04.25.07

Amiga – Synonymous with gross mismanagement and incompetent marketting

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:46 pm by blog

So the Amiga was a great platform, technologically superior to anything anywhere close to it’s price range. Unfortunately, Commodore managed to screw it all up and go bust.

Nowadays, the Amiga OS is owned by a company called “Amiga International” who have contracted out development of the OS to another company called “Hyperion”. Now, AmigaOS version 4 is now available, and it promises to be a great OS.

However, in true Amiga style, the companies involved are screwing everything up.

Firstly, AmigaOS only runs on PowerPC. Now this in itself is not a bad thing, all the major games consoles run PowerPC chips, and used macs are plentiful and cheap on ebay, and AmigaOS itself is lightweight enough to run at a usable speed on an older mac that wouldn’t be capable of running the latest MacOS.

Only, the companies behind AmigaOS have placed artificial restrictions in place. You can’t just install AmigaOS on any old PowerPC hardware, you have to buy custom built PowerPC hardware with proprietary firmware. Only, there is no such hardware currently on the market! Apparently some such hardware has recently been announced. There are no formal specs, nor are there any firm prices. In short, this hardware is vapourware and may never actually be sold.

These ridiculous restrictions are supposedly to stop piracy. But all it will really do, is ensure that AmigaOS never gains any new users. Only the few remaining die-hard Amiga users will buy custom hardware in order to try AmigaOS 4. People who might otherwise have tried it out on a spare mac, or under an emulator like PearPC simply won’t bother.

As for piracy, a small platform _NEEDS_ piracy. The original Amiga achieved much of it’s success because of how easy it was to pirate the games. Microsoft achieved their current market position largely through pirate installs hugely increasing their market share. Just think where Microsoft would be in countries like China or Russia where virtually all software is pirated. Very few people in these countries would buy windows if they couldn’t pirate it. They would be using one of the freely available alternatives like Linux or FreeBSD, or have developed their own local software.

With more users, whether those users have paid for, or pirated the OS, comes greater interest. A percentage of these users will develop additional software for the OS, and advocate or demonstrate the OS to their friends. Conversely, if the only people using AmigaOS 4 are the die hard Amiga users who have been advocating Amiga for years, what good will it do?

Many people would want to try out AmigaOS on hardware they already have, or can obtain cheaply. But very few people will be willing to buy a complete hardware/software package for an unproven OS that’s tied to overpriced outdated proprietary hardware, with few applications, and a small user base on blind faith alone (ie, having never used the OS themselves at a friends place etc).

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