About year ago friend convinced me to buy “Commodore: The Amiga Years” book by Brian Bagnall. It described how Commodore company looked right after Jack Tramiel left. Buying Amiga company, release of Amiga 1000 and then A500 and A2000 times.
In April I backed another project by Brian Bagnall: “Commodore The Final Years” book. This one describes 1987 – 1994 period. From A500/2000 releases to company end.
There were many stories written/told about Commodore company. People saying that Ali Mehdi was main reason it collapsed and other theories. Brian Bagnall’s book gives better explanation than any story I have read before.
So why C= ended?
For me this is wrong question. I would rather ask “How C= managed to survive so long?”…
It looked like a mix of terrible management with good engineers. All those people working on whatever they want to design. And then moved between projects. With complete lack of deadlines (at least sensible ones).
All those crazy machines
For example Commodore 64D… It was an idea of adding 1581 disk drive into C64 case. Side effect? C64 users buying 1581 disk drives (because software released on 3.5″ floppies) and C64D people buying 1541 to get access to older releases on 5.25″ floppies.
Or whole work on Commodore 65… Wet dream of some of my retro friends. 8bit machine with superior capabilities (compared to C64/C128/C+4) but several years too late. Huge amount of work hours spent on designing 4502 CPU, VIC-III and other chips, prototype boards, operating system, new BASIC…
Then Amiga 300 (released as A600) which got any expansion possibilities removed. Only to not give a chance for GVP to earn money on extensions. I used that model. Was terrible but allowed me to have hard drive so I bought it instead of A500+.
All that work done on AAA chipset. Which was far beyond everything when they started but then quickly became not-so-magical when PC market got SVGA cards, PCI slots…
Company related stories
Book is not only how many computer models were on designers’ tables. There are many stories related to the company, people working there. How Commodore interacted with communities etc. How people worked in 80s/90s. Internet/UUCP use in those years. Hobbies of Commodore employees and lot more.
Impact on technology market
Some readers may remember CDTV model. It was Amiga 500(+) with CD-ROM drive all put in HiFi like case. But not so many knows about CDTV-CR one. It was cost reduced version based on A600. And much cheaper CD-ROM drive based on some cheap ‘diskman’ like one with electronics done from scratch. According to the book it’s creation lowered prices of CD-ROM drives for the whole industry.
For me this book (and previous one) are must read for any Amiga fan. Lot of interesting details about released (and not released) models, accessories, some notes about software. Many stories from Commodore employees and people cooperating with C= company through years.
My Amiga story
I was Amiga user in 1995 – 1999 years. First Amiga 600 with 425MB hard drive and 2MB ram. Then A1200 which I moved to PC tower case. At the end it had 68040 cpu at 40MHz, 64MB ram and 17GB hard drive (connected to FastATA controller). AmigaOS was nice, I learnt a lot but hardware became slow so I sold it in 1999 and moved to PC running Debian.