Acorn in the Financial Times

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Andrew Wineberg

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Dec 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/15/98
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Today's (15 December 1998) /Financial/Times/ has two articles on Acorn
('New Shoots' in the Observer column and 'Acorn to ditch PC brand' in
the Companies & Markets section).

The gist is that Acorn is to change its name (Stan will not reveal to
what; FT Observer guesses that it will be "another silly '90s name") to
reflect its new focus, and is to cease production of existing PC lines
(ie. Risc PC, A7000(+), NC) except for specific orders.

Acorn has recruited 7 design engineers to establish a UKP 2 million
research centre in Bristol, and is understood to have won a preliminary
contract for 10,000 DTV set-top boxes.

If people like, I could transcribe these two articles here.

--
Andrew Wineberg <A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>
<URL:http://www.BTINTERNET.COM/~a.wineberg/> for my portrait and details

Astute Graphics

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Dec 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/15/98
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In article <48B4F3C0D4%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg

<URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
> Today's (15 December 1998) /Financial/Times/ has two articles on Acorn
> ('New Shoots' in the Observer column and 'Acorn to ditch PC brand' in
> the Companies & Markets section).
>
> The gist is that Acorn is to change its name (Stan will not reveal to
> what; FT Observer guesses that it will be "another silly '90s name") to
> reflect its new focus, and is to cease production of existing PC lines
> (ie. Risc PC, A7000(+), NC) except for specific orders.
>
> Acorn has recruited 7 design engineers to establish a UKP 2 million
> research centre in Bristol, and is understood to have won a preliminary
> contract for 10,000 DTV set-top boxes.

Yes - I read that article with interest. I somehow get the impression
that they want to create another ARM Ltd so that when Stan's plan goes
belly-up in about, say, three years time (give or take two years), they
will have some family silver to auction off once more.

Then again, I'm not wearing rose-tinted glasses at this point, and am
not reading between the lines.

Liked the comment about the new name very much. With a recent track
record of Pheobe 2100 metamorphising(?) to Pheobe: RiscPC II, I wonder
how many scrunched up bits of paper with the word 'Millennium' are in
ol' Stan's bin...? ;-)

All the best,

Nick

Andrew Wineberg

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Dec 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/15/98
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In message <48B4F3C0D4%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>
Andrew Wineberg <A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:

> If people like, I could transcribe these two articles here.

New shoots [Observer column]
==========

So is it farewell to Acorn, one of the grand old names of British
computing? Stan Boland, 38-year-old chief executive of Acorn Group has
decided the name "carries too much baggage" for a business burning a
trail in the brave new world of multimedia.

Acorn was among the first British companies to launch into the
microcomputer market in the late 1970s. A joint venture with the BBC
produced the BBC Micro which became the standard computer workhorse for
schools and colleges. But sliding computer prices and growing
competition brought falling sales and losses. So the fate of the Acorn
name probably rests with the remaining hardcore of users, some of whom
have expressed an interest in licencing the brand. And the new moniker
for Acorn Group, due to be unveiled in the new year? "It will be more
reflective of our silicon and software future and less opaque," says the
self-effacing Boland. Observer feels another silly '90s name coming on.


Acorn to ditch PC brand [Companies & Markets]
=======================

Acorn is to change its name and stop supporting the Acorn personal
computer brand, in a step towards ending its 20-year involvement in the
UK PC market. The company intends to focus on digital television and
design services.

Underlining the move, Acorn will today announce it has recruited a
seven-strong team of design engineers from ST Microelectronics to set up
a [UKP] 2m microchip research centre in Bristol. It will develop chips
for Acorn's digital TV business.

"We have decided to exit PC development because it is not economically
sustainable for us," said Stan Boland, appointed chief executive in June
with a mandate to restructure the company.

Acorn's PC sales fell from [UKP] 8.5m to [UKP] 3m in the first half of
the year. Mr Boland said that PCs would now only be produced for
specific orders.

The decision to change the Acorn name and allow the brand to decline is
a decisive move by the group, which has not made a profit since 1993 and
has seen its share price fall sharply.

Acorn was one of the first PC manufacturers in the UK producing the BBC
Micro for the educational market in the 1970s. It retains a role in the
schools and college market with its 50 per cent share of Exemplar, a
joint venture with Apple Computer. The stake is likely to be sold.

The company is in discussions with a consortium of Acorn dealers in the
UK about how to support the estimated 15,000 Acorn PC users. The
consortium may licence the Acorn operating system and produce its own
version of the Acorn PC.

The new name for the company, which has not been revealed, will be
announced early next year.

Mr Boland plans to separate the operations side of the company from its
24.8 per cent interest in ARM, the embedded chip group.

It is understood the company has won a preliminary order from a European
telecommunications group for 10,000 set-top boxes for use in digital
television. A similar-sized order was announced in October from a
Canadian media concern.

Acorn shares, which peaked at more than 300p in 1996, closed unchanged
at 85p, compared with 157.5p before a profits warning in April.

*** End of quote

The FT website is at <URL:http://www.FT.com>.

T.K. Kelly

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Dec 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/16/98
to
In article <48B4F3C0D4%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg
<A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
>
> Today's (15 December 1998) /Financial/Times/ has two articles on Acorn
> ('New Shoots' in the Observer column and 'Acorn to ditch PC brand' in
> the Companies & Markets section).
>
> The gist is that Acorn is to change its name (Stan will not reveal to
> what; FT Observer guesses that it will be "another silly '90s name") to
> reflect its new focus, and is to cease production of existing PC lines
> (ie. Risc PC, A7000(+), NC) except for specific orders.
>
> Acorn has recruited 7 design engineers to establish a UKP 2 million
> research centre in Bristol, and is understood to have won a preliminary
> contract for 10,000 DTV set-top boxes.
>
> If people like, I could transcribe these two articles here.

Please - I am sure that most of us would like to get more information on
something so important.

Terry.

--

___ __ _ _ __________________________________
| |_ |_| |_| \ / / ACORN RISC PC700 200MHz SA 42Mb/5.5Gb
| |__ | \ | \ | / ...Internet access for all Acorn RISC machines
/ t...@argonet.co.uk zfc Dy

Confucius say: "He who sits on lotus leaf and contemplates is likely to sink."


Jason Banham

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Dec 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/16/98
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Astute Graphics <ni...@astutegrfx.demon.co.uk> wrote:
[Name change reference snipped]
>
> ... how many scrunched up bits of paper with the word 'Millennium' are
> in ol' Stan's bin...? ;-)
>

#include <stddisclaimer.h>

Images of the 'Millennium Group' spring to mind, solving bizarre cases of
the paranormal and unknown. The new CEO, a Mr.Frank Black is called in to
figure out the mysterious case of the vanashing 'memorandum of understanding'
that caused many anoraks/enthusiasts to commit ritual Phobeacide.

[Any similarities to an American TV series with falling viewing figures and
a crappy time slot would be completely co-incidental, honest guv!]


Cheers,

Jayce.
(PS The above does not represent the opinions of my employer)
--
Jason Banham Sun Microsystems Ltd
Desktop Connectivity Group Watchmoor Park
Riverside Way
e-mail: jason....@uk.sun.com Camberley Surrey
phone : 01276 691 974 GU15 3YL

Paul Corke

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Dec 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/16/98
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In article <48B4FC1E79%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg

<URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
> produced the BBC Micro which became the standard computer workhorse for

Oops. Forgot to mention "And went on to develop the Archimedes and
RiscPC".

> It is understood the company has won a preliminary order from a European
> telecommunications group for 10,000 set-top boxes for use in digital

So this /isn't/ the BOCA deal, then?

Paul.
--
mailto:pa...@interconnex.co.uk http://www.interconnex.co.uk/


Paul Corke

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Dec 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/16/98
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In article <48B4F3C0D4%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg

<URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
> The gist is that Acorn is to change its name (Stan will not reveal to
> what; FT Observer guesses that it will be "another silly '90s name") to

*whois boland.co.uk

Registrant:
Boland Boxes Ltd (BOLAND2-DOM)
Acorn House, 645 Newmarket Road
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB5 8PB
UK

Domain Name: BOLAND.CO.UK

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
Boland, Stan (SB01) sbo...@BOLAND.CO.UK
+44 1223 725000 (FAX) +44 1223 725000

Paul.
PS :)

James White

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to
In article <48B4FC1E79%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg

<URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
> In message <48B4F3C0D4%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>
> Andrew Wineberg <A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
>
> > If people like, I could transcribe these two articles here.
>
> New shoots [Observer column]
> ==========
>
> So is it farewell to Acorn, one of the grand old names of British
> computing? Stan Boland, 38-year-old chief executive of Acorn Group has
> decided the name "carries too much baggage" for a business burning a
> trail in the brave new world of multimedia.
>
> Acorn was among the first British companies to launch into the
> microcomputer market in the late 1970s. A joint venture with the BBC
> produced the BBC Micro which became the standard computer workhorse for
> schools and colleges. But sliding computer prices and growing
> competition brought falling sales and losses. So the fate of the Acorn
> name probably rests with the remaining hardcore of users, some of whom
> have expressed an interest in licencing the brand. And the new moniker
> for Acorn Group, due to be unveiled in the new year? "It will be more
> reflective of our silicon and software future and less opaque," says the
> self-effacing Boland. Observer feels another silly '90s name coming on.
>

Well I don't know! Boland thinks he can magically escape reality by
changing his company name. It is still a one-product company, it still
has a thousand miles to go before it gets anywhere and it even has to
BUY IN the ideas now.

Actually, thinking about its record in INNOVATION, when was the last
time a useful innovative product came out of that stable? 1994, in the
form of the RiscPC. After that it was all promises, promises. Bit too
long time living on hope.

As for the new name, how about 'The Second Coming'
The Company that knows when it's GOING.

It is understandable that the name of Acorn has suddenly become
distasteful to ppl up with the news. But what if today's hoo-ha is all
forgotten in a year's time? There is a wonderful legacy around in
several countries, machines still reliable and productive, all bearing
the logo which I and many others really do appreciate. Are we going to
throw overboard the undoubted goodwill that exists? Replacing it from
scratch is going to take a long time and a prospective 'RISC' company
has MUCH TO DO to build up credibility in a wider market than the
present enthusiast one.

Actually, Andrew, I wonder if it IS possible to recycle the Acorn name
and logo, short of paying a fortune to Boland Inc(redible)? Your legal
comment on that point would be enlightening. I should rephrase that in
two parts:- 1. the name associated within product ranges. 2. the name
of the company.


> Underlining the move, Acorn will today announce it has recruited a
> seven-strong team of design engineers from ST Microelectronics to set up
> a [UKP] 2m microchip research centre in Bristol. It will develop chips
> for Acorn's digital TV business.
>

The spending spree has begun. Money burning a hole in the pocket set to
burn a trail in the brave new world.

--
----------------
James White Tel: +34 971 872322 Fax: +34 971 872309
----------------

Dickon Hood

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
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In message <ant16234...@jacorn.ibm.net>
James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:

[...]

: It is understandable that the name of Acorn has suddenly become distasteful


: to ppl up with the news. But what if today's hoo-ha is all forgotten in a
: year's time? There is a wonderful legacy around in several countries,
: machines still reliable and productive, all bearing the logo which I and
: many others really do appreciate. Are we going to throw overboard the
: undoubted goodwill that exists? Replacing it from scratch is going to take
: a long time and a prospective 'RISC' company has MUCH TO DO to build up
: credibility in a wider market than the present enthusiast one.

You're assuming that they're in the slightest bit interested in that market.
The evidence suggests otherwise.

--
Dickon Hood

Due to binaries posted to non-binary newsgroups, my .sig is
temporarily unavailable. Normal service will be resumed as soon as
possible. We apologise for the inconvenience in the mean time.

Stuart Bell

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to

> > So is it farewell to Acorn, one of the grand old names of British
> > computing? Stan Boland, 38-year-old chief executive of Acorn Group has
> > decided the name "carries too much baggage" for a business burning a
> > trail in the brave new world of multimedia.
> >

Just a thought; two years ago, Apple was going down the tube - sales at
an all-time low, everyone believing that the Wintel steam-roller had
claimed its biggest victim.

And now, everything Apple-wise is on a roll. Not out of the woods yet,
but a situation inconceivable two years ago.

Like Acorn, new management was brought in.

Unlike Acorn, Jobs totally revitalised the company; cuts in product
lines; brilliant if controversial new product which appeals to peoples'
sense of style / being different / looks good. Did they change the name
of the company to get themselves out of the hole? Did they heck as like.

Does Bolland really think that people won't buy engineering know-how and
expertise and ready-to-use set-top-box designs from a company just
because of its name? After all, many similar products come from
companies in the Far East with almost unpronouncable names. Whilst the
Acorn name may have baggage that would harm retail sales, that doesn't
apply in the world in which the new company is supposed to be working.

Load of bollards, if you ask me. Feeble excuse for a lack of any real
ideas aout where the company is going.

Perhaps the demise of the Acorn desktop was inevitable, but Bolland et
al give the best impression of headless chickens I've seen in a long
time. Two months ago, manufacture of RPCs would continue; now they've
changed policy again. To run a company with an effective negative value
of many tens of millions of quid takes sod all skill.

Why not capitalise on the ARM share value and give up? Oh, of course,
then Stan Bolland would be out of a job. That would never do. Just sack
some more engineers instead. After all, what do they matter?

/end of rant/

--
Stuart Bell working in a Wintel-free zone.
PB-100 FAQ at www.argonet.co.uk/users/sabell/pb100.html
JR's Duo FAQ at www.argonet.co.uk/users/sabell/duo.html
Looking for an LC575 logic board - or a cheap LC630!

Dickon Hood

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to
In message <1dk69qv.3d5...@userp550.uk.uudial.com>
sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:

: Just a thought; two years ago, Apple was going down the tube - sales at an


: all-time low, everyone believing that the Wintel steam-roller had claimed
: its biggest victim.

: And now, everything Apple-wise is on a roll. Not out of the woods yet,
: but a situation inconceivable two years ago.

: Like Acorn, new management was brought in.

Erm, no. Quite the opposite. *Old* management was brought *back*, something
which won't happen to Acorn.

: Unlike Acorn, Jobs totally revitalised the company; cuts in product
: lines;

Erm...

: brilliant if controversial new product which appeals to peoples' sense of


: style / being different / looks good. Did they change the name of the
: company to get themselves out of the hole? Did they heck as like.

They're a touch bigger than Acorn are.

: Does Bolland really think that people won't buy engineering know-how and


: expertise and ready-to-use set-top-box designs from a company just
: because of its name? After all, many similar products come from
: companies in the Far East with almost unpronouncable names. Whilst the
: Acorn name may have baggage that would harm retail sales, that doesn't
: apply in the world in which the new company is supposed to be working.

Acorn screwed a number of companies, by all accounts. They won't be doing
any more business with a small, British company called 'Acorn'. If ex-Acorn
are lucky, these companies *may* deal with a small, British company *not*
called 'Acorn'.

: Load of bollards, if you ask me. Feeble excuse for a lack of any real


: ideas aout where the company is going.

Nope. They have ideas. Full steam ahead for DiTV and STBs.

: Perhaps the demise of the Acorn desktop was inevitable, but Bolland et


: al give the best impression of headless chickens I've seen in a long
: time. Two months ago, manufacture of RPCs would continue; now they've
: changed policy again. To run a company with an effective negative value
: of many tens of millions of quid takes sod all skill.

: Why not capitalise on the ARM share value and give up?

The thought had occured (to me, at least).

: Oh, of course, then Stan Bolland would be out of a job. That would never


: do. Just sack some more engineers instead. After all, what do they matter?

Erm, hmm. It wasn't *quite* like that... They closed their workstations
division and so laid off a number of people who were not required as a
result. By closing Workstations they can concentrate on their new core
business, which is DiTV. Oh, and sack != redundancy.

Stuart Bell

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to
Dickon Hood <dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:

> In message <1dk69qv.3d5...@userp550.uk.uudial.com>
> sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:
>
> : Just a thought; two years ago, Apple was going down the tube - sales at an
> : all-time low, everyone believing that the Wintel steam-roller had claimed
> : its biggest victim.
>
> : And now, everything Apple-wise is on a roll. Not out of the woods yet,
> : but a situation inconceivable two years ago.
>
> : Like Acorn, new management was brought in.
>
> Erm, no. Quite the opposite. *Old* management was brought *back*, something
> which won't happen to Acorn.

Perhaps it should. For all the flak that PB has got, he did have the
kind of pzazz that makes people take notice.

The 'old' was still 'new' in terms of changing company policy quite
dramatically. It also encouraged support for the company from users and
employees alike; they felt that they migt get somewhere.


>
> : Unlike Acorn, Jobs totally revitalised the company; cuts in product
> : lines;
>
> Erm...

Erm what?


>
> : brilliant if controversial new product which appeals to peoples' sense of
> : style / being different / looks good. Did they change the name of the
> : company to get themselves out of the hole? Did they heck as like.
>
> They're a touch bigger than Acorn are.

Indeed. But the bigger they are, the harder they fall. They were within
six months of going under. I'm not saying that the Acorn desktop line
could have been rescued by copying Apple's strategy; what I am comparing
is the difference in management styles:

Jobs the battler saying 'we can rise again'. Bolland et al changing
policy every three months.

> : Does Bolland really think that people won't buy engineering know-how and
> : expertise and ready-to-use set-top-box designs from a company just
> : because of its name? After all, many similar products come from
> : companies in the Far East with almost unpronouncable names. Whilst the
> : Acorn name may have baggage that would harm retail sales, that doesn't
> : apply in the world in which the new company is supposed to be working.
>
> Acorn screwed a number of companies, by all accounts. They won't be doing
> any more business with a small, British company called 'Acorn'. If ex-Acorn
> are lucky, these companies *may* deal with a small, British company *not*
> called 'Acorn'.
>
> : Load of bollards, if you ask me. Feeble excuse for a lack of any real
> : ideas aout where the company is going.
>
> Nope. They have ideas. Full steam ahead for DiTV and STBs.

Last year the NC, this year the DiTV and STBs.

In both cases, the market is so big that Acorn is again gambling that it
can compete in a huge field against huge players, many of whom could buy
them up for breakfast. Contrast with Apples highly focussed approach,
stripping off distractions like Newton.

> : Perhaps the demise of the Acorn desktop was inevitable, but Bolland et
> : al give the best impression of headless chickens I've seen in a long
> : time. Two months ago, manufacture of RPCs would continue; now they've
> : changed policy again. To run a company with an effective negative value
> : of many tens of millions of quid takes sod all skill.
>
> : Why not capitalise on the ARM share value and give up?
>
> The thought had occured (to me, at least).
>
> : Oh, of course, then Stan Bolland would be out of a job. That would never
> : do. Just sack some more engineers instead. After all, what do they matter?
>
> Erm, hmm. It wasn't *quite* like that... They closed their workstations
> division and so laid off a number of people who were not required as a
> result. By closing Workstations they can concentrate on their new core
> business, which is DiTV. Oh, and sack != redundancy.

The difference being?

Greg Hennessy

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to
On 16 Dec 1998 09:46:05 GMT, Jason Banham
<jason....@no.spam.thanks.UK.Sun.COM> wrote:

> ritual Phobeacide.

Let me guess, seppuku by anal impalement on a shiny yellow case. :-)

greg


Andrew Wineberg

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
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In message <ant16234...@jacorn.ibm.net>
James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:

> Actually, Andrew, I wonder if it IS possible to recycle the Acorn name
> and logo, short of paying a fortune to Boland Inc(redible)? Your legal
> comment on that point would be enlightening.

My legal comments? IANAL. HTH, HAND.

My non-legal comment? I think that Boland may have irreparably damaged
the Acorn brand. I wouldn't take tha name if they paid me.

Dickon Hood

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to
In message <1dk6qte.144...@userl226.uk.uudial.com>
sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:

: Dickon Hood <dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:

: > In message <1dk69qv.3d5...@userp550.uk.uudial.com>
: > sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:

: > : Just a thought; two years ago, Apple was going down the tube - sales at an
: > : all-time low, everyone believing that the Wintel steam-roller had claimed
: > : its biggest victim.

: > : And now, everything Apple-wise is on a roll. Not out of the woods yet,
: > : but a situation inconceivable two years ago.

: > : Like Acorn, new management was brought in.

: > Erm, no. Quite the opposite. *Old* management was brought *back*, something
: > which won't happen to Acorn.

: Perhaps it should. For all the flak that PB has got, he did have the
: kind of pzazz that makes people take notice.

Hmmm. He did that at the expense of killing the company (OK, OK, he
contributed rather heavily to its downfall).

: The 'old' was still 'new' in terms of changing company policy quite


: dramatically. It also encouraged support for the company from users and
: employees alike; they felt that they migt get somewhere.

This is true.

: > : Unlike Acorn, Jobs totally revitalised the company; cuts in product
: > : lines;

: > Erm...

: Erm what?

Product line has been cut. No RPC 2, probably not ROS 4 release, I don't see
any more RPCs being made, either.

[...]

: Jobs the battler saying 'we can rise again'. Bolland et al changing
: policy every three months.

Yes, fair point.

[...]

: > : Load of bollards, if you ask me. Feeble excuse for a lack of any real


: > : ideas aout where the company is going.

: > Nope. They have ideas. Full steam ahead for DiTV and STBs.

: Last year the NC, this year the DiTV and STBs.

: In both cases, the market is so big that Acorn is again gambling that it
: can compete in a huge field against huge players, many of whom could buy
: them up for breakfast. Contrast with Apples highly focussed approach,
: stripping off distractions like Newton.

I agree with this, without any question.

: > : Oh, of course, then Stan Bolland would be out of a job. That would


: > : never do. Just sack some more engineers instead. After all, what do
: > : they matter?

: > Erm, hmm. It wasn't *quite* like that... They closed their workstations
: > division and so laid off a number of people who were not required as a
: > result. By closing Workstations they can concentrate on their new core
: > business, which is DiTV. Oh, and sack != redundancy.

: The difference being?

Misconduct, etc. You sack someone for doing something wrong, and don't pay
them anything. You lay someone off because you don't need them any more, and
you give them lots of money to go away without any fuss.

Alastair France

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Dec 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/17/98
to
In article <cd684b648%dicko...@splurge.fluff.org>, Dickon Hood
<URL:mailto:dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:

(also in "conversation" with Stuart Bell)

>
> : > Erm, hmm. It wasn't *quite* like that... They closed their workstations
> : > division and so laid off a number of people who were not required as a
> : > result. By closing Workstations they can concentrate on their new core
> : > business, which is DiTV. Oh, and sack != redundancy.
>
> : The difference being?
>
> Misconduct, etc. You sack someone for doing something wrong, and don't pay
> them anything. You lay someone off because you don't need them any more, and
> you give them lots of money to go away without any fuss.
>

Technically you make someone redundant if you are losing that *position*
rather than the person and expecting to recruit someone else. There are very
important legal differences, and statutory payments (depending on length of
service etc.) that are paid to people that are made redundant.

There are various grounds for dismissing people - and care is needed for
virtually all of them!

BTW in many cases for gross misconduct the employer does end up paying the
employee for their notice period. It's not always necessary, but avoids
difficult legal situations.

As far as I am aware, all the people that went following the changes in
September were on the grounds of redundancy (their positions disappeared).

--
Alastair France
afr...@stet-os.demon.co.uk

Orjan Larsson

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
to
Dickon Hood <dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:

> Erm, hmm. It wasn't *quite* like that... They closed their workstations
> division and so laid off a number of people who were not required as a
> result. By closing Workstations they can concentrate on their new core
> business, which is DiTV. Oh, and sack != redundancy.

So a such a small company as Acorn had redundancy? If I had been Acorn,
and wanted to sack the thing that gives them most of their money
(Workstation?), when I would have gambled on some technology which sells
at least quite a bit today, and keep working on products for tomorrow.
Bet my underpants that an handheld from Acorn would had a better chance
giving Acorn a good revenue stream, than DiTV or NC or whatever.

If you are on the brink of going burst, when focus on the thing that can
give you money in the short time, while not forgetting the focus for the
long time. Of what I have understood, Acorn has forgot the short time
perspective.


/Orjan

Alastair France

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
to
In article <1dk7git.1bzr4m9uinrk0N@[192.168.29.1]>, Orjan Larsson

The use of the word "redundancy" here may be causing confusion to you Orjan.
It isn't the "computer" use of the term, meaning that you are (on purpose)
carrying spare capacity to deal with peaks / errors etc. - it is a technical
employment law specific term meaning that someone is losing their job
because the job isn't a job any more (that is, the company no longer has a
need for a person in that position).

Some english-speaking countries use the word "retrenchment" for the same
thing.

Also remember that revenue != profit (again using a UK specific use for the
term "revenue" - also "turnover" although it is quite widely used).

Someone in the business world once told me:

Turnover is vanity
Profit is sanity

Mind you - Acorn hadn't been entirely profitable recently either.


--
Alastair France
afr...@stet-os.demon.co.uk

James White

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
to
In article <18b6c8b548%dicko...@splurge.fluff.org>, Dickon Hood

<URL:mailto:dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:
> In message <ant16234...@jacorn.ibm.net>
> James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:
>
> [...]

>
> Are we going to throw overboard the undoubted goodwill that exists?
> Replacing it from scratch is going to take a long time and a
> prospective 'RISC' company has MUCH TO DO to build up credibility in a
> wider market than the present enthusiast one.
>
> You're assuming that they're in the slightest bit interested in that market.
> The evidence suggests otherwise.
>

I think you have misread something. Surely you don't have evidence that
the Steering people aka NewCo are disinterested? OK, that's me
deliberately misreading you.
It's just that I fear future marketing could be as narrow minded as in
the old regime.There is evidence that various programming teams are
beavering away, but no evidence of growing the market from the present
miniscule user-base, let alone market research to fathom what people
actually want.

James White

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
to
In article <48B5FB439D%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg

<URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
> In message <ant16234...@jacorn.ibm.net>
> James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:
>
> > Actually, Andrew, I wonder if it IS possible to recycle the Acorn name
> > and logo, short of paying a fortune to Boland Inc(redible)? Your legal
> > comment on that point would be enlightening.
>
> My legal comments? IANAL. HTH, HAND.
>

Looks like Ian's At Lunch; Hoy the Hammer and How Acorn Nuked !Draw.
Sorry, I'm not up with these abbreviations.

> My non-legal comment? I think that Boland may have irreparably damaged
> the Acorn brand. I wouldn't take tha name if they paid me.
>

Quite understandable. So lets get right away from that 'orrible logo,
reverse engineer RO, completely rewrite !Printers and package all in a
Black Box. Trumpet fanfares third week in January next.
Impossible. Unless some real money is raised from some Bourse next year,
we are stuck. Like pigs in the Matanza.

No, I was saying the new RISC company, The Riscue Foundation, son of
Steering Group, has got a job to bridge the gap between the old Acorn
name and the next incarnation and to do it constructively, without
throwing out the baby along with the bath water.

Just imagine:- EiRise Computers, or RisenShinen Komputer. Yea, it's
rapidly becoming a farce, thanks to BolAcland.

Paul Clifford

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Dec 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/18/98
to
In message <ant18101...@jacorn.ibm.net>
James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:

> In article <48B5FB439D%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg
> <URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
>
> > My legal comments? IANAL. HTH, HAND.
>
> Looks like Ian's At Lunch; Hoy the Hammer and How Acorn Nuked !Draw.
> Sorry, I'm not up with these abbreviations.

I Am Not A Lawyer. Hope That Helps, Have A Nice Day.

--
"Arthur! You're safe!" a voice cried.
"Am I?" said Arthur, rather startled. "Oh good."

Greg Harris

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Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
to
In message <36d7e1b548%dicko...@splurge.fluff.org>
Dickon Hood <dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:

> In message <1dk69qv.3d5...@userp550.uk.uudial.com>
> sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:
>
> : Just a thought; two years ago, Apple was going down the tube - sales at an
> : all-time low, everyone believing that the Wintel steam-roller had claimed
> : its biggest victim.
>
> : And now, everything Apple-wise is on a roll. Not out of the woods yet,
> : but a situation inconceivable two years ago.
>
> : Like Acorn, new management was brought in.
>
> Erm, no. Quite the opposite. *Old* management was brought *back*, something
> which won't happen to Acorn.
>

> : Unlike Acorn, Jobs totally revitalised the company; cuts in product
> : lines;
>
> Erm...
>

> : brilliant if controversial new product which appeals to peoples' sense of
> : style / being different / looks good. Did they change the name of the
> : company to get themselves out of the hole? Did they heck as like.
>
> They're a touch bigger than Acorn are.
>

> : Does Bolland really think that people won't buy engineering know-how and
> : expertise and ready-to-use set-top-box designs from a company just
> : because of its name? After all, many similar products come from
> : companies in the Far East with almost unpronouncable names. Whilst the
> : Acorn name may have baggage that would harm retail sales, that doesn't
> : apply in the world in which the new company is supposed to be working.
>
> Acorn screwed a number of companies, by all accounts. They won't be doing
> any more business with a small, British company called 'Acorn'. If ex-Acorn
> are lucky, these companies *may* deal with a small, British company *not*
> called 'Acorn'.
>

> : Load of bollards, if you ask me. Feeble excuse for a lack of any real
> : ideas aout where the company is going.
>
> Nope. They have ideas. Full steam ahead for DiTV and STBs.
>

> : Perhaps the demise of the Acorn desktop was inevitable, but Bolland et
> : al give the best impression of headless chickens I've seen in a long
> : time. Two months ago, manufacture of RPCs would continue; now they've
> : changed policy again. To run a company with an effective negative value
> : of many tens of millions of quid takes sod all skill.
>
> : Why not capitalise on the ARM share value and give up?
>
> The thought had occured (to me, at least).
>

> : Oh, of course, then Stan Bolland would be out of a job. That would never
> : do. Just sack some more engineers instead. After all, what do they matter?
>

> Erm, hmm. It wasn't *quite* like that... They closed their workstations
> division and so laid off a number of people who were not required as a
> result. By closing Workstations they can concentrate on their new core
> business, which is DiTV. Oh, and sack != redundancy.
>

I still think:
Same TW** behind the wheel, any road and the same inevitable disaster!!
Just like the (power) drunk driver.

The Acorn name still has a lot of Cred, ask any /informed/ PC user.
--
gr...@deloney.demon.co.uk

Alisdair McDiarmid

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Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
to
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

In message <ant18101...@jacorn.ibm.net>
James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:

> In article <48B5FB439D%A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM>, Andrew Wineberg
> <URL:mailto:A.Win...@BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
> > IANAL. HTH, HAND.
>
> Looks like Ian's At Lunch; Hoy the Hammer and How Acorn Nuked
> !Draw.

I Am Not A Lemon[1]. Hope This Helps, Have A Nice Day.

> Sorry, I'm not up with these abbreviations.

Neither am I. I just made those ones up.

> No, I was saying the new RISC company, The Riscue Foundation,
> son of Steering Group, has got a job to bridge the gap between
> the old Acorn name and the next incarnation and to do it
> constructively, without throwing out the baby along with the
> bath water.

Why not completely ignore the past? As long as everyone who
wants to know that it's an Acornesque computer does know, do you
think it matters? Will anyone in the market for a home computer
say `coo, an Acorn; I used one of those at school, we'll get
one of those.'

I doubt it.

> Just imagine:- EiRise Computers, or RisenShinen Komputer.

I'd rather not.

[1] Lemon == Lawyer
--
<alisdair mcdiarmid wrote this. while drunk. apologies>
<URL:http://www.illusion.co.uk/alisdair/>

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Tarcus

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Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
to
In article <367b540f...@nntp.netcomuk.co.uk>,
cmk...@cix.compulink.co.uk (Greg Hennessy) writes:

Whatever takes your fanct greg..

--
From the keyboard of Tarcus himself, running Linux in the UK.
-- There are no facts, only opinions --

Dickon Hood

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Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
to
In message <ant18112...@jacorn.ibm.net>
James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:

: In article <18b6c8b548%dicko...@splurge.fluff.org>, Dickon Hood
: <URL:mailto:dicko...@fluff.org> wrote:

: > In message <ant16234...@jacorn.ibm.net>
: > James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:

: > [...]

: > : Are we going to throw overboard the undoubted goodwill that exists?
: > : Replacing it from scratch is going to take a long time and a
: > : prospective 'RISC' company has MUCH TO DO to build up credibility in a
: > : wider market than the present enthusiast one.

You need to get your quoting fixed. I've reformatted the above.

: > You're assuming that they're in the slightest bit interested in that market.
: > The evidence suggests otherwise.

: I think you have misread something. Surely you don't have evidence that
: the Steering people aka NewCo are disinterested? OK, that's me
: deliberately misreading you.

Nope, you're quite right, I misread what you wrote.

: It's just that I fear future marketing could be as narrow minded as in


: the old regime.There is evidence that various programming teams are
: beavering away, but no evidence of growing the market from the present
: miniscule user-base, let alone market research to fathom what people
: actually want.

It's partly because of this that I have no faith in the rescue attempts.

Stuart Bell

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Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
to
Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> And if the Acorn name did indeed have a lot of "Cred" amongst these
> "informed" PC users, why have they not preferred to purchase the desktops
> sold under that brand name?

Because employees of companies entrusted with selling them have totally
lost confidence in the product?

Alan Wrigley

unread,
Dec 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/19/98
to

> In both cases, the market is so big that Acorn is again gambling that it
> can compete in a huge field against huge players, many of whom could buy
> them up for breakfast. Contrast with Apples highly focussed approach,
> stripping off distractions like Newton.

As opposed to Acorn's policy of a highly focussed approach to DiTV,
and stripping off distractions like Phoebe?

Alan

--
Alan Wrigley http://www.cybervillage.co.uk/alan/
Software engineer, photographer

Dave Santorum

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
In article <48B6A1115E%alis...@illusion.co.uk>, Alisdair McDiarmid

<URL:mailto:alis...@illusion.co.uk> wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
>
> In message <ant18101...@jacorn.ibm.net>
> James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:
>

>
> > No, I was saying the new RISC company, The Riscue Foundation,
> > son of Steering Group, has got a job to bridge the gap between
> > the old Acorn name and the next incarnation and to do it
> > constructively, without throwing out the baby along with the
> > bath water.
>
> Why not completely ignore the past? As long as everyone who
> wants to know that it's an Acornesque computer does know, do you
> think it matters? Will anyone in the market for a home computer
> say `coo, an Acorn; I used one of those at school, we'll get
> one of those.'

Well, there maybe one or two... Acorn got a brief mention via Hermann
Hauser in Wired recently (Acorn described as 'maker of the world's first
commercial microcomputer').

With Boland spending a lot of money on a new Millennium face, I think
it'd be nice to see Stan's New Co. fall apart rather than 'Acorn' fall
apart. Personally.

--
d a m a g e p e r s p e c t i v e s
http://www.crespo.demon.co.uk/


Alisdair McDiarmid

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

In message <ant20044...@crespo.demon.co.uk>
Dave Santorum <spam...@crespo.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> In article <48B6A1115E%alis...@illusion.co.uk>, Alisdair McDiarmid
> <URL:mailto:alis...@illusion.co.uk> wrote:
> > Will anyone in the market for a home computer say `coo, an
> > Acorn; I used one of those at school, we'll get one of
> > those.'

Tsk. Where's the question mark? Tsk.

> Well, there maybe one or two... Acorn got a brief mention via
> Hermann Hauser in Wired recently (Acorn described as 'maker of
> the world's first commercial microcomputer').

I hope he's referring to the BBC Model B, or perhaps the
Archimedes. Anyway, I doubt that Hermann Hauser's endorsement is
likely to make up for the Mickey-Mouse Computer image Acorn have
amongst most people.

> With Boland spending a lot of money on a new Millennium face,
> I think it'd be nice to see Stan's New Co. fall apart rather
> than 'Acorn' fall apart. Personally.

I don't altogether care what Mr. Boland does, and I fail to see
why most people in the Acorn community resent him. As far as I'm
concerned the Phoebe would certainly have been a commercial
flop, and while the decision to scrap the project was obviously
going to cause much irritation amongst the Acorn community, it
was probably the best decision for Acorn PLC.
--
<alisdair mcdiarmid wrote this. fLaSC.>
<URL:http://www.illusion.co.uk/alisdair/>

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Stuart Bell

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> In message <1dka2i3.1of...@userp625.uk.uudial.com>


> sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:
>
> > Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> >
> > > And if the Acorn name did indeed have a lot of "Cred" amongst these
> > > "informed" PC users, why have they not preferred to purchase the desktops
> > > sold under that brand name?
> >
> > Because employees of companies entrusted with selling them have totally
> > lost confidence in the product?
> >
>

> Hmm, now let's see.
>
> You switched to an Apple Mac with great fanfare several months ago (I seem to
> remember a post where you said you had lost faith in the product and its
> future) and I continue to own and use a variety of Acorn hardware.
>
> Now, run that comment about "lost confidence" you made by me again......
>
> ;-)

The difference is that I don't work for a company entrusted with selling
Acorn machines, which is co-owned by two computer companies, and which
happily sells computers made to a third 'industry standard' which has
already effectively killed off one of those two owning company's
conputer ranges, and would do likewise to the other were it not for the
risk of anti-monopolistic US government measures.

A bit like a car dealer with a Rover and a VW franchise (and jointly
owned by the companies in question) happily selling its customers Fords,
because "that's what the customers want."

;-)

Alastair France

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
In article <7cda6cb...@holsoft.demon.co.uk>, Steve Holroyd

<URL:mailto:s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> In message <ant20044...@crespo.demon.co.uk>
> Dave Santorum <spam...@crespo.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > With Boland spending a lot of money on a new Millennium face,
>
> He is?

>
> > I think it'd be nice to see Stan's New Co. fall apart rather than 'Acorn'
> > fall apart. Personally.
> >
>
> There are over a hundred jobs dependent upon Acorn's new strategy. I wish it
> every success.
>
> Personally.....
>

I agree with Steve on this one. Many of the people responsible for bringing
out the very machines that we all talk about on this group are still
employed by "the company formerly known as Acorn", a significant number of
whom I am fortunate enough to count as my friends.

Oh - and in case anyone says that that's easy for me to say, please remember
that until that day in September I was one of them.

Sadly, I believe that the action that was taken was necessary - possibly too
late - and I very much hope not - but necessary.

--
Alastair France
afr...@stet-os.demon.co.uk

Stuart Bell

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> In message <1dkbwwp.13e...@userp616.uk.uudial.com>


> sab...@argonet.co.uk (Stuart Bell) wrote:
> >
> > The difference is that I don't work for a company entrusted with selling
> > Acorn machines, which is co-owned by two computer companies, and which
> > happily sells computers made to a third 'industry standard' which has
> > already effectively killed off one of those two owning company's
> > conputer ranges, and would do likewise to the other were it not for the
> > risk of anti-monopolistic US government measures.
>

> Apple were able to arrest their decline through huge amounts of investment
> and innovation - it has little or nothing to do with US government measures.

I think we all know that if M$ had shafted Apple by refusing to do any
further development on Office 9x, or had even withdrawn it as a product,
which would have crippled Apple sales, then it would have been another
weapon for anti-M$ people to use against them. I referred to the _risk_
of government measures - I know that none have happened (yet).

Mark Gillman

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
In article <1dkbwwp.13e...@userp616.uk.uudial.com>, Stuart Bell
<URL:mailto:sab...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:

> because "that's what the customers want."

Think you'll find the line runs more along the lines of, "/if/ that's
what the customers want". IE, if a customer is going to buy a PC, why
shouldn't Xemplar sell it to them? At least this way the money goes
towards a company that still has /some/ sympathy to alternative
platforms, and the prospective purchaser will also have the chance
to hear the benefits of those platforms.


--
Mark Gillman

One time a cop pulled me over for running a stop sign. He said, "Didn't you
see the stop sign?" I said, "Yeah, but I don't believe everything I read."


Paul Vigay

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Dec 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/20/98
to
In article <f84c78b...@holsoft.demon.co.uk>,
Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> Every policy of Xemplar Education Ltd has to be approved by the Board which
> consists of equal representatives from both owning companies. Xemplar's role
> is to sell appropriate solutions to meet schools' IT needs. Some of those
> appropriate solutions, whether you or any other zealot is willing to concede
> the point or not, involve PC-based technologies.

PC's might be increasing their share of the education market, but they will
*never* be appropriate machines for education.

> At all times, Xemplar has followed the leads set by its parent companies.
> Xemplar did not kill off Acorn desktops, Acorn did. The fact is that there
> has been a sharp decline in the demand for Acorn desktop technologies over
> several years. If it had not been for Xemplar managing to arrest the long
> term downward trend in sales during its first year of operation, the
> likelihood is that the 1998 announcements might well have been made far
> earlier.

Perhaps Xemplar didn't do enough to promote Acorn? Although I'm aiming my
comments at Xemplar and not you Steve, so nothing personal, I've had personal
experience of Xemplar's non-existent Acorn marketing through my job at Bohunt
School. Considering the volume of stock that I've succeeded in making our
school buy over the last few years (nearly 1/3 million pounds worth of Acorn
kit), I often felt like it was an uphill struggle and that Xemplar weren't
bothered if we ordered from them or not. IN contrast RM often phoned up to
see if we wanted anything and if they could help (even if I did send them
packing with a flea in their ear!!). Xemplar never sent any reps down to see
us or to see how our equipment was doing. Had it not been for the fact that a
good friend of mine worked for Xemplar and often visited (in a personal
capacity) we'd have heard nothing from them at all.

Microsoft (sent them packing as well) even offered to sponsor us a Minibus -
but I managed to halt that as well! :-)

> At the end of the day, not enough people were buying or wanting Acorn
> desktops to make them economically viable in either the shorter or longer
> term. No amount of vitriol or recriminations can alter that fact.

Well I bought over 200 for our school and I've also ensured that around 30
people I know also bought Acorn machines in preference to PC rubbish.
Pity Xemplar couldn't have worked as hard (for no financial reward) as soon
of Acorn's dedicated Clan members.

> And I repeat, you exemplify the problem for Acorn in that you made the
> decision (as have so many other customers over the years) to switch to a
> different platform.

I too bought a PC (so I could install Linux and do EPOC 32 development), but
all it did was to reinforce my views of Acorn being a *far* superior platform.

> I will continue to use Acorns both at home and at work for as long as they
> are capable of carrying out the IT tasks I am required to do.

Good to hear that. As I said, this rant is not aimed at you personally, but
more exasperation at Xemplar's failed marketing where they could have helped
Acorn immeasureably in the last couple of years.

--
Paul Vigay
Acorn Programming,
ICQ: 15533406 __\\|//__ Internet Consultancy
Web: http://www.matrix.clara.net (` o-o ') & Web Design
BBS: +44 (0)1705 871531 (ansi,8n1) -----ooO-(_)-Ooo--------------------------

With or without?
Remove ".vogonpoetry" to reply by email.

James White

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
In article <7cda6cb...@holsoft.demon.co.uk>, Steve Holroyd
<URL:mailto:s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> In message <ant20044...@crespo.demon.co.uk>
> Dave Santorum <spam...@crespo.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > With Boland spending a lot of money on a new Millennium face,
>
> He is?
>
> > I think it'd be nice to see Stan's New Co. fall apart rather than 'Acorn'
> > fall apart. Personally.
> >
>
> There are over a hundred jobs dependent upon Acorn's new strategy. I wish it
> every success.
>
> Personally.....
>

Why, because it's British?
Funnily enough in my experience abroad it is the toffe-nosed Brits who
disdain to even look at the RPCs doing the rounds. The Spanish contacts
love them, genuinely.
I just wish Acorn had a team build like football clubs have. Put a
German in charge of developments, the French can have the multimedia
department, bring in more Spanish and Iti's to boost the software side,
etc, etc... then they would have been much less likely to score own
goals.

Andy Pickering

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
In article <f84c78b...@holsoft.demon.co.uk>,
Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> [snip] Apple were able to arrest their decline through huge amounts of

> investment and innovation - it has little or nothing to do with US
> government measures. Acorn, unfortunately, are a fraction of the size of
> Apple and have found that the costs of remaining competitive in the late
> 90s are simply too high.

> It managed to outlive any number of other computer manufacturers which
> were far larger in terms of sales, revenue and market-reach. Where are
> Commodore, Atari etc? The fact that it survived as long is a tribute to
> the management of that company and its shrewd investments in R&D.
> Unhappily, in the end, market forces have forced it to change its
> direction before it met the fate of so many other computer manufacturers
> in the past.

The logical conclusion of this is that the computer market will
_inevitably_ end up as a sterile monoculture with a single platform
holding complete dominion over the market and its users, no matter what
the merits/deficits of that technology maybe.

I find such a vision very sad and rather chilling.

However, such a situation is contrary to what should normally be expected
in a fast-evolving environment, where one would expect to find new and
innovative technologies constantly vying for success, with this continual
leap-frogging promoting accelerated development.

To stop the first situation from happening, the "minnows" need to find
some way in which they are invulnerable to the big fish. This is
effectively why Linux is thriving: because it is not a commercial
competitor, it cannot be attacked by normal financial/marketing methods.

I also believe that any technology monopoly will inevitably be unstable as
it will lead to stagnation and eventually be usurped by some new
contender. I always hoped that RiscOs would stay around and develop for
long enough to play a role in the post-Windows era: this _will_ happen,
and may well be metaphorically as bloody as the Russian revolution as
millions of PC's are suddenly realised to be worthless. (Well not much
change there ;-) ).

A colleague of mine once remarked that Microsoft were just too big to be
stopped. And it used to be said that a ship called the Titanic was
unsinkable...

Andy Pickering

--
********************************************************************
* Home:- Work:- *
* Andy Pickering Phoenix VLSI Consultants *
* an...@surtsey.demon.co.uk an...@phoenixvlsi.co.uk *
* 01788 536740 01327 357800 *
********************************************************************
* StrongArm RiscPC *
********************************************************************

Andy Pickering

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
In article <ant21113...@jacorn.ibm.net>,

James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:
> I just wish Acorn had a team build like football clubs have. Put a
> German in charge of developments, the French can have the multimedia
> department, bring in more Spanish and Iti's to boost the software side,
> etc, etc... then they would have been much less likely to score own
> goals.

You're not a Chelsea fan by any chance? ;-)

Dave Wisnia

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to

>
>> At all times, Xemplar has followed the leads set by its parent companies.
>> Xemplar did not kill off Acorn desktops, Acorn did. The fact is that there
>> has been a sharp decline in the demand for Acorn desktop technologies over
>> several years. If it had not been for Xemplar managing to arrest the long
>> term downward trend in sales during its first year of operation, the
>> likelihood is that the 1998 announcements might well have been made far
>> earlier.

Well snipped!

>Perhaps Xemplar didn't do enough to promote Acorn? As I said, this rant is


>not aimed at you personally, but more exasperation at Xemplar's failed
>marketing where they could have helped Acorn immeasureably in the
>last couple of years.
>

Sadly this has been Acorn in the last few years. Without marketing a
company cannot survive. The Acorn name has all but disappeared over the
last two years, and nobody, including Xemplar, has ever attempted to
sell me any Acorn computers. Is it any wonder that market share has
sunk?

As a primary school, with money to spend on NGfL, and wanting to replace
older computers, I have been astonished at Xemplar's lack of interest in
selling computers. On the other hand, having spoken to AJS, they didn't let
go - and so we purchased from them at a cheaper price than Xemplar could offer.

All I want are network ready StrongArm machines - but nobody wants to
sell me any!! However, daily mailshots usually include "The PC solution
for your primary needs", even fax messages too.
--
Best wishes,

Dave Wisnia
At home

Richard Walker

unread,
Dec 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/21/98
to
In message <48b7a4ab...@interalpha.vogonpoetry.co.uk>
Paul Vigay <pvi...@interalpha.vogonpoetry.co.uk> wrote:

> Perhaps Xemplar didn't do enough to promote Acorn? Although I'm aiming my
> comments at Xemplar and not you Steve, so nothing personal, I've had
> personal experience of Xemplar's non-existent Acorn marketing through my
> job at Bohunt School. Considering the volume of stock that I've succeeded
> in making our school buy over the last few years (nearly 1/3 million
> pounds worth of Acorn kit), I often felt like it was an uphill struggle
> and that Xemplar weren't bothered if we ordered from them or not. IN
> contrast RM often phoned up to see if we wanted anything and if they
> could help (even if I did send them packing with a flea in their ear!!).
> Xemplar never sent any reps down to see us or to see how our equipment
> was doing. Had it not been for the fact that a good friend of mine worked
> for Xemplar and often visited (in a personal capacity) we'd have heard
> nothing from them at all.

Can I just but in and second this?

A local school, who I help out, had exactly this treatment from RM (and not
even a phone call from Xemplar).

If this school were not already tied into an exclusive supply contract with
Apricot (there was no choice) they would have been buying RM kit in droves.
I also suspect that any other schools would readily buy from them because
of their marketing pressure (something Xemplar don't seem to have).


--
Richard.

"We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine."


Bill Oldroyd

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
Andy Pickering wrote:

> To stop the first situation from happening, the "minnows" need to find
> some way in which they are invulnerable to the big fish. This is
> effectively why Linux is thriving: because it is not a commercial
> competitor, it cannot be attacked by normal financial/marketing methods.

And the analogy is that if Acorn systems were to compete with MS
products they had
to concentrate on the strengths that MS couldn't easily attack.
Unfortunately, with
a lot of encouragement from groups like this, it was decided to go head
to head in
a feature war.

Bill

Andy Loukes

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
Andy Pickering wrote:
>
> In article <f84c78b...@holsoft.demon.co.uk>,
> Steve Holroyd <s...@holsoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> > It managed to outlive any number of other computer manufacturers which
> > were far larger in terms of sales, revenue and market-reach. Where are
> > Commodore, Atari etc? The fact that it survived as long is a tribute to
> > the management of that company and its shrewd investments in R&D.
> > Unhappily, in the end, market forces have forced it to change its
> > direction before it met the fate of so many other computer manufacturers
> > in the past.
>
> The logical conclusion of this is that the computer market will
> _inevitably_ end up as a sterile monoculture with a single platform
> holding complete dominion over the market and its users, no matter what
> the merits/deficits of that technology maybe.
>
> I find such a vision very sad and rather chilling.

That depends on the desktop computer industry continuing with the same
models it has used over the last 15 years.

I think will see a turn around from expensive hardware/software to
expensive (relatively) services.

There will be the inevitable increase in consumer computers with the
games console, TV, video and Hi-Fi all becomming more sofisticated and
flexable.

Hopefully with the current avalanche of open source we will see the
hardware platform becomming less important. In the next few years we
will see open hardware computers running open source software which is
very portable. I think there is already evidence of the market share of
the big hardware/software manufacturers reducing (eg Intel). If the
freedom cpu (http://euro.f-cpu.ml.org/) is successful I think we will
see a beginning equivalent to Linus releasing Linux in 1991. Give it
five years and the hardware will be in the same state as software is now
with people realising there are other ways of doing things!

Or we could all be running Windows + Intel and watch the development
slow as market share increases!

--
Andy Loukes My own opinions

Internet Business Development http://www.argonet.co.uk
Argo Interactive tel:+44 (0)1243 815 815
7 Dukes Court, Chichester, PO19 2FX fax:+44 (0)1243 815 805

Mark Gillman

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
In article <48b8221...@surtsey.demon.co.uk>, Andy Pickering
<URL:mailto:an...@surtsey.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> The logical conclusion of this is that the computer market will
> _inevitably_ end up as a sterile monoculture with a single platform
> holding complete dominion over the market and its users, no matter what
> the merits/deficits of that technology maybe.
>
> I find such a vision very sad and rather chilling.

<soapbox>

Sadly, I suspect that this may be the only way in which information
technology can become properly integrated with our lives (whether we
actually want this is another Q). As long as there are incompatabilities
and confusion, people are always going to be a bit frightened of
computers. There was a time when I would have browbeaten people about
how great Acorns are (which I do still believe) but these days, with
Windows so pervasive, if someone struggling for a grip on the world of
computers only knows about Bill's software then it's easier and kinder
to just let them be. It's so hard to tell someone to buy an
'alternative' platform when you know they're going to come back and ask
you how come they can't buy this software package at PC world, play this
game, or use this printer/camera/drive/expansion card.

I'll bet most of you who drive, drive a car with an internal combustion
engine, and I'll also bet that in the majority of cases it's petrol
fuelled rather than diesel. Now there may be 'better' and 'more
efficient' ways of powering a vehicle, but if you can't pull into just
any petrol station and refuel you car, what's the point? It's just
easier and less hassle to go with the flow, and ignore the better
technologies because it makes your life easier.

I'll temper this slightly by adding that a) yes, I'm still a big fan
of Acorns although I'm not blind to the benefits to be had elsewhere
and b) yes, I know that even if the whole world ran Windows we would
hardly do away with problems of incompatabilities and confusion :-/

The whole industry needs to grow up and settle down, IMHO. This rate
of change is all very well, but it does nothing to help those who have
yet to set foot into the world of IT; in fact, the more it happens the
less likely they are to try and take part. iMac designers can rattle on
for as long as they like about how people don't want ugly boxes sitting
in the front rooms, but I suspect the problem lies a little bit deeper
than the skin on the outside of the box.

</soapbox>

Stuart Bell

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
Mark Gillman <ma...@gillmen.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> iMac designers can rattle on
> for as long as they like about how people don't want ugly boxes sitting
> in the front rooms, but I suspect the problem lies a little bit deeper
> than the skin on the outside of the box.

Indeed. Internally a CPU that will beat any Pentia up to at least
300Mhz, and probably more; the ability to get connected to the net
within 10 minutes with no problems; a compact footprint; an alternative
to grey/beige rounded-off rectangular boxes; the knowledge the that
whole computer has been designed to work as a unit, rather than being
put together with what was available on that day; good office s/w, an
ever widening range of games s/w; and OS that is far more robust than
W98 (if less so than Risc OS); a price that will fall by abour 25% in
February. . . . . . . . .

Acorn/Phoebe had several of the above benefits, also, of course. Shame.

Stuart Bell

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
Bill Oldroyd <Bill.O...@bl.uk> wrote:

> And the analogy is that if Acorn systems were to compete with MS
> products they had
> to concentrate on the strengths that MS couldn't easily attack.
> Unfortunately, with
> a lot of encouragement from groups like this, it was decided to go head
> to head in
> a feature war.

Which features in particular?

Dave Roberts

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
In article <367FE6...@bl.uk>, Bill Oldroyd

<URL:mailto:Bill.O...@bl.uk> wrote:
> Andy Pickering wrote:
>
> > To stop the first situation from happening, the "minnows" need to find
> > some way in which they are invulnerable to the big fish. This is
> > effectively why Linux is thriving: because it is not a commercial
> > competitor, it cannot be attacked by normal financial/marketing methods.

Unfortunately, for the majority of businesses, giving their product away
for free is not an option to increase survivability...

> And the analogy is that if Acorn systems were to compete with MS
> products they had to concentrate on the strengths that MS couldn't easily
> attack.

I fail to see any strengths that Acorn could concentrate on that MS
couldn't easily attack, except perhaps, for the one they are currently
using.

> Unfortunately, with a lot of encouragement from groups like this, it was
> decided to go head to head in a feature war.

Acorn made desktop computers that did not use MS products. How could they
not go head to head in the features they offered?

--
Dave Roberts

Da...@pharpech.demon.co.uk
mrp...@leeds.ac.uk


Dave Clare - Home

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
In message <e3f310b848%d...@wisnia.demon.co.uk>
Dave Wisnia <d...@wisnia.demon.co.uk> wrote:

If you want anything in future, particularly if you know WHAT you want then
give us at Clares Micro Supplies a chance to quote.

New telephone number from 11/1/99 01606 833999.

Dave

--
Dave Clare - at home

dave lawton

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to

Dave Clare - Home <da...@cowlane.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in article
<fca9db848%da...@cowlane.freeserve.co.uk>...


> In message <e3f310b848%d...@wisnia.demon.co.uk>
> Dave Wisnia <d...@wisnia.demon.co.uk> wrote:

snip


> > As a primary school, with money to spend on NGfL, and wanting to
replace
> > older computers, I have been astonished at Xemplar's lack of interest
in
> > selling computers. On the other hand, having spoken to AJS, they didn't
let
> > go - and so we purchased from them at a cheaper price than Xemplar
could offer.
> >
> > All I want are network ready StrongArm machines - but nobody wants to
> > sell me any!! However, daily mailshots usually include "The PC solution
> > for your primary needs", even fax messages too.
>
> If you want anything in future, particularly if you know WHAT you want
then
> give us at Clares Micro Supplies a chance to quote.
>
> New telephone number from 11/1/99 01606 833999.

I'll agree with what Dave Clare has said - 'Acorn' dealers would be only
too glad to help (in the past both price issues and Acorns reluctance to
let anybody compete with Xemplar for primary/secondary education has
prevented this). If you indicate the area of the country where you reside
then perhaps the nearest dealer/CoT will announce themselves. :)

Dave Lawton
--
Etc. Computers
Still selling Acorns
Doncaster South Yorkshire

James White

unread,
Dec 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/22/98
to
In article <48b8244...@surtsey.demon.co.uk>, Andy Pickering

<URL:mailto:an...@surtsey.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> In article <ant21113...@jacorn.ibm.net>,
> James White <jac...@ibm.net> wrote:
> > I just wish Acorn had a team build like football clubs have.
>
> You're not a Chelsea fan by any chance? ;-)
>

Er, Mallorca, actually. 8-)

And that IS a good example of mixed nationality getting to the top of the
league. Only 4 Mallorquin players, the rest are from Africa, Yugaslavia, SPAIN
even. And they are beating the giants all the way.

Risc Foundation take note...

I guess there's too much else to do now for Xmas, so toodlepip till after.

FELIZES NAVIDADES

--
----------------
Acorns in Sp.. sorry, Baleares :) Tel:+34 971 872322 Fax:+34 971 872309
----------------

Stuart Bell

unread,
Dec 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/23/98
to
dave lawton <e...@cwcom.net> wrote:

> > If you want anything in future, particularly if you know WHAT you want
> then > give us at Clares Micro Supplies a chance to quote. > > New
> telephone number from 11/1/99 01606 833999.
>
> I'll agree with what Dave Clare has said - 'Acorn' dealers would be only
> too glad to help (in the past both price issues and Acorns reluctance to
> let anybody compete with Xemplar for primary/secondary education has
> prevented this). If you indicate the area of the country where you reside
> then perhaps the nearest dealer/CoT will announce themselves. :)

Does this mean that the Acorn-Xemplar tie up is tryly dead and buried
with the transfer of retail sales to Castle?

Mike Enderby

unread,
Dec 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/23/98
to
Stuart Bell wrote:
>
> dave lawton <e...@cwcom.net> wrote:
>
> > > If you want anything in future, particularly if you know WHAT you want
> > then > give us at Clares Micro Supplies a chance to quote. > > New
> > telephone number from 11/1/99 01606 833999.
> >
> > I'll agree with what Dave Clare has said - 'Acorn' dealers would be only
> > too glad to help (in the past both price issues and Acorns reluctance to
> > let anybody compete with Xemplar for primary/secondary education has
> > prevented this). If you indicate the area of the country where you reside
> > then perhaps the nearest dealer/CoT will announce themselves. :)
>
> Does this mean that the Acorn-Xemplar tie up is tryly dead and buried
> with the transfer of retail sales to Castle?

Hmm, now following this through, since Acorn are no longer in the
business
of desktop computers and they have passed all distribution over to
Castle,
it would be logical for them to dispose of their interest in Xemplar.


--
Mike Enderby
Oracle Corporation
The views expressed above are mine alone.

Peter Smith

unread,
Dec 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/29/98
to
In message <ant22215...@mark.gillmen.demon.co.uk>
Mark Gillman <ma...@gillmen.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> In article <1dkfxvv.1d2...@usero385.uk.uudial.com>, Stuart Bell
> <URL:mailto:sab...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:
>

[ snip ]

>
> > the knowledge the that whole computer has been designed to work as a
> > unit, rather than being put together with what was available on that day;
>

> This is the case with every computer, as far as the average punter is
> concerned. You don't care which brand of floppy disk Acorn User attach to
> the front of the magazine, so long as it works - yes?
>

In the building of PCs it's completely different though! (IMO!)

Take my homebrew PC for example....

For my PC I _specified_ motherboard brand (ABIT BH6) , CPU brand (450 Celeron
A), soundcard brand (Soundblaster 64 PCI), RAM (64Mb of PC100) etc etc.

A bought PC will be made with whatever components that the supplier managed
to get at the best deal. This means that the motherboard, RAM etc will change
from batch to batch. Sure, you get an average PC, but you don't get a _good_
PC.

In the office, we've got 4 PCs. 1 Gateway 2000. 1 Time Cyrix 686 (I mean
_why_ ;-). 2 x homebrew made from specified bits.

We've had far less trouble with the homebrew ones than we've had with the 2
'pre made' ones. The Time one infact is an absolute nightmare. Not only does
it have an (IMO) awful processor, but it also uses old (looks like 60ns
72 pin SIM = cheap IMO) RAM, shares this RAM with the built in SIS video
system, so the video speed and refresh is awful (with 15 icons on the
backdrop, moving a window over the screen, you can see each icon being drawn
individually). It's also got integrated SIS sound which was a nightmare to
get the drivers working for.

(FWIW, don't take this last statement as anything derogatory of the Acorn
integrated graphics - at least Acorn had the decency to put better RAM for
the video system)

It will _not_ run stable.

> > good office s/w, an ever widening range of games s/w; and OS that is far
> > more robust than W98 (if less so than Risc OS); a price that will fall by
> > abour 25% in February. . . . . . . . .
>

> So really, nothing that sets it apart from anything else in the eyes of
> someone who knows no better. When every manufacturer is telling them the
> same thing, what are they supposed to think?
>

Unless they can make up their mind, they don't deserve to own a computer ;-)

(BTW, if you missed it, :-)

Peter

--
To reply by mail, change .com to .co in my email address
54 things to do in a lift....
33. When the lift is silent, look around and ask "is that your beeper?"

Stuart Bell

unread,
Dec 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/30/98
to
Mark Gillman <ma...@gillmen.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> In article <1dkfxvv.1d2...@usero385.uk.uudial.com>, Stuart Bell
> <URL:mailto:sab...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:
>

> > Indeed. Internally a CPU that will beat any Pentia up to at least
> > 300Mhz, and probably more;
>

> Now you're talking about speed, not usability; my point precisely.
> People care about the what, not the how or the how fast. The range
> of megas and kilos spouted at people can only serve to confuse.

But megas sell machines, like it or not. And Mac OS devotees have always
claimed better usability than with Windross.


>
> > the ability to get connected to the net
> > within 10 minutes with no problems;
>

> Yes, well. Marketing BS, I would strongly suspect - no problems,
> guaranteed?

Ready-configured for about 6 of the main UK ISPs out of the box.

> > a compact footprint; an alternative
> > to grey/beige rounded-off rectangular boxes;
>

> Back to the prettiness of the box again....

But it sells. You can't separate technical advantage from marketability,
otherwise you end up with a technologically superb product that no one
buys, and then what happens? ;-)



> > the knowledge the that
> > whole computer has been designed to work as a unit, rather than being
> > put together with what was available on that day;
>
> This is the case with every computer, as far as the average punter is
> concerned. You don't care which brand of floppy disk Acorn User attach
> to the front of the magazine, so long as it works - yes?

Not for people buying their second or third machines, who had problems
with card conflicts, etc etc



> > good office s/w, an
> > ever widening range of games s/w; and OS that is far more robust than
> > W98 (if less so than Risc OS); a price that will fall by abour 25% in
> > February. . . . . . . . .
>
> So really, nothing that sets it apart from anything else in the eyes
> of someone who knows no better. When every manufacturer is telling them
> the same thing, what are they supposed to think?

That the iMac would look a damn site better in the corner of their
living room than a beige breeze block? ;-) Style sells. Perceived
quality sells. People pay for 'design'. With the iMac, what's inside is
pretty good as well. ;-)

Stuart Bell

unread,
Dec 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/30/98
to
Peter Smith <pol...@ursaminr.demon.com.uk> wrote:

> The Time one infact is an absolute nightmare.

Aren't they all? "No-one ever kept his job by ordering from Time".

Darren Winsper

unread,
Dec 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/31/98
to
> > Now you're talking about speed, not usability; my point precisely.
> > People care about the what, not the how or the how fast. The range
> > of megas and kilos spouted at people can only serve to confuse.
>
> But megas sell machines, like it or not. And Mac OS devotees have always
> claimed better usability than with Windross.

Unfortunately, they can't claim even equal reliability or software base
or price or...

> >
> > > the ability to get connected to the net
> > > within 10 minutes with no problems;
> >
> > Yes, well. Marketing BS, I would strongly suspect - no problems,
> > guaranteed?
>
> Ready-configured for about 6 of the main UK ISPs out of the box.

What, you mean it comes ready-configured for Freeserve?

> > So really, nothing that sets it apart from anything else in the eyes
> > of someone who knows no better. When every manufacturer is telling them
> > the same thing, what are they supposed to think?
>
> That the iMac would look a damn site better in the corner of their
> living room than a beige breeze block? ;-) Style sells. Perceived
> quality sells. People pay for 'design'.

To me and a couple of my friends, the IMac just looks cheap.

> With the iMac, what's inside is
> pretty good as well. ;-)

I wouldn't say so. According to the speed tests in PCPro (I think), it
was slow compared with other Macs.


Stuart Bell

unread,
Dec 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/31/98
to
Darren Winsper <darren....@easynet.co.uk> wrote:

> I wouldn't say so. According to the speed tests in PCPro (I think), it
> was slow compared with other Macs.

It's about 10% down on top end G3 - Macs, which means about twice as
fast (less 10%) than similarly clock-rated PIIs. So comparison with SAs
would not be a problem. ;-)

dgs

unread,
Dec 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/31/98
to
In article <1dkwsej.13y...@userm938.uk.uudial.com>,
Stuart Bell <sab...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:

> It's about 10% down on top end G3 - Macs, which means about twice as
> fast (less 10%) than similarly clock-rated PIIs. So comparison with SAs
> would not be a problem. ;-)

Are we talking about the iMac here?

This was the Mac to which you couldn't add more than 2MB VRAM, right?

And people were complaining about the Phoebe being "behind the times",
as it couldn't be upgraded beyond 4MB VRAM?

Hmm :-)

--
d...@argonet.co.uk

Manchester Acorn User Group - http://www.acorn.manchester.ac.uk/
RPC x86 Card Info Pages - http://acorn.cybervillage.co.uk/pccard/

"Your machine is NOT dead until it stops working" - Ian Gledhill


Andy McMullon

unread,
Dec 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM12/31/98
to
In article <1dkwsej.13y...@userm938.uk.uudial.com>, Stuart Bell
<URL:mailto:sab...@argonet.co.uk> wrote:
> Darren Winsper <darren....@easynet.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > I wouldn't say so. According to the speed tests in PCPro (I think), it
> > was slow compared with other Macs.
>
> It's about 10% down on top end G3 - Macs, which means about twice as
> fast (less 10%) than similarly clock-rated PIIs. So comparison with SAs
> would not be a problem. ;-)

Is that in use in everyday tasks - or in stupid benchmarks that bear no
relation to what most of us actually do with computers?

--
Andy: skyp...@bigfoot.com / http://www.mcfamily.demon.co.uk

Sendu Bala

unread,
Jan 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/1/99