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[Rant] Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideasANN.lu
Posted on 01-Feb-2001 18:12 GMT by Christian Kemp13 comments
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Henrik Mikael Kristensen writes: Well, this is actually both an opinion and a news item. Certain events taking place right now in certain companies could be important to the future of Amiga Inc. And it should show why charging 99$ for an SDK is very reasonable, IMHO.
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.

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Comment 1Anonymous31-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 2Wan31-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 3Troels Ersking31-Jan-2001 23:00 GMT
Companies are copying Amiga's and TAO Group's ideas : Comment 4 of 13ANN.lu
Posted by Henrik Mikael Kristensen on 01-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 3 (Troels Ersking):
Well, going for the STB market first isn't the worst thing they can do. It's a growing market, which hasn't been entirely established yet, and there's no clear leader yet in that area. Going for the desktop market afterwards, would definitely require them to speak up about the Linux/Windows bridging features.
I don't think the standalone desktop machines will be very successful in the beginning. I think they will be making much more through licensing to STB mass-producing companies. Later the handhelds will get sold, possibly in a small amount at first, because Pocket PC and Palm are already there.
I can see Amiga's aim go get as much money inboard as possible to solidify the foundation, by getting a few companies with them and startup basic sales. Then when the money is there, bigger marketing campaigns can start and they can begin seeking out new, bigger well-known partners and through that get a firmer grip on the market.
Their credibility should grow, but I don't think that will happen until after partnering up with well-known companies.
I know a company (I will not name it), where most of the employees curse Windows and largely prefer Linux, but still their servers are being converted to NT from Unix and their forthcoming products will rely on MS software.
Why? Because it looks really great to put "Microsoft" under the "Partners" section of their website! It really means that much and it increases credibility. Some of them are even very aware of what Amiga are doing and think it's very cool (actually AmigaDE would suit very well in their products, but WindowsCE is their choice). Reputation rather than technological innovation appears to be first priority.
Their biggest problems aren't here yet. It's when Amiga starts selling the AmigaDE, it will be critical. The numbers sold, satisfied customers, how the other companies will react, how news sites will react.
Will there be reviews of the products?
Will the reviewers clap their hands in excitement over the next AmigaDE product?
Will customers return to buy more AmigaDE products or was the experience not good enough for them?
Will people say in three years: "Amiga? Who the heck is that?" or "Amiga? It's all over my house!"
There are so many ways AmigaDE can fall flat on its face, no matter how much a technological beauty it is. Amiga's friendly attitude may not be of much help either given the QualComm example above.
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List of all comments to this article (continued)
Comment 5Gil Knutson02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 6Hagge02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 7Matt Sealey02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 8Alex Klauke02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 9szutoman02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 10Casey R Williams02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 11Torsten02-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 12Colin Wilson03-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
Comment 13Troels Ersking03-Feb-2001 23:00 GMT
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