The Amiga now appeals to nostalgic fans of the brand or hobbyists, its history can teach the industry a lot about business strategy. The product’s history is really one of a great product losing its momentum thanks to poor management and a lack of vision starting early 1990, 4 years before it’s ultimate downfall. Unlike the Mac that had come out the year before(1984), the Amiga was a revolutionary machine with great sound quality and graphics, led the powerful multimedia computer to gain popularity, especially in Western Europe. In many cases, the animations and graphics for a lot of games on the PC and eventually on the Mac would be done on the Amiga and then be ported over. The biggest problem with the Amiga was that fundamentally, Commodore’s management was oriented towards a commodity mentality and a sort of … stock promotion philosophy in terms of their business plan. Commodore also cut research and development on the Amiga, and led the Mac to pass the Commodore Amiga in terms of sales and developer focus, they became a target rather than a leader. The Amiga lost its unique position as the multimedia video machine and it became obsolete. Commodore hoped to save it’s Amiga platform by releasing the worlds first 32bit game console the ‘Amiga CD32’, the console was a big sucses during it’s launch despite the lack of new innovative software products. However, a deadline was reached for Commodore to pay 10 million USD in patent royalty to Cad Track for their use of their XOR patent. A federal judge ordered an injunction against Commodore preventing them from importing anything into the United States. Commodore had built up CD32 inventory in their Philippine manufacturing facility for the United States launch, but, being unable to sell the consoles, they remained in the Philippines until the debts owed to the owners of the facility were settled. Commodore declared bankruptcy shortly afterwards end 1994.
photo courtesy of Marcel Franquinet