21:13
|I would have taken the gamble and released the Amiga 1200 AGA with the follwing spec of 16mb ram, 80mb hard drive with a 68040 40mhz & fpu. |
Amiga games like Street Fighter 2 Turbo - would have been arcade perfect conversions, maybe we would have seen the first Alien Breed 3D in proper 1x1 pixel mode - I still remember seeing a few screen shots in CU Amiga Magazine January 1996. A gamble maybe with a base unit between £600 to £800 pounds - but keeping in mind the Pc Market was already beyond over £1000 when the A1200 was released - if only commodore had invested more money into memory and processing power the home computer market would have been very different!
13 Jan 2012 09:06
|Well, folks, most of the posts here go simply "I would have released more expensive hardware earlier". Sorry to say that this wouldn't have worked. The Amiga user base had never much money available, and delivering cheap affordable hardware was a necessary part of the CBM survival strategy. So it's not just as easy as creating better machines. CBM failed to address the needs and markets of those customers that had the money available to buy better hardware, and they lost the opportunity to address the multimedia market by overestimating the capabilities of the machine when it was already too late. |
It seems to me that they followed a "minimal investment" strategy by releasing only small, cheap expansions of the machines they had, and lost track with the much faster going PC market. Part of this problem was an "image problem" that the Amiga was a "games machine" and not suitable for "professional business". Neither of this was exactly true, but it was how it was received.
13 Jan 2012 10:26
|Thomas Richter wrote:|
| The Amiga user base had never much money available, and delivering cheap affordable hardware was a necessary part of the CBM survival strategy.|
I disagree. When the A500 came out, every rich kid got one. And all of them got a PC for three or four times the price of the A500 four years later. Ironically, the higher price was what made parents believe that the PC was a serious thing while the Amiga was only a toy. My personal CEO-strategy pinned out above not only relied on making more powerful hardware earlier, it was also based on keeping the desktop line competitive in comparison to PCs by making them more powerful than the keyboard models and by producing quality office software inhouse. This would have avoided the "Amiga = toy" perception.
|Thomas Richter wrote:|
| It seems to me that they followed a "minimal investment" strategy by releasing only small, cheap expansions of the machines they had, and lost track with the much faster going PC market.|
So now you are saying the same thing? No upgrades to the hardware in a long time? :)
13 Jan 2012 12:38
|Nixus Minimax wrote:|
I disagree. When the A500 came out, every rich kid got one. And all of them got a PC for three or four times the price of the A500 four years later.
This. So true.
13 Jan 2012 14:10
|I can agree with this theory so far, since I bought my first PC (Pentium 100) for 5000-Mark in 1995, mostly to play especially Wing Commander on it. |
That may be a case by case, but at that time with my A4000 the feasible was reached in Amiga terms.
In retrospect, my later investments in PPC & Co. does not paid off, because the extension was too late/expensive and thus too little spread.
13 Jan 2012 16:43
|But the misspent PPC money is not against this theory, because presumably Commodore should have come up with some kind of expansion or better model which was worth the money.|
13 Jan 2012 20:50
Yeah sure, i was only disappointed by the then Development and the hesitant attitude of the Commodore management and development department.