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|| Interview with Thendic France and Petro Tyschtschenko|
We made a very extensive interview with Thendic France (Raquel Valesco and Bill Buck) and Power Trading (Petro Tyschtschenko).
Interview with Bill Buck, Raquel Velasco and Petro Tyschtschenko
made by Petra Struck - 17.04.2002 (Deutsche Übersetzung)
amiga-news.de: In Comments on ANN both of you gave some facts and details. Petro stated that Bill and Raquel fought very hard for VisCorp (his employer those times) to buy AMIGA in the times of Escom bankruptcy. Petro said he believes bPlan are capable of managing the future. Bill stated that Thendic-France contracted bPlan to do some development work. Specifically, to develope the eclipsis. Bill, you said also your company worked very closely with Petro in 1995 and 1996. What did that mean exactly?
Thendic France: We did. Raquel and I paid the salaries and social/tax of the Amiga Inc. personnel from June 1996 through November 1996 ourselves, personally (so we had some "bucks" too...). It was the arrangement we made with Mr. Hembach, the Escom Bankruptcy Trustee, for the benefit of VisCorp and was the only way to keep Amiga alive. Our VisCorp Board agreed initially, but they did not support the effort as the details of the Escom bankruptcy became more public. It became very complicated and ultimately VisCorp cared more about its short term share price and completely abandoned the entire set-top box strategy. We were never reimbursed these funds, although we did win a legal settlement against VisCorp later (the legal issues at the time prevented us from coming public with the details). Petro worked with us and we worked hard together to sell the Amiga inventory (which reduced the transaction cost, but could not be used to pay personnel costs). In the end the VisCorp board decided not to complete the transaction and we resigned. Petro went on to Gateway; VisCorp died eventually.
We are sure that Petro will admit that without our money at the time both he personally, and Amiga itself as a complete package (the intellectual property and the significant inventory of A1200s and components), would have had a very hard time surviving. Mr. Hembach, the bankruptcy trustee, wanted to sell everything any way he could. He would have split the intellectual property into pieces and this would have made future success for Amiga impossible. Petro gets the credit for convincing Mr. Hembach to keep the package together. Helmut Jost also deserves some credit too as he was the last CEO of Escom and was retained by Mr. Hembach to assist him, while Petro kept the sales channels open and "Amiga" alive. Perhaps, it is finally time for that information to be better known.
Petro Tyschtschenko: Yes, that were wild times.. Raquel and Bill have been a big chance to keep our Amiga alive. The worst case that could have happend was that Mr. Hembach sold the remaining Amiga inventory as bankrupt´s estate. Thank god that I could prevent him from doing that... Initially we, which means Axel Krämer, Andreas Steep and I, worked without beeing paid and without a future. Bill Buck and Raquel Valesco were together with our beloved Amiga a big hope for the future... And when Bill Buck and Raquel paid our wages, all had been nearly right with the world again... Sadly VisCorp didn´t made it at least. One day at least and as rescuer there came Gateway along who took us over. If VisCorp had listened to Raquel Valesco and Bill Buck they were not run into bankrupty and the computer industry today would not be imaginable without Amiga in my opinion.
amiga-news.de: Bill, in your comment you claimed that Almathera Systems Ltd. closed under shady circumstances. Please explain that.
Thendic France: This we did not say. We said that their decision as we understood it at the time was to close the business because the Amiga market had become too small. The market was not big enough to support their operation and they made a business decision to close the company.
amiga-news.de: Bill: You made public a Fleecy Moss email to you. IMHO this is not a professional way to act. What motivated you to do this?
Thendic France: I did not do this. Fleecy and I traded emails about this afterwards and have cleared this up between us. In Fleecy's words it was "a regrettable incident." We agree.
amiga-news.de: Bill Buck (Thendic France), how long have you been working with Petro Tyschtschenko (Power Trading)?
Thendic France: Raquel and I first worked directly with Petro in 1995 when VisCorp began to negotiate a license agreement with Escom. VisCorp paid and Escom received $650,000 in prepaid royalties when the license agreement was signed. However, I first met Petro at the CBM bankruptcy. Manfred Schmidt, the founder and CEO of Escom, and I sat together at the bankruptcy auction. Escom and VisCorp were partners. Escom would have been a 7% shareholder of VisCorp if they had not gone into bankruptcy and would have been the European distributors of the ED. It was a good plan. Just look how many companies and people tried to do the same thing later! Unfortunately with time, Microsoft caught on, bought WebTV for hundreds of millions of dollars and pushed it into the market. The AmigaOS on a set-top box would have dominated WebTV. Remember, Paul Allan was one of our VisCorp shareholders. Who knows what an Internet XBOX might have been today or better, before!...:) Amiga developers would have had access to a huge market!
amiga-news.de: Bill, when was it that you got the idea to work together with bPlan?
Thendic France: We have always admired their engineering and had discussions with them in 1996, but more recently in 2000 we contacted Gerald just after the Amiga show in Cologne. We have come to respect him very much. Ralph and Thomas are also excellent technicians and engineers. Each one of them has unique strengths. We are proud to be working with them. We like them.
amiga-news.de: Tell us about your cooperation with bPlan in detail?
amiga-news.de: For what kind of device eclipsis is designed (Subnotebook or PDA) and what cpu will be used?
Thendic France: This has been published and is online at our Eclipsis-site. You will further notice that the newest versions of the Gx family of processors are also oriented to the low power requirements demanded by the mobile market. This is a growth market and this is a new market. Of course, the eclipsis could be configured in a laptop too. We do plan for an eclipsis base station, so together the package can be placed into a laptop. Laptop sales are stronger than desktop sales in today's world.
amiga-news.de: Which kind of applications will eclipsis offer?
Thendic France: Everything! Of course, that also becomes a problem because you have to explain to the consumer what the eclipsis is in a very simple way. This will be the challenge. Here is the basic message: we want to give people the opportunity to do what they do today already in a better way, more conveniently, with more fun, and anywhere. That is it.
amiga-news.de: How are the measures of eclipsis?
Thendic France: As small as small can be!...:)
amiga-news.de: What do you aim at, where do you see your big chance for success?
Thendic France: Long term, the handheld mobile market. This is a growth market. Mobility is the key. Communication and entertainment are the focus. But, in the meanwhile we will sell all our products. We operate a number of growing and profitable businesses.
Having said that, anyone can buy a Pegasos and do whatever they want with it.
amiga-news.de: Bill, how long have Rakesh and Sharwin Raghoebardayal, better known as Coyote Flux been on board?
Thendic France: We started working with them in December 2000.
amiga-news.de: Did Coyote Flux relocate to Paris to assist with the bPlan products?
Thendic France: Primarily yes, but they have also developed other products including the JMiner professional photogrammetry software and the i-Cam and Tri-Cam viewing software which has created a good deal of interest. The i-Cam and the Tri-Cam (a version of the ComCam) are great products and run on a PowerPC too.
We are building the ComCams for our distribution areas at the Cobra Electronic GmbH facility in Ingolstadt, Germany. They also make the Tri-Cam. Sharwin and Rakesh have been a big help there working with the Cobra engineers to make sure that our ComCams are perfect.
By the way, the CEO of ComCam is Don Gilbreath, the old VisCorp CTO and a former CBM CD32 Project Manager. The ComCam has a big future and we are pleased to be working with Don again. Carolyn Scheppner is also at ComCam. Carolyn did some coding for VisCorp, but is more known for her work on the CATS project at CBM. Thendic-France is the exclusive distributor of ComCam products in Europe, the former Soviet Republics, and India (where Petro should be announcing a big successful project soon!). We are also the exclusive worldwide ComCam distributor for the aviation industry. There are already some ComCams in very interesting places....:)
amiga-news.de: What specifically are the job titles and duties of Rakesh and Sharwin?
Thendic France: We are really not much on titles. In simple terms, Rakesh is looking for the best applications for the devices, debugging, and testing. Rakesh is a creative person and has also been doing considerable research on the intellectual property/copyright issues related to P2P communications and file sharing on the internet. Sharwin is writing code and making the code work so that the products do what we want them to do. Together they are doing plenty of things to assist the company in generating revenues and successfully implementing a variety of tasks to support our clients. They are both quite hard-working and talented. We appreciate them very much -- although we did tell Sharwin to leave the hat in Holland (http://www.coyoteflux.tmfweb.nl/, then click on "Contact" ...:)
amiga-news.de: For what reason do you consider the Pegasos board to be a good solution?
Thendic France: It runs very fast. It is scalable. It is upgradeable. The Pegasos gives us something upon which we can build a great future. We are really looking forward to receiving the G4e samples from Motorola.
From an engineering perspective, the best indication of the general engineering quality of the Pegasos package in total would be best be summed up by a former Engineering VP from Siemens who told us, "It is the best third-party hardware, software and documentation package I have ever seen in 30 years."
amiga-news.de: Rumours about the legal status of MorphOS are coming up over and over again. Some people (e.g. Ben Hermans of Hyperion, Fleecy Moss of Amiga Inc. and possibly Bill McEwen of Amiga Inc., too) don't think MorphOS could be legally sold due to their belief that intellectual property of Amiga Inc. would be part of it. If you decide to not to cooperate with Amiga Inc. (either because you cannot or do not want to or because Amiga Inc. cannot or don not want to), would you be willing to bring the Pegasos with MorphOS to the market anyway?
Thendic France: We will release and promote the products whether there is cooperation with Amiga Inc. or not. They have chosen their principal direction with AmigaDE. Great. We have tried to work with them, but we want to do what we want to do -- not what they want to force us to do. It would be wonderful if we could work together, but this is not a precondition for us to move ahead. We would like to cooperate with Amiga. We (Thendic-Germany) were the first organization to achieve an Amiga DE license (our lawyers wrote the license agreement) and we would have been happy to extend our current license --and pre-pay royalties -- but we unfortunately cannot get them to see things our way. Amiga belongs to them so that is their call. We are going ahead anyway.
amiga-news.de: How do you personally assess the legal status of MorphOS?
Thendic France: Well, we have been investigating the legal issues for a couple of months now and have someone specifically preparing the files for Europe. As we all know, legal "issues" are decided ultimately in their proper jurisdiction -- which is not on the internet. We think that there are no legal challanges and that there will certainly not be any legal challenges once we have a finished product. If however, anyone is of a contrary opinion, we will be prepared and can handle the financial commitments necessary manage a legal process. As the issues become more apparent, we do not think there will be any serious difficulties and all these "rumors" will become mute.
If I was Amiga, I would not allow anyone with a legitimate association to Amiga Inc. to publicly discuss these specific issues online. Bill or Fleecy should do it if it is thought to be necessary. Anyone else is corrupting the process for them. We know exactly what they think now and how misinformed they are. This will not help them if the situation becomes worse. It really is a shame. Bill and Fleecy deserve alot more success for what they managed to do initially than they have been able to develop since then. These "rumors" do not help them and in reality separate them from precisely some of the people they should want to attract.
amiga-news.de: Bill, does Thendic-France have something to do with Thendic.de?
Thendic France: Yes, it is owned by the same shareholders although in different proportions (see Pretory about page). Raquel is the Pretory Chairman of Board and is the largest single shareholder. I should mention that Helmut Jost has been a shareholder of Pretory since 1997 and has recently become the key manager at Thendic-Germany. In 1996, Helmut was brought into Escom by the banks after Manfred Schmidt was removed. Helmut was also the General Manager of Commodore Germany when Commodore Germany was responsible alone for over $500 million in annual CBM revenue in the early 90's. Helmut's claim to fame there was his idea to put Amigas on sale in supermarkets. CBM was the best selling computer in Germany and Helmut had alot to do with it (Petro too!). He also ran European PC Sales for IBM and later Fujitsu. We think he will be a big help at making the Pegasos successful and has already put a couple of excellent ideas into play. Helmut introduced us to Thendic in late 1999.
amiga-news.de: What happened to the announced SmartBoy?
Thendic France: This was addressed in the post on the Thendic-France website and can now be reviewed on amiga-news.de. The bottom line: we could not compete on a cost of acquisition/price to market basis for components with the big players in the ARM and CE environment. We have kept the information on the Thendic-Germany website in case someone wants to purchase the development...:)
One more important thing...
I would like to also mention that Dr. Allan Havemose is also part of our team. Allan, who just became a proud father for the first time (14 April 2002), was the Software Engineering Director at CBM with responsibility for the Amiga operating systems OS 2.1, OS 3.0 and OS 3.1 on the A1200, A3000, A4000, AmigaCD, and various other platforms. As you know, Allan was more recently involved with Gateway's effort to resurrect the Amiga. Allan is developing the Java Virtual Machine for the Pegasos/eclipsis and will work also on the Linux side of our efforts. He brings professional product development and product management to our team.
amiga-news.de: Petro, what is your motivation to still busy yourself with the Amiga?
Petro Tyschtschenko: The idea and the vision of Amiga still keeps attractive to me until today. Personally is what Jay Miner developed in 1980 still the ideal answer to the challenge "computer development". Since October 1982 I spent constantly my whole working potential for this idea. How many times my family had to suffer about it? Unfortunately the responsible management didn´t saw things again and again, which destroyed the chances for the future at least. My hints and advices were not heard most times... My impetus still is my convinction that the Amiga vision will become true...
amiga-news.de: Petro, you often talked about your book, "Amiga - Mein Leben." Are you working on it?
Petro Tyschtschenko: The Amiga story is such a interesting one from the mature of that today´s world of computers. I want to conserve and transmit my knowledge from this time to all those interested in computers. "Amiga - my life" is under work. Here a little extract: "In summer 1982 at 7:30 pm in the evening I signed with Harald Speyer, the Vice President Europe those days, my contract of employment." That has been the start.
amiga-news.de: Bill, anything else?
Thendic France: Thank you for the opportunity to share this with "the community." We have a good team of people and products and we will draw from the resources of all the companies to make the Pegasos and the eclipsis successful. We hope everyone will understand this better now!
amiga-news.de: We thank you very much for your plainness and we wish you great success.
182 rue des Pyrénées
F - 75020 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 43 66 28 00
Fax : +33 (0)1 43 66 28 55
Power Trading GmbH
D - 63225 Langen
Tel. +49 (0) 6103 58785
Fax +49 (0) 6103 587888
D - 60439 Frankfurt am Main
[News message: 18. Apr. 2002, 21:13] [Comments: 0]
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