There have been many theories about how to get Amiga mainstream again, from porting AmigaOS to X86 architecture or change it’s focus from desktop computing towards the mobility market by porting the OS to ARM making use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series of processors. However, many Amiga users are still in favor of the ‘Intel outside’ theory and prefer the PowerPC structure, probably with ‘authenticity’ in mind. So lets drop X86/ARM and focus on how it would be to launch the new Amiga 5000 and AmigaOS5 with a focus on PowerPC. To go mainstream would require a lot more then the PowerPC 600 family or even QorIQ processors based on Power Architecture ranging from P1 towards P5. The only way for being accepted as a new possible contender in the mainstream market would mean adapting to IBM’s latest achievement ‘Power9’. The Power9 processor is mainly designed for the server market, the low-end server model is using 24 cores and would cost about $ 6,000.  We don’t really need 24 cores to compete with regular Apple Mac’s and PC’s in the average joe consumer market. But 4 cores would be very deseriable and would give the Amiga 5000 the speed it requires for being acceptable compared with the competition. The first biggest problem is that IBM must license the Power9 architecture to other manufactures and allow downgrading it to 10 cores respectively. This sounds easier then it probably really is, and could take months of negotiating between IBM and manufacturerX, and X with the new Amiga owners. You would also need a team of very expensive engineers to design a new motherboard, the new owners could always outsource this design to another company off course. But none the less the entire buildup would be a very expensive and long-term process. We also need to talk with AMD (the cheapest) or NVIDIA (very closed and expensive) for giving the Amiga 5000 acceptable graphics output. It would also need a CE certificate declaring that the product meets all the legal requirements for CE marking and can be sold throughout the EEA. And we need a minimum of 100,000 Amiga 5000 units in stock. A higher amount of production pushes the production price down, but for this kind of hardware and still a very limited production would probably give one unit a cost of 900 euros x 100,000 (€ 90,000,000) in China and you still need to export and stock the 100,000 units. The total price of our glorious new mainstream Amiga 5000 would cost between 125,000,000 and 150,000,000 euros.

many Amiga users are still in favor of the ‘Intel outside’ theory

The Amiga operating system is compared with other operating systems completely outdated, to compare it with Samsung’s Tizen operating system, written in C/C++ programming language, currently has 72.5 million lines of source code.  The Linux kernel comes with 19.9 million lines of code and Windows 10 itself consists of around 60 million lines of codes.  You can imagine that AmigaOS 4.1 is far from competing with modern operating systems, it’s almost impossible especially if done by volunteers. However, Linux is also mostly done by volunteers but by a very huge user base and has immense popularity in many US and EU universities. There are 2 options for the new owners, hire many programmers with a median yearly income of 50,000 tot 80,000 euros a year or outsource the development to external partners. The second option would be none the less ‘very expensive’ and could be very unreliable, keep in  mind that IT business is hardcore, there is absolutely no romance if you are making giants like Apple or Microsoft nervous. And there is another very annoying factor – ‘patents’ and there are plenty of them, you can never ignore company’s such as Oracle having keypoints when it comes to security or internet. Look how the AmigaCD32 got terminated because of very silly XOR patent. Today is 2017 and things only got worse and all the  euphoric opensource statements in the IT business are very romantic in the end. There is no such thing as Open source when it comes to business as usual. This patent biz could easily jack up the investment costs into the millions, probably tens of millions and I am just being modest in the end. Keep in mind that we are assuming to go ‘mainstream’ so it is a necessity to have the patent biz 100% legal. The price of ‘AmigaOS5 mainstream edition’ could easily cost between 25,000,000 and 100,000,000 euro’s in production.

there is absolutely no romance if you are making giants like Apple or Microsoft nervous

So lets say you have passed the hardware and operating system phase, nobody is going to buy the Amiga 5000 with AmigaOS5 for 1499 euros without software. The worst part is that most big company’s are not going to invest in producing or even porting it’s software to AmigaOS5. So the new Amiga owners must license big game releases and professional software applications  I am talking about GTA 5, Battlefield 1, and professional software such as Oracle database, Unity, Lightwave 2015,etc… You can imagine how difficult it’s going to be and  you will still need some unique AmigaOS5 only software that could create a sensation in the gaming,graphics or server market. This is going to be a very costly business for the new Amiga owners or it would require some amazing negotiating or having special social contacts in the software business. Again we are facing a minimum of 25,000,000 euros of investment and this is a very positive estimate. Selling a product and having mainstream recognition is a sword with two sides. You’re sales manager is a genius or your gonna pay a lot of money for creating that temporarily ‘mainstream momentum’. We have already invested a minimum of 200,000,000 euros and we want these 100,000 Amiga 5000’s outdoors. Marketing  is a very costly business and you want to have some popular support by artists,popstars or tech critics. It would be unwise to gamble on Amiga sentiment, most Amiga users are over 40, you need to find a way to convince youngsters and find the magic passage into university’s in particular. There are many ways, many theories but this marketing campaign could easily cost between 25,000,000 and 50,000,000 euros. And the competition are investing a lot more money to promote new products…

you will still need some unique AmigaOS5 only software that could create a sensation in the gaming, graphics or server market

This is just one scenario and it’s aimed for going mainstream and this in a very short notice(2 years), the Power9 and ‘authenticity’ are the biggest problem in the end. The X86 or ARM roadmap would make it easier but still require an amazing biz instinct and entire team of devoted or very well paid people. Many details have been overlooked, for instance a good lawyer office will be a necessity. Just planning this would require a few months and having smart people aboard. I can imagine that a lot of people have a different opinion when it comes to this A5000/OS5 roadmap but one thing is for sure; numbers and laws don’t lie…

 

Kind regards,

Jimmy Proost

PS: it’s just a point of view, don’t take it to personal

 

More news: Generation Amiga magazine