I read an article on a Danish news service SOL.dk, which makes me think that many large companies are trying to duplicate Amiga's idea of the "write once, run anywhere" philoshopy, thus pushing Amiga out of the market before they even get in there.
The US based company QualComm are trying to build a standard operating system to be used on all cell-phones. The standard is called BREW™, Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless. If you take away "Wireless", you'd have what TAO Group is doing. Almost.
Here's a description from their own site: The BREW platform allows developers to create applications that operate on all handsets with QUALCOMM CDMA chipsets. BREW sits between the chip system software and the application, making the phone's functionality available to the application without requiring the developer to have the chip system source code or even a direct relationship with a handset manufacturer.
One concern here is the narrow scope of the operating system: Cell-phones and wireless only.
Another concern is that Microsoft, Symbian and Ericsson are mentioned in the article, making similar systems each with their own standards. Amiga isn't mentioned at all. Just bad journalism? Hopefully.
Worse yet, QualComm want to electronically certify all BREW™ programs before they can run on consumer products and ask a fee of those spreading the programs (phone-companies). That's called the TRUE BREW™ compatibility test. Of course the test itself costs money. End-users will also have to pay for all applications. So basically both users and developers are forced to pay QualComm for application development. Freeware is no option.
This approach is far more hostile towards developers and end-users than what Amiga Inc. have in mind. Even Microsoft aren't this hostile.
Yet still, the largest cell-phone company in the US (Verizon) are following the standards of BREW™, and others are following as well. Amiga may have lost many potential customers there.
Another limitation is that BREW™ currently only runs on a certain CDMA chipset, which resides in over 70 million cellphones spread over 75 different manufacturers (and that was a year ago). Guess who's making this chipset? That's right: QualComm. Sniff... I smell monopoly...
The technology also seems to be inferior to what Amiga are doing (programs are interpreted in runtime, not at load time, thus giving performance losses, environment isn't selfhosted).
So in short: QualComm's solution looks limited both technologically and the way they want to use it.
The solutions provided by the companies previously mentioned won't neither charge developers nor users. I couldn't find much information about their solutions, as only their names were mentioned, not what exactly they were working on.
The point is: Amiga's system has the best technology and Amiga have the best relationship with developers and users, but only they may want to use them. Despite all the efforts at Amiga, everyone else look the other way and can't take Amiga seriously, now that the big players with the big bucks have spoken. This is already apparent in the cell-phone area. Will the situation spread to PDA's, palmtops and appliances? Amiga would then continue to loose customers.
This mirrors the situation we had 10 years ago, where Amiga was slowly sinking into market oblivion, thanks to greedy companies with inferior technologies. I definitely hope that Amiga Inc. will yell out loud enough this time, or the end users will never hear them.
Also this should show those, who think charging 99$ for an SDK is outragous, that there are companies out there who would happily charge your mother and brother-in-law for every interaction you do as a developer with that company. And those are companies that aren't exactly short on money, like Amiga are now. So I think 99$ is very reasonable.