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Amiga Dealers Suing Amiga Inc./Gateway 69

cluke writes "The Amiga Dealer's Association are suing Gateway and Amiga Inc. over breach of promise. It seems they're not too happy about being strung along for so long by Gateway. " Suing to the tune of somewhere around three million dollars US, but the web page points out something - the ADA is suing Amiga, Inc. Amiga, Inc has no money, and GW2k [?] is protected from damages legally. The full text of the filing, with commentary is online for the reading.
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Amiga Dealers Suing Amiga Inc./Gateway

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  • I agree Amiga users need to let go, but you have to admit, ITS SO HARD. I want to keep the wishful thinking, ie, there will be a super new system soon, they're just holding out. But until I can fully let go, I'll still hope. At work, we have an Amiga hooked into our Mac network. I also have an Amiga emulator. Maybe it truly is time to put them to rest. *sigh*
  • Hrm.... I thought Andover and Amiga were completely unrelated companies. But maybe it's just me.

  • The SEC might have something to say about this. Spinoffs, mergers and other events between companies are scrutinzed pretty carefully. I'd imagine that a transaction like that between a company and its privately owned holding would be very much the same.
  • The simple reason we don't want to let go (and this is coming from someone who basically has let go) is simple: there's just so many little things that we like that we can't get elsewhere. Yes, there outdated, but in many ways (the OS, almost entirely) the Amiga is still a wonderful little box. And if someone would only update it we'd all be happy again.

    OK, maybe we're being a little unrealistic, but it's not entirely impossible and we can dream. So can't we just be left alone to quietly dream in the corner by ourselves, without getting insulted periodically for this?

  • Btw has C=s old CEO Mr ALI died yet? that <expletive deleted>, remember he was part of prudential which is the cause of amigas death.

    Medhi Ali? As I understood it, he was Commodore staff, but never mind. No idea what he's doing now, but I think it's safe to say that most Amiga owners would happily have seen either him or Irving Gould out of the picture - not suggesting murder, my being a nice christian :)

    Seriously, look back at '85 - way ahead of the competition. Apple were (by all accounts) absolutely terrified of this box, as it was just better than the Mac. Why did they relax? Because Commodore mismanaged the whole thing horribly.

    I'd love to see if either of them (if still around) would have the guts to appear at an Amiga conference :)

  • I submitted this to /. today (10-29-99) and was rejected - I am putting this here if it comes up later - because it seems that everytime I submit a story, it gets rejected, then someone else submits the SAME DAMN THING THE NEXT DAMN DAY and it is accepted! What is up with that??? Case in point - I submitted the info on the OpenDesk thing TWO DAYS AGO - it was rejected, but now, today someone else gets it (Public Beta For OpenDesk [])?? If you notice, it was posted by Hemos saying that Isaac-Lew sent it thier way - FALSE! That is FUBAR - Bah!

    Gateway Looking to Hire Amiga Development Team []

    Yes, this is a rant - but a justified one, I think. I also think I deserve some kind of response as to why this happened and why my "scoop" on either of these stories was bad. I realize I may be wrong on the Amiga thing - ie. maybe the employment posting is old news (no date on it, so I couldn't check) - however, the OpenDesk thing ISN'T - so give me an answer as to why, if you dare!
  • Actually the Amiga would not be at odds with MS. I remember when I have my Amiga 500 the main competition was with the Mac. If the Amiga was still around in full power today it would be competing with Apple and not MS.

    The reason for this is that the Amiga was an amazing graphic machine for its time. With Deluxe Paint being a revolutionary program that gave you a lot of tools to create graphics, but also included the abilty to generate animations and do morphing. There was also a nice 3D modeling software program available that worked very well on the limited processor power and memeory available. I managed to generate 3 fully textured, 3D modeled frames on my 500 with only 1 meg of memory and no hard drive. Pretty impressive to me.

    Also the hardware architecture was similar to what is being made today. Using a seperate processor to handle the graphic display is something that we have been seeing with current graphic cards.

    I always saw the Amiga as being a graphic powerhouse and not so much a business system. So MS would not be the competition, but Apple. Even though it is dead here in the US, I have heard that there is still a following in Europe and Japan.
  • by Shaheen ( 313 )
    I'm reading this quote at the bottom of the page right at this moment. Maybe it applies here:

    It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

    - Shaheen
  • You think they don't have capital to work with? You need money to setup business.
    You think every Amiga Inc employee doesn't get paid? Nobody works for free.

    Having not sold anything yet means nothing. Of course they have money.
  • I forgot to add...
    Personally, I hope this will change Amiga's decision to not bring out any hardware. I for one was looking forward to getting the first new Amiga in town. Always have been, no matter what the cost.

    Amiga can go on with their current plans, but why not diversify. Give the Amiga community what they have always wanted.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because they're such noisy people, and it's annoying.

    Amiga users are the Trotskyites of computing.
  • What carpet are you talking about? All I see is a small dried-up rag that should have been thrown out years ago, but you were just to stubborn to admit it.

    Basically, JUST MOVE ON!!!!
  • This might work. Remember that the law suit hasn't been filed, hasn't been one and Amiga isn't bankrupt yet. Not only that but the intellectual property would go to the highest bidder.

    I think some thought needs to be put into what the Amiga was: powerful for the time, tight integration of audio and video, user friendliness. With modern hardware such as fast 3D acceleration, frame grabbers, firewire and so on it should be possible to build the audio/video around a Linux infrastructure. There's still a lack of software to make use of these features. A trust to foster development in this area might be more helpful to the community.
  • ii. Amiga will establish a claims fund in the amount of $3,902,500 for the purpose of reimbursing anyone who had to make out-of-warranty repairs due to a previously used part being included in an Amiga computer sold as new. For any claim in excess of $100, Amiga may require such additional information as it believes appropriate, including documentation that the claimed damage or repair was necessary due to the presence of a previously used part that was reinstalled in the computer. If claims exceed or are expected to exceed $3,902,500, the claims fund will be apportioned among claimants in a manner to be determined by the Court. Any unclaimed balance in the claims fund after one year will be returned to Amiga, except as follows: any amounts up to $100,000 will be donated to public schools or charitable organizations as chosen by Class Counsel (with Amiga's approval, which shall not be unreasonably withheld) and approved by the Court for the purchase of computer hardware and/or software, or, at Amiga's option, Amiga will instead donate an equivalent amount (up to $100,000) worth of computer hardware and/or software (valued at wholesale prices) etc etc.

    So who wins here? Amiga certainly doesn't lose. They manufactured computers with used parts fraudulently advertised as new. In court, they probably would have been required to pay punitive damages as well, but here they pay only the actual cost of repairs, and anyone who has a repair claim over $100 has to prove that the damage was due to a used part. Any amount that is left over after a year Amiga gets to keep, and they under no circumstances have to pay more than the $3.9M in the fund. There is the $100,000 donation bit, but they don't have to pay that in cash; rather they can choose to unload some of their old Amiga inventory sitting around gathering dust. So Amiga wins in the respect that they have to pay significantly less than they may very well have been forced to otherwise.

    But who are the real winners? Well, reading on a bit in the settlement:

    As part of this Settlement, Amiga has also agreed to pay all costs of notice and administration of this Settlement, as well as attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses to Class Counsel in the aggregate amount of $964,000, subject to Court approval.

    So as you can see, the real winners are the lawyers for the Amiga dealers, who get paid nearly $1,000,000 for negotiating a settlement which clearly favors Amiga, Inc!

  • The irony of the name has never escaped me. I have friends who break their Amiga boxes out of the closet every couple of years, network them, upgrade them, drop them into Bodega Bay boxes ("Oh, look, now it looks like an XT, not just a c-128...), and do everything in their power to make the box viable. Which, I realize, it is in many situations.

    But really, it translates loosely as "girl friend," and it just seems that noone is willing to let go.... :]
  • Sure, Amiga may have no money, but they do have assets, i.e. patents....
  • If this is what could really go down, it's a crying shame. I understand the ADA's stand here -- they have been strung along, but it's really not anyone's fault, in particular. I think the whole Amiga situation can be chalked up to a big "whoops" and poor planning.

    The real irony would be if Amiga was really about to release a new system based on the infamous super-secret Transmeta chip and they were prevented from doing so because the ADA knocked them out of business before they could go into actual production.

    ...I think it's about time the Amiga was put to bed for good. Sorry, guys.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I see the reason for suing, when it came down to the wire Gateway showed absolutely no spine whatsoever and a number of other companies were hung out to dry.

    While I was completely amazed by the announcements that they were dropping the hardware, it was amazement at Gateway for being so spineless, it wasn't amazement at Amigas not coming to market.

    I know that there are some hardcore Amiga fans out there that are going to be pissed about this, but really, if you ever needed a sign that it's time to move on, this would be it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well to me it seems they're trying to sue a
    corpse. For me the Amiga has died years ago.
    But as if a beloved one has died, some don't
    want to accept it and take the rotting for
    sign of life ;-).
  • Wouldn't it be nice if the suit could
    some how force the GPL'ing of the AmigaOS
    instead of getting the cash????

    (This coming from someone who didnt' stop using
    their A2000 7Mhz machine till late '97.)
  • It's been too long since a new gateway - they should either come out with a new machine like they promised, or:
    I think they should subcontract out the machine - maybe the folks that make the "boxer" clone motherboard? It would allow gateway to put a new machine out without having to develop it themselves.
    Just a thought.
  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @04:56AM (#1581558)
    Filing for bankruptcy doesn't nullify all your debts. If Amiga is successfuly sued and they don't have the cash they can file for bankruptcy. In this event all the intellectual property and physical assets will be sold and the money generated used to pay debts off according to some scheme agreed upon in court.

    From the tone of the linked article the author seems to feel that this lawsuit jeapordizes the future of the Amiga. From the various news items on the Amiga this past summer its pretty clear that Amiga doesn't intend to build a device called the Amiga that Amiga owners would want to buy. Hence the lawsuit. Perhaps the patents would be bought by somebody willing to actually do something interesting with them. In other words the probability of a new Amiga being built goes from vanishingly small to... vanishingly small.

    Maybe the best thing that would come out of bankruptcy would be for some third party to buy the source code to the Amiga and declare it Open Source. There would be no new hardware but some of the concepts might be preserved.
  • I hope they succeed, because Gateway pulled out the carpet from under my feet, the BASTARDS.
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @04:57AM (#1581560) Homepage
    Spinning off the "offending" division doesn't absolve a company of it's liability in many cases- GW2K's still liable for the breach since it was performed while they were running it officially.
  • While I'm all for punishing Amiga Inc. for all they've done (and not done), I don't see how this could possibly work. Did Amiga Inc. ever sign any documents that specifically promised the dealers anything, anything at all? I have to doubt that you can sue someone for a press release that promised something Real Soon Now...
  • This may be impractical, but it would be cool...

    There's still pretty nice stuff in the AmigaOS, which could be, for example, folded into linux.

    There's amiga news available on []

    Or someone could add the CAOS specced libraries into the AmigaOS (CAOS was the DOS specification that was originally intended to be used on the Amiga, but wasn't finished in time) instead of AmigaDOS (based on TriPOS) into the amigaos. This would yield a high speed, small memory footprint OS that would possibly work well for palmtops / embedded devices. (It'd be better than PalmOS, and (initially) slightly worse than EPOC32...)

  • I really doubt the total value of those patents will come even CLOSE to $3 million.

    No, but think about it. The plaintiffs could offer to settle the case in exchange for all of Amiga's intellectual property, including patents, licenses on the OS, etc.

    That's what I'd do if I were the plaintiffs.

  • This is also the first step to bankrupcy, isolating your distribution network. If Gateway/Amiga had shipped good systems to begin with, this would have been avoided. Their shipping rebuilts as new was the problem (my system was one of those effected) so their paying for it is merely money they lost due to lack of foresight.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 1999 @05:10AM (#1581566)
    Upon reading paragraph A of the actual legal text, it appears that Amiga Intl. and/or Gateway sold computers and/or computer parts directly to customers. Said computers/parts were covered under an agreement with the Amiga Dealers Association that stated that only the ADA could sell them to customers. This makes sense, since dealers lose money if the manufacturer sells product directly.

    The legal text goes on to say that both parties have discussed the matter and have come to a mutually agreeable settlement of $3 million. This money will probably come from the sale(s) that Gateway/Amiga Intl. made that violated the dealers' agreement.
  • With a company in as bad shape as Amiga now-a-days, whether it wins or loses the lawsuit, its still sunk. The legal costs of a corporate lawsuit are extraordinary, and many small companies have been sunk by larger ones simply by being sued with no ability to pay for their defense.

    So Amiga wins. What then? They have no money left to sue ADA to get any of their money back. What then? Amiga is left in a big hole, and off go all its better employees to work at TransMeta. The worse ones go off and work at Loblaws.

    Such is life.
  • I think they ought to GPL the AmigaOS, if they're going to kill Amiga dead. I think it would be neat; you could see what's going on in there (unless, we already know, in which case, oops), and you'd have something else to toy with, and for pete's sake: if nothing else "good" is going to come of this (besides some people's feathers will get smoothed, and Amiga will finally be dumped for good, right?), something should.. and GPLing the OS sounds good enough to me..
  • Nice try at an analogy but your wrong. Amiga is actually just a friend who is female. "Girlfriend" as in a romantic/lover/whatever is: Novia
  • "This just in: The Amiga is still dead."

    I feel like we're on a death watch now, ever since the early '90s. The patient rallied briefly and was going to get a hardware transplant, but the doctors decided not to perform the surgery - now the patient is back on the death watch. Bummer.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by emmons ( 94632 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @05:21AM (#1581579) Homepage
    I think that Mark Tierno's outcome of this is a little far-fetched. I don't think Amiga will ever totally die, there's too large to a community for that to happen.

    While I'm not a layer, it looks as if Gateway/Amiga and the ADA have already reached a settlement. This filing seems to only state the broken laws, define the terms of the settlement and set a date for court approval.

    The argument is over Amiga's use of used parts in new computers without saying so, similar to Packard Bell a few years ago. This of course breaks a host of trade laws and treaties. It does not appear to have anything to do with a breach of promise. Furthermore, it is interesting that Gateway has not denied liability. Perhaps they really don't want to see Amiga Corp. to die? Another point... the ADA is suing that 3.9 million be put into a fund 'for the purpose of reimbursing anyone who had to make out-of-warranty repairs due to a previously used part being included in an Amiga computer sold as new.'

    Section C of the filing:
    'Gateway, Amiga Inc. and Amiga International Inc. have NOT denied, and continue to accept, all liability with respect to any and all of the facts or claims alleged in the Complaint, they do NOT deny that they engaged in any wrongdoing, they do not deny that they improperly concealed any assembly practices with regard to end user product returns, they do not deny that they disseminated any false or misleading information or made any misrepresentations, they do not deny that they acted improperly in any way, and they do NOT deny any liability to Plaintiffs), any Settlement Class members or any third party. Amiga Inc, Amiga International has weighed the risks and potential costs of litigation of this action against the benefits of the proposed Settlement. Gateway has also weighed the risks and potential costs of litigation of this action against the benefits of the proposed Settlement. And as of this day at and website's public statements to these truths are still posted as Gateway's and Amiga's pass failures and continued deceptive and miss leading advertising of A1200 Amiga Computers and the A4000 tower Amiga Computers as being their current models offered for immediate sale.'

    Like I said, I am not a lawyer. I would appreciate any feedback as to how I interpreted this.

  • Um, did anybody notice that AOL and Gateway just signed a big deal - Gateway is going to produce a web browsing appliance for AOL, and AOL is taking over so they'll get a good chunk of new Gateway customers into the AOL fold. I dunno what they're going to call it, but "friend" in Spanish is not a bad moniker for a personal web thingie.

  • Thomas Schmidt, President and CEO of Amiga has admitted, in a recent "open letter to the community," on the site that they've dropped plans to build on the old Amiga line, but that doesn't seem to be related to this proposed settlement, which is focused on past practices, not future promises.
  • Youre absolutely right. I was a hardcore amiga fan, but this *was* definitly the point.
    The point where you have to go on ...

    Linux & ***BSD are good choices. Linux the best, considering the increasing support from the commercial. (no flamebait intended, i'm a netbsd admin as well ...)

    I somehow miss my little gfx tools and some other cute stuff, but it's just a matter of time to get it for those platforms ;-)
  • Not just phase 5... the people at AROS, and the Phoenix Consortium's attempts to built a true successor to the Amiga computer in the absence of any "Amiga Inc." support would just love to get their hands on this stuff. Coupled with ESR's plea to open-source the old AmigaOS code, it could potentially go a long way.

    Then again, I still use my Amiga4000 as my primary machine (beside a Linux dual C366 and others here at home) so I guess I'm an eternal optimist.

    My biases are my own.

  • Did anybody see the article in "Time Digital" about the death of the Amiga? They compared it to the death of the Apple Newton and had a nice little blurb about the Newton fanatics in the parking lot protesting being fed and "patted on the head" but Apple people. Also, for my own part, i did think the Amiga was waaay ahead of it's time, and it's time should be now, so it's kinda sad to see something tune with the culture to die out, Linux on an Amiga, how much more...unmainstream can you get?
  • He did say it was a "loose" interpretation, after all.
  • Incidentially (and I know I'm picking a minor point out of the major thrust of the text), the lastest version of the Voyager browser does in fact have plug-ins for Shockwave multimedia extensions.

    "It's not dead, it's resting."

  • In related news, Amiga OS 3.5 (the first new version of the "classic" Amiga OS in years) was released a week ago, and I just received my pre-order copy from Software Hut, along with a few other goodies I'd ordered from them. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet since I've been too busy playing with Philips FreeSpeech 2000 (*) on my laptop, but if anyone's interested, I could type up a review after I've had a chance to install it on my A3000.

    (*) OT: FreeSpeech 2000 has one really cool feature not found on NaturallySpeaking or IBM ViaVoice: it supports US English, UK English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian out of the box (since I'm learning French, I figure if the PC can understand what I'm saying, I must be pronouncing it okay!), and the price was not bad ($68 from Unfortunately, it's not "free speech" or "free beer". However, if you're looking for voice recognition for Linux, go to and search for their ViaVoice SDK for Linux which is "free beer", which I have unfortunately not had time to check out.

  • However, Amiga can transfer all their IP to Gateway. All Gateway does is send Amiga a check for $1 and Amiga transfers them to Gateway. Unless the court has freezed the assets of Amiga (not likley since it's assets are not in question and they still have to run a business) there ain't much they can do.
  • That's not the way to get moderated up is it? You should have mentioned Linux a couple of times and maybe the word free a few times as well. As noisily as possible of course.......But noisy in a GOOD way, as opposed to noisy in a non Linux way.
  • I should certainly hope that it had nothing to do with breach of promise. "Breach of promise" is shorthand for "breach of promise of marriage."
  • exactly. female friend, girl friend, notice the space between words, the obvious attempt at humor, then take a Prozac and maybe it'll make the critic in you relax for a little while.

    although I have to admit, Novia would be a great name for a piece of hardware... :]
  • Got to agree with this. I was the biggest Amiga fanatic back in early '90 but she's dead, Jim. I still think the A3000 was one of the best computers ever designed but time to face reality. Let's pat the dirt back down on the corpse and let it rest in peace.


  • Let's say that Amiga hands this group of people every patent they have, closes thier doors, and goes bankrupt. What are those patents actually WORTH? The group doesn't have the money to develop products, and no company is going to pay them for the rights to outdated technology. Basically, they would come out of the lawsuit with a patent that they could frame and hang up in the living room.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 1999 @06:23AM (#1581597)
    Everybody talks about putting the AmigaOs under GPL. Well, some people are trying to do something which could lead to this. It is called "Amiga Research project".
    They are rewriting all the OS from scratch in order to make a cross-platform OS with the Amiga look and feel. I haven't looked at their homepage for a long time but they seem to still be sure of what they do.
    For example:
    " [Reaction when someone says that] AROS won't make it.

    Yeah, we hear that all the day from every person. But most of them either don't know what we are doing or they think the Amiga is already dead. After we explained what we do to the former, most agreed that it is possible. The latter make more problems. Well, is Amiga dead right now ? I really can't say. Just a few hints: Did your A500 or A4000 blew up when C= went bankrupt ? Or when AT did ?

    Fact is that there is only few new software for the Amiga (although Aminet has never seen better times) and that hardware is also developed at a lower speed (but the most amazing gadgets appear right now). I say, the Amiga community (which is still there) just sits and waits. And if someone releases something which is a bit like the Amiga back in 1984, then that machine will boom again. And who knows, maybe you will get a CD along with the machine labeled "AROS" :-) "

    See [] for more informations.
  • Amiga Dealers are suing Amiga Inc, /., and Gateway? This could have quite a negative reaction on the upcoming IPO. I really hope it gets sorted out quickly. You guys have done it this time for sure.
  • There is a good summary up on The Register []

    Basically the lawsuite is about the fact that Gateway/Amiga sold Amiga computers and claimed that they were 'New'. Meaning that they have been sitting on the shelf for years and were never actually sold. In fact the units they sold were built out of used/returned parts.

    The vendors ended up fixing these units because they thought they were new. They have now grouped together to sue Gateway/Amiga to try and recover the costs for their customers who spent the money to have machines, that should have been new-ish, fixed.

  • Soooo... Commodore's gone, ESCOM's gone, one other I can't remember's gone, Gateway's given up. I don't care about it and I haven't for quite some time.

    Why should I? Because I can't get support from those companies? Not a good enough reason. There's still plenty of life in the software and hardware development communities. All right, so Voyager and Ibrowse and Aweb aren't Netscape and IE (this isn't necessarily a bad thing! :-) )- Does this stop me from surfing the web? No- HTML is HTML and I don't find Shockwave adds all that much to the experience.

    Okay. Should I move on just because the hardware is so outdated? Nope- that's not a good reason either, as long as the hardware works! I find my 25MHz '040 A4000 up to the task of rendering most web pages. It's not fast enough to play MP3s well, but I already have a large CD collection. The latest games? There are enough for my PlayStation that I don't need a computer for them.

    So, as long as my trusty A4000 (and 2 A3000s) are good enough to do what I need them to do, there is *no* reason for me to care what happens outside my box. When they die, though, I won't worry about replacing them with new Amigas- that's what Linux and cheap PCs are for. But until then, you can take my Amiga from me when you can pry it from my cold, dead hands.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev