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Commodore wannabe don't want to be Commodore no more

Iwin tiptoes past Tulip

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Iwin, the European IT company at the heart of a controversial scheme to relaunch the Commodore Business Machines (CBM) brand with a line of Amiga-compatible computers, has decided that actually... er... it's not interested in CBM after all. And research from Amiga-oriented Web site Amiga Extreme suggests Iwin may never have been as serious about CBM and the Amiga platform as it originally claimed. In what appears to be a reference to former Amiga president Jim Collas' abrupt departure from the Gateway subsidiary, Iwin said on its Web site: "After all the things happened to and with Amiga Inc... there is no longer need for the Commodore brand. Iwin has stopped negotiating with Tulip about it." The Register today contacted Tulip's UK operation (Tulip's CEO, Hans van Melden, is current visiting the UK) to seek further information regarding Iwin's negotiations -- did any talks actually take place, but the company's marketing manager, Richard Koetsier, though aware of the Iwin story, was unable to offer any clues. Tulip bought Commodore in September 1997, primarily to acquire its well-known consumer computer brandname for its own push into that marketplace. Tulip released a series of Wintel PCs under the Commodore label, but the line never really achieved the levels of success of the machines that made Commodore's name in the first place. Talks between Tulip and Iwin were set to take place on 27 August (according to Iwin), so clearly they were either unable to agree on a price or the talks never took place. Amiga Extreme's chapter in to the Iwin story emerges from its attempt to contact Iwin customers listed on the company's Web site. AE received the following response from one such customer, who turned out to be Iwin president Martin Steinbach's former employer (AE did not post his name or company details): "We do not use any product of [Iwin] nor are we affiliated with it in any way. Moreover, I do not recommend [engaging in] business with this company. "The CEO, Martin Steinbach, has been working for three months... as a programmer. "I know him very well and not from the best side." Since this email was posted, Iwin has removed the customer details page from its site. AE also downloaded a patch for Iwin's PowerSE product, but found the file contained in the Zip archive to be nothing more than a Photoshop Undo file. Our attempts to confirm this by checking Iwin's patch ourselves were continually thwarted by download errors. Iwin itself has maintained a degree of secrecy ever since news of its bid for CBM led to (understandable) speculation within the Amiga community about the company's bona fides. "We won't give any announcements regarding our products anymore -- before the final product release," said Steinbach. In the meantime, according to Iwin's Web site, the company will offer its Amiga-compatible machines -- which appear to run AmigaOS 3.5 under some form of emulation. If Iwin's previously published schedule is being stuck to, production of the machines will have begun this week, with initial shipments starting at the end of the month. As Steinbach himself admitted last month, Iwin's future will depend on it getting its machines to market. The company initally promised review kit to a German Amiga magazine, however it will have to do more than ship one box if it's to convince Amiga users that Iwin is trustworthy. That's not to say it isn't -- but the onus is definitely now on Iwin to prove its many claims. ® Related Stories Amiga president responds to Iwin Commodore wannabe to reveal full Amiga box specs Commodore wannabe claims Amiga 'fooled' community Amiga developer in talks to buy Commodore name

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