I am very glad to be here in Los Angeles at our first conference and Video-Toaster Show in the United States.
But let me introduce myself, my name is Petro Tyschtschenko, I'm President at Amiga Technologies. I used to work 12 years at Commodore and I was responsible for the world-wide logistics.
I will now say a few words about our organisation and how we set it up.
Amiga Technologies GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of ESCOM AG. ESCOM AG is a public company. 25 % of the shares belong to Quelle, the first retail chain in Germany, 12.5 % to RWE, one of the biggest German cable and wire providers, 10 % to Siemens-Nixdorf and 38.5 % to Manfred Schmitt, founder and chairman of the board. 14 % are splitted among other shareholders.
In August 1994, almost one year before the 21st of April, when ESCOM AG took over the rights of Commodore, Manfred Schmitt, Chairman at ESCOM AG, told me "Petro, I want the Amiga". From this day on, I was in charge of setting up the deal that the Amiga Community was waiting for: Taking over the rights and patents of Commodore International and give the Amiga a new home.
It was a very difficult task, the situation with Commodore was complicated and many companies were also interested in getting the baby. But our strategy to keep silent about what we did helped us to be faster and more efficient. Nobody knew about ESCOM before the deal was completed.
The next goal was to build up the company. This was announced officially during our press launch in Frankfurt, 30th of May, 1995. Amiga Technologies is now located in Bensheim, 60 km southwards of Frankfurt and a few miles away from Heppenheim where ESCOM has its headquarters. We currently employ about 40 people and are growing on a daily basis.
During our last press conferences, we made lots of promises and commitments. Today, I will rather show you something more concrete: Here is an Amiga 1200 and here is the first Amiga 4000 Tower.
These two products you can see here today represent the tremendous work done by our team in Germany, together with our strategic partners in only three months.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have sold our first 20,000 Amigas 1200 in Europe. These were not only sold to our distributors and dealers, all of them went over the shelves to the end-users. Our Backlog is still 60,000.
The demand is more than satisfying. We are happy to see that the Amiga didn't lose its appeal towards the customer.
The success is like in earlier Commodore times. The difference is that now a new management of competence is installed. Motivated people who love and know the Amiga are taking care of the business.
Our strength is that we are a dynamic team. We react quickly to new situations. And we also learned from the mistakes Commodore made.
Some people over here think that ESCOM AG acquired the intellectual property of Commodore just to build a few computers for the Christmas season and leave the market afterwards. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is neither my style, nor the kind of business I like to do. Amiga is a long term project, we want to re-establish a market and give the Amiga the position it deserves because we believe that our product is a good alternative to PC's and Macs.
Escom invested several times the amount of money that was spent for the takeover of Commodore. We want this investment to fructify in the future.
The US market is very important for us. Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to make a commitment here: We do not intend to concentrate our efforts only on Europe. Our location is in Bensheim. But our market is world-wide. The A4000T is the product that is wanted most in the USA. We are currently thinking of the possibilities that we could have to market the A1200 here too.
The American market is not only important to us for selling hardware. There also is a great potential of development intelligence here. Newtek for instance is an important strategic partner for us. We want to support the Video Toaster and are currently negotiating with Newtek to build up a strong partnership and set up license agreements to get new products basing on the Video Toaster technology.
Another partner for the American market is our new distributor SMG. SMG will take care of distribution and spare parts for the North-American market. SMG is well known and appreciated as a service provider for a long time.
The Set-Top-Box is an important topic at Amiga Technologies. We have now finalised several agreements in the USA. I will mention our agreement with Viscorp that has just been finalised a few weeks ago. Omnibox in Connecticut is another company we are currently dealing with. Through Set-Top-Box systems, we are confident that the Amiga platform will enter into millions of households. No other computer manufacturer is able to provide a system that multitasks with 2 megabytes of memory.
Our partnership with SCALA brings MM300 to the user out of the box. All Amiga models fitted with harddrives include that popular multimedia package. More than a partner, SCALA is also an important customer for Amiga Technologies. SCALA purchased 1000 Amiga 4000 Towers to provide their customers with high-end multimedia systems. My understanding is that Newtek will be following with another 1000 units for the Video Toaster market.
The demand for the Amiga 4000 T is also very high in Europe. We know that the price tag has been set quite high. This is due to the fact that the Amiga 4000 T is actually a new product for us. Setting up its production was an expensive task that needed the competencies and know-how of many people. My special thanks to Jeff Frank and Georges Robbins. The production costs are currently about 40 % higher than in Commodore times.
Actually, we planned to bring out the Amiga 4000 T before the Amiga 1200, but the complexity of this product made it impossible to respect the schedules. But finally it is available, the first models came out of the lines this week.
It was a great moment for us when the first Amiga board was finished in our A1200 production facility in France. It happened on the 13th of September 1995. Here it is, just for your eyes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please be aware, the Amiga is the only computer which has a multitasking operating system that is not in alpha or beta stage. Of course, we look at our competitors. I recently went to a fair where a computer manufacturer proudly presented its new machines. I asked one of the guys at the booth to demonstrate me the multitasking abilities of his system and he replyed "Please wait a few minutes sir, as soon as this disk formatting is completed, I will show you real multitasking......." I said: "No further questions."
It is really encouraging to have a strong feature and to find out that some competitors don't even know what it is.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our strength, more than the hardware platform, is our Operating System. AmigaOS is excellent and will become even better. We have decided to port it to other platforms as soon as possible. Of course, we are also aware of the features that our system lacks. Long awaited features like memory protection, virtual memory and strong network abilities are on top of our todo list. The next version of Amiga OS will hopefully include all these important things.
We also need software for the Amiga. It is absolutely necessary to continue development on existing products as well as getting new applications developed or ported to AmigaOS. We are setting up the support for Amiga developers. This will be working through BBS systems and Internet. The german node cbmehq is already up and running in Bensheim. We now also have an Amiga Technologies Web page. We will be very active on the Internet in the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is more and more evident every day that the combination of Intel and Windows 95 is not satisfying for many people. It is also a threat for the computer market that a monopoly like this tends to establish itself.
Therefore, it is important that systems like Amiga improve their market position, so that the user can still find an alternative way. To improve our market position, we know that we need to improve the product. This improvement has to be done on the hardware and the software side. The 68000 processor family from Motorola which is still powering our models will end its evolution after the 68060.
We knew from the beginning that we had to look for a new processor. There were many options possible. Motorola proposed the Power PC, there was also the HP PA, the Minisparc or DEC Alpha processors. All of them had advantages and disadvantages, the choice was very hard indeed.
Ladies and Gentleman, we made our choice. The next Amiga will be called Power-Amiga. We removed PC for aesthetical purposes.
Let me now explain this choice.
The Power PC processor is fast... Especially when it runs a decent Operating System. We believe that with an Operating System like AmigaOS, the Power PC processor will show all the power that it has, it will be faster than with other operating systems.
Another important reason for our choice is the strategic partnerships that this processor brings to us. Apple already did the experience of a migration from 68000 processors to Power PC and we can take advantage of this experience.
Motorola and IBM will also be precious partners for the Power Amiga project, on the software side as well as on the hardware side. Of course we are also in talk with IBM and Apple.
Ladies and Gentlemen, all in all the Power Amiga project will be involving more than a dozen companies. We are confident and think that such a synergy will make things happen very fast. Our team is ready to go.
Thank you for your attention.