New Commodore USA "PC"s

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New Commodore USA "PC"s

Postby administrator » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:16 pm

A few weeks ago I had ninety minute long conversation with the principle behind Commodore USA LLC, Barry Altman, and I have been thinking about what to say/do about it since that time. What is the legitimacy of his operation? What is the legitimacy of the Commodore brand, both legal and historic? Should I support it? Should I resell it? All difficult questions.

Note that at that time I agreed not to disclose some of the items we discussed but it would seem that much of the private information he provided is now floating around the net. One of those items, which is now "out" is this advert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPqllS6ng2g which I have to think is going to annoy Apple, one of the most aggressively litigious firms in the industry. Further, Comodo is the name for the future Commodore USA related O.S. is also likely to have them end in legal troubles. That being said I will still not disclose any of the items Barry flagged as off the record.

As of today, this is what I think:

COMPANY:
Commodore USA, LLC appears to be legitimate entity although the Commodore Phoenix PC is nothing more than two year old technology from Cybernet http://www.cybernetman.com/en/products/ ... tprint-pc/ and the Amigo seems to be an Via based SoC (System on Chip) ultra low end Asian OEM product.

Given that they are just reselling hardware at what appears to be a pretty steap profit, there does not seem to be a way for the company to fail. There is apparently no R&D, no substantial offices, no retail operations, and no support structure. If in 2010 they sell 25,000 units, they will make lots of money. If they sell 1,000 units, the will lose a small amount of money.


BRAND:
The Commodore brand is apparently in no longer in negotiation. I have an email into Commodore Gaming (the current owner of the Brand) but I have not confirmed it myself. Even if "Commodore USA" did arrange to carry the blue chicken head C= brand, I don't see a notable innovation in the current product, the hardware seems overpriced by about 25%, and I see no R&D for future products.


MY SUPPORT:
My support will be limited. If Barry can make the arrangements with current holder of the brand, Commodore Gaming, I will wish him well.


RESALES:
At this time I see the market as too small for resale’s. Barry will try to sell directly if he can and at this time, I would not want to become embroiled in legal issues which I think Commodore Gaming will likely be aggressively pursuing against the so called Commodore USA, LLC.
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Re: New Commodore USA "PC"s

Postby administrator » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:37 pm

On an related note, it appears that Commodore Corp / Commodore International BV / YMV is now being run by Commodore Asia. Commodore Asia is Ben Van Wijhe's newish company. Ben was (and possibly still is) the head of Commodore International BV of the Netherlands (i.e. the "real" Commodore) who spent millions of dollars designing and building innovative products between 2005 and 2008, primarily for the European market, which flopped hard in 2009 when they apparently ran completely out of capital.

I believe Commodore International BV sold the rights to licence the Commodore Brand along with rights to the old (primarily C64) games to a company which renamed itself Commodore Gaming in the 2007/2008 time frame. I believe Commodore International and perhaps now, Commodore Asia retains the rights to produce Commodore hardware... but I am not certain of this.

A quick summary of notable companies using Commodore as a computer brand goes like this:

- Commodore USA, LLC is a company trying to rebrand off the shelf Asian designed and manufactured traditional PC's in interesting form factors.

- Commodore International/Commodore Corp/Commodore Asia/Commodore Licensing is a company trying to design and manufacture new products (ok, ok... this year they are selling C= branded netbooks and touch screen products)

- Commodore Gaming is licencing firm which currently owns the Commodore branding rights and high end gaming PCs.
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Re: New Commodore USA "PC"s

Postby administrator » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:40 pm

Here is the response to my email from Commodore Gaming:

1) WE are not in negotiations with Barry Altman anymore, I can not confirm if Commodore Licensing is.
2) WE will not take legal action against him unless he starts using the Commodore Gaming name, I am sure Commodore Licensing will if he continues to use the Commodore name without a proper license
3) We are already selling Commodore 64 software in north America, we have a Wii Virtual Channel, and an iPhone app.
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Re: New Commodore USA "PC"s

Postby administrator » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:34 pm

Quick Business Review from NEXT months Canadian Business Magazine:

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/technol ... medium=rss

...Every attempt to revive the brand has ended in disaster. Perhaps the trouble began in 1984, when founder Jack Tramiel left the company after 25 years. Or was it in 1994, when it was forced into liquidation and German PC manufacturer Escom bought up the remains for US$14 million? Maybe it was in the 10 years after, when the trademark was licensed to various third-party manufacturers and the name was slapped on everything from MP3 players to paper shredders.

Altman’s proposed reincarnation — the “Commodore Phoenix” — banks on the unit’s likeness to the C64, but considering the brand’s recent history, consumers will most likely declare a syntax error.
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