SMG Exits the Amiga Market

Date: Friday, April 26, 1996
To: All Amiga Dealers, Suppliers and Consumers
From: the Service Management Group, inc.
Subject: SMG Exits the Amiga Market

The Service Management Group is ceasing all sales, administrative and support activities for Amiga Technologies products in North America. This action is effective immediately. The SMG regrets taking these actions, but the worsening situation with Amiga Technologies, an unscrupulous distribution system, and the wholesale de-emphasis of support, leaves us no choice. Despite the SMG's best efforts to provide fairly priced and well supported Amiga systems, Amiga Technologies and the North American Amiga market has deteriorated irretrievably. Conscience mandates that we no longer participate.

The SMG will continue to support dealers who purchased systems from the SMG throughout the warranty period. This support is contingent on our ability to obtain replacement parts from Amiga Technologies. Although Amiga Technologies is contractually obligated to support these systems, they have shown little regard for their commitments.

The Service Management Group has directly provided or administered all Amiga support for Commodore Business Machines and Amiga Technologies since 1990. More than 14,000 Amiga owners have relied on SMG support programs. The SMG designed and managed Gold Service Program was recognized by Fortune in 1991. The Extended Warranty Program and Third Party Product coverage gave Amiga owners world class support. Commodore executives routinely enjoyed the accolades of the trade press and customer praise for these service programs.

The SMG did not seek the Amiga Technologies business. After six arduous years of working intimately with Commodore and a very painful and costly CBM bankruptcy, the SMG had had enough. Despite the past trials, we believed in the Amiga, the many good dealers and consumers. We were flattered when Amiga Technologies described us as "the only honest player" in the market. We were seduced when they said that, without our support, the Amiga could not return.

After six years of supporting the Amiga, we bid you farewell. Being of character and conscience we refuse to participate in a business that holds its dealers and consumers in such low regard. When management philosophy espouses the tenets of P.T. Barnum, it is time to leave. We depart with some words from John C. Dvorak, in the May 14, 1996 issue of PC Magazine: "The whole lame situation reminds me of what happened to the Amiga. " [they] were mostly jerks."

In the beginning our hopes for a reborn Amiga soared, but the dream of the Phoenix was lost almost immediately. Amiga Technologies was bewildered by even the most basic business decision. Despite futile attempts to help, error begat error at an alarming rate. Soon overwhelmed, the goal was no longer to help the Amiga rise from the ashes, but to cloak management with the illusion of competency. Personal survival became the only objective. Faced with a worsening financial situation, Amiga Technologies was emasculated by years end. The Phoenix fell to the ground, unable to rise.

As the new year began, we found ourselves awash in a sea of by unethical practices, betrayal, duplicity and uncountable lies. Mortally wounded by an inability to pay its debts, Amiga Technologies lost total control. Sensing its imminent demise, dark forces gathered to seize the opportunity and hasten the end. Confused, lost and senseless, the Phoenix wandered aimlessly, stumbling often. Its sense of purpose long gone, it now sought only the light of one more dawn. We obtained the counsel of every manner of wizard and warrior, priest and prophet. The Phoenix could still live, if only it raised its head to the heavens and picked a star to guide it. The Phoenix heard the words, but could not understand. It grew weaker by the day.

On March 2nd, the nearly lifeless Phoenix was carried to New York. It spoke eloquently of its coming victorious ascent to the heavens. Amid the fire and flame, it spread its wings. We pleaded with it to raise its head and see beyond the dawn. It was too late, it could not. The Phoenix plunged headlong into the sea, and died. We held its now lifeless body and wept. The dream gone. It was finished. The dark forces leaped with joy. Their moment had come. At that very instant, Gollum slithered from the stench and ooze, and stole the last ring. Now invincible, their plan was complete. Cloaked in invisibility, Gollum held the lifeless form of the Phoenix on the throne and summoned the faithful. It spoke of the glories yet to be, demanding tribute and obedience. The faithful bowed low and paid homage.

How can this be, we asked? Can they not see the dream is gone? The Phoenix is dead. No, came the reply. They are blinded by their desire. The Phoenix gave their lives meaning and purpose. In their minds the Phoenix will always live.

As we walked away, we knew it was a sad day indeed.

"And one day I looked around and all of the other dealers were gone. Gone out of business, or gone insane. It was time to leave."

. . . an ex-Amiga Dealer

Hey guys. Its time to leave.

For the past six years, first with Commodore, most recently with Amiga Technologies, we have tried to do the right thing. Amid the noise and confusion, we have attempted to operate with honesty and professionalism. We attempted to create a business environment where people who cared about Commodore and Amiga products could be treated fairly and honestly.

Guess what?

Thats not what you guys want. With a minimal number of exceptions (you know who you are) the Amiga universe is a finely tuned blend of dysfunction and psychosis. Manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and users; the only saving grace is that the players are apparently equally delusional.

It would be easy, at this point, to write many pages detailing all of the errors and omissions that have plagued these products for the past five years. I doubt that would accomplish much. You buy old technology at extraordinarily high prices. You have no development plans, no growth path, and no guarantee of availability on the current production models. The product is fraught with limitations, quality and engineering problems. The key selling advantage of the price performance edge that existed four years ago is gone....forever.

We promised to do our best to support this market. We have done that, and more. Alone, we fought to establish a businesslike atmosphere, to provide stability, to lower prices.

We were wrong.

Clearly, we misjudged the intent and temperament of the other players in the Amiga market. They do not want honesty and clarity. They want to shut the doors, fire up the cigars, and dance the dance of the quick and dirty deal. They do not want to honor and support their customers. They want to grab peoples wallets and scurry back down the alley. Their vision of the future comes not from a mountain top, but from under a rock.

Harsh, you say? Perhaps. Chalk it up to cumulative frustration.

We also promised one other thing. We would support the products and the customers with honesty. We have clenched our teeth and stood mute as we did our best to help rebuild this product. We have gone beyond the bounds of loyalty attempting to support Amiga Technologies.

Our mistake.

They spoke of partnership when they meant indentured servitude. They spoke of sharing responsibility when they meant assuming total risk. They spoke of long term investment when they meant immediate profit. They lifted their eyes and voices to heaven while they reached down and pulled the devil up to the table.

So here we are. Bruised and abused. Sadder, but wiser. Gone, and soon forgotten.

About that honesty. We havent got time to recite the litany of sorrow and circumstance. Let our parting words be the clarion.

Run. The lava is pouring down the mountainside, the locusts are eating the crops.

Chernobyl is in flames, and the inmates have control of the asylum.

So, run. The dream is over, the jackals have snatched the baby from the crib. You can only save yourselves. Please do so.

And dont stop running. Despite the sirens song and the narcotic fragrance of the lotus. If you pause, you are lost. If they catch you, you will die. We wish you the best. Like the Old actor in The Fantastiks, we say farewell, we say

"Remember us, in lights."

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