May 1995 MAGazine Volume 11 November 5

The March General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, May 13, from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis.

The newsletter is published monthly for distribution to the members of Memphis Amiga Group. MAGzine contains meeting announcements, hardware and software reviews, video and book reviews and other information of interest to Amiga and computer users in general. Contributions are welcome and may be submitted in hardware or via disk in ASCII format at any meeting or you can upload to Operator Headgap BBS - (901) 759-1542 V.32bis hi speed operating CNET PRO c3.05c software. Be sure to leave to note to the sysop.

From the President's CLI

by Scott Pitts

Last month, we ran into the same conflict with the Farris auditorium where we usually hold our meetings. Fortunately the conflict did not prevent the meeting from being held in the John L Thorton Building room 104. This month we are back in the Farris auditorium. State tech is also asking that we pay for the use of their facilities. The fees are $240.00 per 6 months, which is $10.00 less than previously reported amount. The letter has been written to State Tech requesting the use of Farris auditorium at no charge. These issues will be a topic at the business meeting at Gridley's and the regular meeting at State Tech.

We are going to start a series of meetings on networking and internet. We are going to go over Envoy, TCP/IP, and the World Wide Webb on internet. I feel that this may add to the Amiga in a PC type world. We may go into putting an Amiga on a Novell Network if you want to know how and what software/hardware you will need.

I would like to invite everybody to Gridley's at 11:00am for lunch and our business meeting. The food is purchased in the Deli area and carried to the dining area for our meeting. Hope to see you there.

MINUTES

I am attempting to create a library of all back issues of MAGzine. I seem to be missing a few issues. If any one has one of the missing issues that that would donate, or allow to be to be copied, I would be very grateful. The missing issues are as follows:

1985 - Volume 1
All Issues Missing

1986 - Volume 2
No. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12

1987 - Volume 3
No. 8, 12

1990 - Volume 6
No. 8, 9

1993 - Volume 9
No. 1

1994 - Volume 10
No. 10, 12

Thanks for the help locating the missing issues.

Keith Burns, Secretary

The Board Meeting was held at Gridleys, and started at approximately 11:30. There were two topics of interest that were discussed. First, was the current new on the Commodore situation. The latest info about Commodore is that the legal teams from the U.S. and the Bahamas have agreed on a course of action, and that proceedings should commence soon. It seems there has been quite a bit of problems involving who has jurisdiction in this case. They have agreed to joint jurisdiction, and the "outcome" is pending shortly. I have heard them many times before, and I am personally not sure if I believe it. I guess we will see. The second item was of much greater significance. The location of the MAG meeting place. State Tech wants to charge all users for use of their facilities. I am attempting to get an exemption on these charges based on the fact that we are a Non-Profit organization, and hope to have news by the up coming meeting.

The Group Meeting started a little earlier than normal. A demo of AmiBack 2.0 and several tape drives was presented. Additionally, future topics on networking, and the internet was discussed. We are planning the next few meetings on these topics.

Keith Burns, Secretary

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds general meetings the second Saturday of each month in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis (see map at left).

There will be a board of directors lunch meeting at Gridley's BarBQ beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, May 13 (before the general meeting). For more information call Scott Pitts at (901) 854-1987.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1995

President
Scott Pitts
(901) 854-1987

Vice President
Steve Echols
(901) 756-9261

Secretary
Keith Burns
(901) 756-8514

Treasurer
Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Librarian
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editior
Paul Stokes
(901) 867-8417

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Disk Sales & Video Rentals

MAG library and Fred FISH disk are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
Rental of Amiga related videotapes is $3 per week.
(not available to non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003
OR see Bill at the next MAG general meeting.

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page (or business card) $3.00

(contact Terry Campbell at 601-393-4864)

INFO

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encourageing the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer. Memberships are open to all those who share a common interest in the Amiga computer and its many wonderful and unique features. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Annual membership dues for new members are $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. Associate memberships are available for $15.00 per year, renewable at the same rate, to those who must travel more than 45 miles one way to attend general meetings. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

Commodore News

The Summary Of Events

A quick breakdown, based on the best information available, of how Thursday and Friday transpired.

Thursday: Auction Day

The liquidators declare that no bids with conditions will be attached will be accepted. Alex Amor of CEI does not submit his bid based on this restriction.

Computer Connection of California submits a bid for the assets that is rejected for lack of a $1 M deposit.

Dell Computers, a US-based clone manufacturer, submits a bid for the assets that is rejected because a condition is attached.

Escom, holding the only valid bid, finds their original signed contract for $5 million accepted.

Somewhere Thursday Night:

The C= UK MBO issues a statement formally withdrawing for the running, citing the overwhelming resources of Escom and Dell.

Alex Amor and Dell form a coalition bid. (It seems that Dell's primary interest is in Commodore's patents, presumably to wage profitable lawsuits with. Alex Amor convinces them to combine bids, allowing him to rein over the Amiga.)

Friday Morning: Court Date

The objections against the sale are heards.

The IBM and Netherlands Trustees (of Commodore BV/Philippines/UK) objections are heard, but very little comes of them.

The C= US Creditor's objection is heard. The result of this was unclear.

Dell offers $15 million for the assets. The creditors, the liquidator, Dell Computers, and Judge Garrity all seem to agree that, given the unusual circumstances, a new auction should be held, perhaps on Tuesday. Escom is not in agreement.

Friday, During Lunch:

Escom ups its bid to $10 million.

Friday Afternoon: Court

The creditors announce that Escom has increased its bid to $10 million, which is acceptable to them.

The deal is approved.

[My sources indicate that Alex Amor and Dell disappeared fairly quickly after lunch.

GERMANS BID, AND LAND A BARGAIN: ARTICLE SUMMARY

[Dan Stets, the Philadelphia Inquirer journalist on hand for the auction, put out an article on the outcome this morning. This is the point-by-point summary by Bill Zimmer. - Jason]

"Germans bid, and land a bargain"

Escom AG submitted a winning bid of $6.6 million for Commodore's assets. A judge, however, still must approve it.

By Dan Stets Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

  1. Escom purchased Commodore's assets for $6.6 million yesterday during the auction.
  2. A half-dozen or so companies were at the auction but only Escom and Dell Computer Company submitted bids backed by the required $1 million security deposit.
  3. Dell attached some unspecified conditions to there bid and consequently it was disqualified.
  4. Escom will resume manufacturing the Amiga and other Commodore products and begin to make Apple-compatible and IBM-compatible clones with the Commodore name on them. The manufacturing will be in a plant near Beijing, China.
  5. Escom will attempt to produce a Commodore PowerPC. This will be manufactured in Europe.
  6. Escom has no plans to resume any of Commodore's American manufacturing operations.
  7. Both the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City and the Supreme Court of the Bahamas must still approve the sale.
  8. Both IBM and the trustee for Commodore's assets in the Netherlands, UK, and the Phillippines are objecting to the sale.
  9. A hearing will be held today, Friday, April 21, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to consider the proposed sale to Escom and the objections of the above (h) creditors.
  10. Since Commmodore's creditors are owed more than $100 million and previous estimates of Commodore's auction value were put as high as $20 million, the creditors may have reservations about the low sale price generated by the auction.
  11. A standing-room-only crowd of 65 attended the auction. Two creditors, Prudential Insurance and Microsoft were in attendance. Representatives from two Chinese electronics companies, New Star and Tietsin Trust & Investment Company also were in attendance.
  12. Escom plans a joint venture with Tietsin to manufacture Commodore's products.
  13. Also at the auction were representatives of Computer Connection of Stockton, California. They submitted a bid but did not include the required $1 million deposit. There bid was, therefore, disqualified.
  14. CEI apparently teamed up with Dell in its unsuccessful bid.
  15. The Commodore UK management buyout team withdrew before the bidding began.
  16. Dell's representative at the auction, Mr. Dalton Kaye, stated that his company had not yet given up its attempt to purchase Commodore. He further stated that he was not aware until two (2) weeks ago about the auction and had insufficient time to evaluate either the bid documents or Commodore's assets.

    In its latest fiscal year (which ended in January), Dell's sales rose 21 percent to $3.5 billion and profits rose to $149 million.
  17. The amount of Dell's bid and the amount of the bid made by Computer connection were not made public. The conditions which Dell attached to their bid were also not made public.

Bill Zimmer - zim@ibx.com
Moderator, comp.binaries/sources.amiga

COMMODORE UK MBO WITHDRAW

[Almost immediately after the auction's conclusion, this statement was issued. -Jason]

Title: Press Release April 21st 1995

PRESS STATEMENT

Commodore/Amiga UK Management Buyout

During the last few days leading up to the bidding process it became clear that ESCOM and their associates or DELL COMPUTERS would have the financial muscle to overbid our independently financed offer.

In the circumstances the UK Management Team took the decision to withdraw early and work with the winning bidder.

In this way our ability to achieve our original objective of reestablishing the Amiga in a prominent position in the marketplace would be maximised.

ENDS

[I'd just like to take this time to point out...by the corporate structure of Commodore, Commodore UK will become WHOLLY OWNED subsidiary of Escom. Their room to maneuver in that capacity could be rather limited. -Jason]

C= bankruptcy FINALLY ended.

Joshua Galun at CyberWarrior, Inc.

Today, after 12 long months, the C= bankruptcy FINALLY ended. And, like the whole bankruptcy up to now, it was not without many problems.

In the auction on April 20, only two companies had bid, Escom and Dell. Escom was the German computer retailer, and Dell is a big American computer company. CEI, long thought to be a bidder, had thrown in their hat with Dell, so that Dell would work with CEI on the Amiga, although CEI would be the ones running the show in respects to the Amiga. Escom's bid was the starting bid of approximately 5 million dollars, as well as the money they spent on the C= trademark, approximately 1.3 million dollars. Dell made a bid at 2 PM of an undisclosed amount. However, that bid was rejected for Escom's bid, because it had conditions attached to it, whereas Escom's bid was unconditional.

After the auction ended, and Escom's bid was accepted, Dell continues to work on, trying to make a more suitable bid. Their second bid was a $15 million bid, with the condition that they be allowed a 30 day waiting period to look at the Amiga and decide if they wanted to keep it. If they decided not to keep it, they would forfeit thei $1 million deposit, and the whole process of getting another bidder would have to go on again.

In the hearing of Friday, April 21, the Creditor's Committee wanted to accept Dell/CEI's bid. However, Escom felt that was unfair, because Dell's bid was placed after Escom's bid was accepted. There was much legal wrangling, but finally, the judge asked that during the recess the parties try to work out an agreement. After 3 hours, the court readjourned, and Escom said that they would agree to raise their bid by $6.5 million, to 12 million dollars. Although that was less than Dell/CEI's bid of $15 million dollars, the Creditor's agreed to drop the objection to stop Escom winning the Amiga, because Dell could back out of the deal and then they'd have to go through the process again.

Escom is working with a Chinese manufacturer to make Amigas, and they said that they should have new Amigas on the market within 2 months. They have said that they are interested in upgrading the Amiga to the Power PC chip, although they have said that the future is wide open, and that no technical decisions are set in stone. They have already hired many former C= technicians and workers to work on the Amiga once again. Escom has said that they will sell Amigas in all their stores, and that they may also use the Amiga technology in other products, such as set-top boxes, as well as possibly licensing Amiga technology to other companies interested in making Amiga clones.

Escom has sales of approximately 2 billion dollars last year.

Escom apparently wants to enter the American computer market, but felt that entering with PCs alone would be very tough, as there are already many PC retailers in America. As such, they wanted to have a new technology, such as the Amiga, to bring to American markets. Escom has said that they will be setting up an American operation very soon.

Commodore UK did not place a bid at the auction, apparently because their backer dropped out. However, Colin Proudfoot of C= UK and Escom have both stated that it 2 weeks they will be holding talks as to Escom either licensing Amiga technology to C= UK, or, more likely, buying C= UK.

Escom has said that they will work with Amiga developers, user groups, and the Internet to support the Amiga.

The Philippine plant and stock in it wasn't included in the auction, but it will most likely be sold to Escom for $1 million soon, because it may actually be illegal to sell it to anyone other than Escom.

All this information is true. I was at the hearing on April 21, all 8 hours of it. I would like to thank Jason Compton, for bringing so much news to the Amiga community during the dark time of the buyout. I would also like to thank Georgio Gomelsky, for bringing me into the Commodore hearing and getting me interviews with Colin Proudfoot and the head of the Amiga operations at Escom, and the great Amiga PD/Shareware developers, who make some of the best products out there for little monetary compensation.

And finally, I'd like to thank the whole Amiga community. You guys have given me some of the best times of my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Joshua Galun
Editor-in-Chief of Amiga Link Magazine

Joshua Galun
Editor in Chief of Amiga Link:
Sysop of the Wolf's Lair BBS
Your ultimate source of Amiga info Run off an A500/030 and CNet 3.05c!
Tons of Amiga files, no PC files allowed! And tons of GAMES!!
(201) 666-9472 In Westwood, NJ USA

INTERVIEWS: Bernard van Tienen of Escom, Colin Proudfoot of C= UK

INTERVIEWS: Bernard van Tienen of Escom, Colin Proudfoot of C= UK Conducted by Josh Galun and Giorgio Gomelsky

(Josh Galun, editor of Amiga Link Online magazine, and Giorgio Gomelsky of the AMUSE Amiga user group were lucky [or unlucky enough, depends on your viewpoint] to be at the hearing today...they got two candidates for interviews, too...-Jason)

Interview with Bernard van Tienen ESCOM.

Friday April 21, 1995 [van Tienen is a former vice-president of Commodore International.]

by Josh Galun (JG) assisted by Girogio Gomelsky (GG)

JG: How much can you say about your plans for the Amiga?

BvT: We are setting up a group of advisors to advice us which products we should produce and we are digging into every products solutions not only Amigas but other products like Commodore products, TV set-top boxes, we are considering PowerPCs with Amiga, we are considering everything at the moment.

JG: How soon do you think you'll be able to have Amiga in production?

BvT: We haven't decided yet, but we have all the links with the factories. Escom is a big European group at the moment, we assemble our own machines, we have all the contacts wtih the manufacturers, we spoke already with them, the only thing is which product should we produce, which quality an then we get started. We presume we'll have the first products, the first Amiga products on the market within 3 months...

JG: As I understood it, ESCOM is one of the biggest computer-sellers in Europe, I assume AMIGAS will be in all their stores, is that true?

BvT: Not only Amigas but we will also produce Commodore PCs, ja, and of course we will use our own stores in Europe but besides that we will distribute products into other countries and also to other dealers in Europe...

JG: The Amiga has a very vibrant community as well as many public domain programmers, do you plan to use them in any way or contact them and ask them what they think...

BvT: Of course, of course, ja...

JG: With the developers as well?

BvT: Ja, ja, everybody will be involved...as many as possible to advice us on the Commodore and Amiga products...

JG: Do you plan to attempt to hire any of the technicians who used to be with Commodore?

BvT: Of course, we are already busy with it and already have some contracts. But a lot of Commodoore people are already working for ESCOM, for instance I was vice-president of Commodore International, Peter Tachenko...I think there are already roughly 100 ex-Commodore people working for ESCOM at the moment.

JG: Do you have a position on whether you would license the Amiga technology and software to clone-makers?

BvT: Not only to clone makers but also to people who want to produce products and need some of our licences. We are already busy with that, we've made some principal contacts, ja, on that.

JG: How long have you been working to try and buy what was left of Commodore?

BvT: We started with it, let's see, eh, last year in August 1994.

JG: Had ESCOM been interested in the Amiga before the buy-out, in having Amigas in their stores?

BvT: The point is that ESCOM...must have lasted 3/4 years. We sold Amigas in the past in our stores...

JOSH TAKES A BREAK

GG: You are aware that the Amiga has a tremendously loyal following?

BvT: We know Commodore very well because I was vice-president of Commodore International and I know everybody and everything about C= of course...

GG: Do you intend to use this energy that comes from the passion of Amiga users?

BvT: Of course, of course, the biggest asset is not only the name and the products but also the user-groups. There are millions of Amiga users and even more 64 users still, ja. We are also planning to roll out products in China and other countries...

GG: How would you achieve the contact with the users? Would you put up a site on the Internet?

BvT: We haven't decided yet but every thing is possible. Also we would use the magazine of course, there are hundreds of magazines, so, ok, we havent got the deal yet, but as you heard in the court now it looks like we will get the deal in a couple of weeks, we have planned a lot but now we'll be able to roll it out, ja? So, give us some time, ja, we will consider every thing...

GG: Could the users be in touch with you, say over the next month or so and communicate their concern?

BvT: Ja, we will install people every where, in Europe, in the States. Call me and I will tell you where they are. We are aware of the frustrations users had under the old mangement...

JOSH GETS BACK

JG: Do you have any plans already in place or being discussed with CEI about working with them on the Amiga?

BvT: We cant disclose that at the moment.

JG: Was C= UK part of the buy-out?

BvT: (pointing at Colin Proudfoot passing by): That's C= UK... "Ok, Colin, see you next week, ok?" It is not part of the deal at the moment, but next week we have an appointment with C= to see what we can do with them. We are talking with them...

JG: Do you have a plan to work with them or to possibly buy them out?

BvT: Both are possible...

GG: My main concern is for the users, this has been a long slog...

BvT: Yes, I think it is a good thing that finally there is this sale. We already wanted to buy last year, but we couldn't proceed, we couldn't hurry it up, ja, it took so long...

JG: Can I ask you a bit of a personal question? Do you own an Amiga yourself? Which one?

BvT: I don't own an Amiga at the moment...

JG (smiling): But you are planning on getting one, yeah?

BvT: I, I, I..I've used Amiga in the past, ja, in my office. I'll get a new one that is comming out, we don't know what spec it will be, we are working on it hard at the moment...

JG: Do you have any plans to have some online chats on the Internet? Do make more use of the Internet?

BvT: Of course the Internet is going around right now, it's very popular in the States, also booming right now in Europe, so, ja, something will happen... We will set up support groups to get to know what is going on all over the place...

JG: Do you plan to make separate Amiga packages with software bundles, let's say a Modern Package, a Game Package, as C= UK has done in the past?

BvT: It worked very well in the UK, I know the figures because I was involved and everything is possible... but we can also bring out other products under the Amiga name, ja, we can also bring other technology into the Amiga, if you want, ja, we haven't defined it yet but we are considering everything and we expect a lot from Commodore and Amiga, otherwise we wouldn't have bought it, ja?

------
------

Friday April 21st, 1995, outside US Bankruptcy Court Building 4:15pm.

Interview with Colin Proudfoot of C= UK

by John Galun

Missed first question

CP: C= UK is waiting this thing to be over. We then lookforward to working with ESCOM and reviewing their plans for the future of Commodore cause they're gonna drive the technology and in effect they are quit likely to end up the owners of the C= UK business.

JG: Do you believe ESCOM will buy C= UK as they exist right now or do you believe they will license you as clone makers?

CP: I don't think ESCOM will leave C= UK outside its organizations, so it is a technical question in accounting terms whether it is expedient for them to keep the corporate identity as it is today or create a new corporate identity or use their existing structure and merge the C= UK within that. I think that was is key is that they will retain a lot of staff from the UK organization because we have the expertise on the market place.

JG: If you were allowed to make your own plans for the UK market of the Amiga, what wold they be? If ESCOM gave you that, how would market the Amiga and make it viable again?

CP: I don't think that is a realistic question because if you look at the market place as a whole you can't exclude the UK from the rest of Europe or the rest of the world. Computing nowadays is very much a global market and we would have to fall in line with ESCOM. A regards to what marketing plans we would see, David Pleasance has out-lined the plans he would have for the market place and the products and how it would develop. In fact he will be talking to ESCOM about these things next week and we will see how many of these ideas they will wish to adopt.

JG: So you are saying that there is nothing that seperates the UK market from the rest of the European market or the global market?

CP: Europe is now a common market and there are no technical boundaries for free movement of goods and services so a product that's launched in the UK one day we'll find in Germany the next day, or in Holland or in Denmark.

JG: I heard that C= UK has good developers' relationships. Have you been talking to them about the buyout and what information have you gotten from them that might be helpful to ESCOM?

CP: Well the UK has a very strong software community and alot of developers are based in there and we have been talking to them throught the buyout, we've been discussing ideas for eventual new products and I think ESCOM will be very interested in the discussions that we had and the results of those discussions.

JG: Is there any technology that C= UK has that has not been released or that it still owns the rights to?

CP: C= UK has never owned any of the rights to the technology, it's merely been a licensee. All rights have always been held by CEL in the Bahamas or Commodore-Amiga in California. To come back to the developers, we recognise and I think the ESCOM people recognise how important the relationships with the development community are and on behalf of David and myself I wish to thank the development community for their support over the last 12 months. It's been absolutely tremendous, we couldn't have asked for any more support or any better encouragement from the guys all around the world. Hopefully we're looking forward to working with ESCOM working with the developers' community and putting the Amiga back on top of the market place, which is what we wanted all along.

JG: The US is a very competitive, intense and big market. Do you think ESCOM will want to and are able to attack it properly?

CP: You should ask them. I can only speculate and have a personal opinion and I would say the following: ESCOM have been phenomenally successful as a PC vendor in Europe and they have grown the business tremendously. Where do they go from there? They look to North America. How they penetrate the American market? Can they do it with a "me-too" computer? No they can't! So therefore they need a product to differentiate themselves from the rest of the competition and just maybe, just maybe, the Amiga is that product.

JG: What are your personal feelings about the end of the buyout?

CP: I'm very glad it's over!

JG: Are you an Amiga user yourself?

CP: I have a CD32 at home and in the office a Commodore 486 PC.

JG: Do you have any plans of switching to the Amiga?

CP: I am not a technologist I am a businessman. What I do is I talk to David Pleasance and the rest of the guys in the UK to get an understanding from them about the technology and its applications. My job is business.