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| Amiga Inc.: New Executive Update from 23rd June 2002|
A Message to the Community
Bill McEwen - June 23, 2002
A message to the Amiga Community, Present Past and Future:
I would first like to thank all of you who expressed your concern and shared your support for Gary Peake and his family when you learned of his heart attack. I can now share with you that Gary is looking forward to returning to work in the next couple of weeks. He, of course, was trying to send e-mail from the hospital (at one point, he thought that the beeping of a heart monitor was the logon sounds of a modem), but fortunately with his hands and legs restrained, as well as some very effective tranquilizers, they were able to keep him from the computer. Having said that, I wanted to personally thank each of you on behalf of Gary and his family for your kind words and support.
This is an amazing time for Amiga, and the Community. You have all been patient, more than understanding, and have dealt with more misinformation, disinformation and rumors than any one group of people should, ever. Yet, and happily, we are moving forward and gaining momentum. Admittedly, we have not been very public about many of our plans and activities, to date, but they are many and we are pleased to be bringing this news to you, The Community, as well.
One request: If you find this information as positive as we do, share it with someone. Call or e-mail your friends, Amigans who are interested but might not be following the news as closely as you and let them know that change is in the wind: that new, interesting, and most importantly: REAL opportunities will soon be here for all of us in the Amiga Community.
We all see and hear hype everyday. We know it well, sometimes quite instinctively. What you are to read is not hype. These are true and sustainable facts. Reality. The real skinny. We could not sustain and maintain the hard work and dedication of the members of the Amiga Family, those people whom are working so hard to bring you real products, if there were not real opportunities for us to make a real difference and a real change for the better.
Did you notice the incessant use of the word "Real"? Good. Because what this Update is telling you is real.
Quite frankly, I enjoy the almost daily updates showing where you can find Amigas today at work and play. I find it so exciting, and yes, rewarding, to learn how some are using Amithlon to bring Amigas back into usage, in places where they have not been in some time. I see new sales, a new sense of opportunity and a new spirit emerging. A spirit that challenges conventional thought and challenges us at Amiga everyday. We are here because of you. Your desire for new Amiga products, your desire that this platform, this valid, vital and pioneering computing concept should not be swept aside has fueled our desire to succeed and grow. We have survived when so many others have failed, because of you, The Amiga Community and the way you have challenged us to "deliver the goods". Because of that challenge, we owe these exciting opportunities, this "Delivering The Future" to you.
Now, let's roll up our sleeves and get started. We have a lot of news to share with you:
Amiga Party Pack purchasers? This is for you!
Each of you received your Party Pack and in the very near future you will be able to use the discounts that are associated with your Party Pack purchase. Each of you will receive an e-mail explaining your options, and the process is simple:
1. You may purchase the products directly from Amiga at the discounted price and the products will be shipped to your door.
2. Once you have purchased either the AmigaOne with OS 4.0, or if you purchase just OS 4.0, send us a copy of the receipt along with the front page of your SDK manual and Amiga will send you back a check for $100.00!
3. Let us know the retailer that you will be using and we will get them the $100.00 so you do not need to worry about it.
Not a bad deal at all. Each of you have had the chance to work with AmigaDE and many of you have become developers of Amiga Anywhere content, because of the party pack. Now soon you will be able to get $100.00 back when you purchase a new AmigaOne system. AmigaOne and Amiga OS 4.0 ? Update
We were more than impressed with the response to the AmigaOS 4.0 screen shots and the live demonstration of the AmigaOne boards. We sometimes have trouble understanding how so many people, people interested in the Amiga platform and the progress we are making in bringing it back to market can stay hidden for so long. However, the facts are that we must make certain production decisions based on projected product sales volumes, and how quickly we can receive a return on investment. That's Business 101. So, one of the challenges for us is we decide on a number of units to build and then we see, from web hits and direct inquiries, that there are 5 times as many people who are interested in the AmigaOne than we knew were out there. You can file that under "Beyond Our Expectations".
AmigaOS 4.0 is going to include many of the features that were originally planned for later versions of the desktop AmigaOS. With the need to rewrite certain portions of the code, the Hyperion team has decided to go ahead and fold in a great many more of the features that they were planned for OS 4.1 and OS 4.2 into OS 4.0. Ben Hermans and the team have been doing a great job of keeping us up to date with screen shots, updated product features and current development roadmaps. I know that we will have more updates, regarding real development and feature details from Ben and Hyperion very soon, and trust me when I say that we are chomping at the bit to share these details with The Community. Right now, according to our last conference call with the AmigaOS 4.0 team, at Hyperion, we can see the exceptional progress and the feature set that is being included with this release is fantastic. This has been driven by you the Amiga community, and I know that you will all be very happy.
AmigaOne boards are in the hands of the AmigaOne developers and the integration work is moving ahead quickly, but with the full realization that rushing the release to the public will afford no one any real benefits. Alan and his team at Eyetech has done a great job of "keeping their eyes on the prize". We are really pleased that the hardware is out there, and that the Amiga community is going to have the first new hardware designed for them, with their own operating system, in a long, long time.
These are real Amiga products from Amiga and their associated partner companies. Yes, it has taken longer than any of us had predicted. We too have shared your anticipation and yes, impatience, but some things can only be done one way: The Right Way. Having said that, we know that with the results that we are seeing, I believe that you will share this with your friends and other members of the Amiga family with us.
The Amiga Community will soon have a brand new platform. You will soon begin working with the most sophisticated Amiga Operating System yet developed. There is great care and attention being paid to Getting It Right, with the features and benefits that you have told us that you, The Community, want in a new Amiga. However there is a considerable challenge that goes along with all of these activities and we are going to need your help in helping us make a determination regarding certain business decisions that will be made quite clear further on in this update.
Amiga Anywhere/AmigaDE ? Why are there two?
There needs to be some clarification of these two products: Amiga Anywhere is a subset of the complete AmigaDE. In speaking with customers and potential partners we learned that they were looking for the content, and not the complete DE for their environments. The idea was to have as minimal a build as possible for these devices. So Amiga created the Amiga Anywhere Content Engine. This is a series of lightweight products that offer the binary portable attributes of the complete DE, while delivering the features and products in a much smaller form factor. Development is continuing at a rapid pace with these products and we currently offer an Amiga Anywhere Content Engine for PocketPC, and Pocket PC Phone edition devices, and shortly for Smartphone, Embedded Linux, and Symbian devices. This will allow AACE content to run on all of these various products and devices opening up even wider audience to which we can introduce Amiga.
Development is moving ahead quite well on both the complete DE and AACE, and you will see some new partner announcements in the very near future. These are customers who are going to deploy AACE and the associated content in a variety of interesting products.
There is presently one other question about the current Amiga Entertainment Pack for Pocket PC devices, and why there is limited content for it. This is because we were creating a game console type of experience with this first release, and that it was designed to be closed. The idea was to pop the card into the device and begin playing a game, without taking the resources from the relatively limited memory in the device.
There will be an exciting promotion/contest that we will be announcing later in the week with regards to AACE and the Entertainment Packs. We assure you, this will be a great deal of fun, and we look forward to introducing Amiga to several new customers who are currently using PocketPC and PocketPC Phone Edition devices.
Amithlon Update ? Yes there is an update! (Cue Trumpets!)
We are very pleased to announce that we have entered into contracts, and yes they are signed, with Bernd Meyer, regarding Amithlon. In fact we have been testing a new version in-house for several weeks now, and this is a great product. As you may remember I was the first person to show Amithlon to the public, at the AmiWest 2001 Show, and the reaction was simply amazing from the people there. Since then, we are seeing deployment of Amithlon in many new places where Amiga’s once roamed and seeing new life for Amiga, with Amithlon. Please know that we have been working with Bernd for several months so far, and we see Amithlon as a great product with a long, robust future for both Amiga and Bernd. You can see the press release here.
The Challenge and the Opportunity!
Now before the naysayers out there begin complaining about this and start making rude noises, I want to explain the very real situation before us: Let it be known now that Amiga does not make money on the following. In fact we will lose money, just as we did on the party packs. However it allowed us to show to our board and our investors that we should pursue building a new Amiga computer. Now we are at that same crossroads again, but in a way that is more complex.
How many AmigaOne's do we build and order?
We need to properly plan, budget, and order for the production of the AmigaOne. To do that, we need to get a good idea of how many units we need to order, build and prepare to support etc. You get the idea.
There are those who tell us to plan for 2,500 to 3,500 units. However over 50,000 people downloaded the OS 4.0 screenshots. These were not 50,000 hits, these were 50,000 different people. Then you have others who tell me that we are looking at 10,000 units to prepare for. This is great because there are certain economies of scale, economies that benefit everyone, that come into play at 10,000 units. You have all seen how chip prices work: once you are able to order 10,000 of the chip prices you are able to receive better pricing, and then, prices start coming down. Everybody benefits.
Then we find that there are currently over 30,000 subscribers to Amiga related magazines. Add to this the fact that we know that there are thousands out there who are quietly watching and waiting to learn more about the release of the AmigaOne before they respond. Then this last week we learned that there was a very large electronics chain in Europe who is interested in carrying the line again if there is enough interest for these new products.
So as you can see, this is a real issue before us:
We do not want to come up short on supply for you, the customers, and yet it is growing quite difficult to judge how many AmigaOnes we should build. You can tell, as we do, that there is a big gap between the numbers and we want to make sure that we have the products ready when you want them, in sufficient numbers, as you should not have to wait. We also do not want to go into a situation of oversupply, either. We thought about putting up a survey, but then we know that there are some who will try and maliciously effect the results and that could, and most likely would, cause us a whole new subset of problems relating to the release of the AmigaOne/AmigaOS 4.0.
Therefore, we have decided to have some fun with this survey and we sincerely think that we have developed a way for everyone to participate and will give us some real numbers and an ability to better budget and track the real intentions of the community.
So with no small amount of fanfare, here is what we are going to do:
The AmigaOne/AmigaOS 4.0 "Free Stuff" Early Promotion (catchy isn't it):
Here is how it works:
Customers who are interested in purchasing an AmigaOne/AmigaOS 4.0 pre-loaded will be able to purchase a $50.00 off coupon for $50.00! This way we have a very strong idea regarding how many boards we need to produce.
Not enough you say! Okay, how about this: For every $50.00 discount coupon you will receive a free shirt announcing to everyone that you are part of the future. So for $50.00 you get a $50.00 off coupon and a free shirt.
Still not enough? Okay how about this: When we reach 2,500 orders we will have a random drawing for 4 free AmigaOne/AmigaOS 4.0 systems.
I think that there is more of you out there than that so if we reach 5,000 orders we will give away 10 AmigaOne/AmigaOS 4.0 systems. That's riiiiight. 10 people who order their discount coupon and get the shirt will get an entire Amiga One/AmigaOS 4.0 system for... Free. That's Free. As in Free. No Cost. A former price, dead on the bottom of its cage. Or something like that.
There are some optimists in the office that believe that there are 10,000 people who are looking to own the first new Amiga system in more years than we can count, so if we have 10,000 orders we will give away 20 AmigaOne/AmigaOS 4.0 systems and 5 Amiga-enabled cell phones!
One last level: If we reach 25,000 orders Amiga will give away 50 Amiga systems, 15 Amiga Cell Phones, and a trip for 2 to either Hawaii or Florida.
OK one more - hit 50,000 orders Amiga will give away 100 systems, 100 Amiga Enabled Cell Phones 3 trips for 2 to either Hawaii or Florida.
Over 50,000 and I will come up with something even better, because at this level we can show the world what you have been telling us for some time, that Amiga is a sleeping giant ready to awaken and take it rightful place - being in the lead.
The Cell phones, and the Amiga systems will be shipped as soon as they are available.
If you do not win in the drawing, you simply take your coupon and wear your shirt into your local Amiga reseller, and you will receive $50.00 off when you purchase your new system. (Amiga resellers: we will be sending you the details on how all of this fun and free stuff is going to work).
Now since we need to be placing the orders in the not-too-distant future, this promotion will run from today until July 7th, with the winners being announced at AmiWest in Sacramento.
Click here to get in on the AmigaOne,/AmigaOS 4.0 "Free Stuff" Early Promotion.
So while I know that there are some people who will make rude noises and fabricate all kinds of specious claims and others will try and use this as a method to attempt driving the community apart even more, I hope that the rest of you, the majority of you, can see where, with this news and this promotion, we can go together. Developers are going to be watching also to see if this is a system that they wish to continue developing for, and others who have left are going to be watching to see if they want to return to development on the Amiga platform. So the stakes are real. But we can face them together and succeed.
AmigaOne and OS 4.0 are the beginning to a new future, and it is real.
To all of you who are thinking of attending AmiWest 2002, in Sacramento CA, please come and join in with all of us who will be attending, as I will be there and it is going to be great fun learning who in the audience may be a winner. It is also one of my real rewards of my job to meet you, the members of The Amiga Community. You also never know what I am going to announce and we could have some real surprises.
Or I just may hang around for the food. :-D
It is time to start having some fun!
Amiga. Isn't it great? (ps)
[News message: 24. Jun. 2002, 11:22] [Comments: 12 - 02. Jul. 2002, 08:15]
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