ST GOSSIP FROM Hollywood USA
What with new ROMs, double-sided 520 drives, a new GDOS and aggressive school discounts, you have to wonder what Atari has up its sleeve next. Wait until COMDEX! We have it from a good source that this is the show that Atari has been gearing up toward for over a year. This is the one that will finally begin to establish Atari as a computer for business and the university market.
The heat continues to mount on Atari from software houses about the amount of piracy in the Atari world. Actually, though, from what we have learned, Atari piracy is not much worse than that in the IBM world, but it's a lot more noticeable among the 300,000 or so U.S. Atari owners than it is among the millions of PC and PC clone users.
We have it from a good source that this year's COMDEX is the show that Atari has been gearing up toward for over a year.
Best guess is that almost 29% of U.S. families have direct access to a computer either at school or home.
Where is Atari making its penetration? The big push is in the specialty markets more than anywhere else. There are products either now on the market or just about to break that simply have no match in any other computer's software library—products like a math word processor with syntax checking that has more power than anything available on any system and medical testing equipment that retails for less than half the cost of systems with the same power on other personal computers.
Does anyone know what happened to the idea of doing a low-cost MIDI network for the ST? We've talked to a dozen developers who have realized that a MIDI network is a super idea since it would allow the ST to cheaply do what other machines require multi-hundred dollar cards to do.
Have you seen Dollar Wise Accounting, the high-end accounting package for the ST? This is a dealer-customizable high-end system that rivals anything we have seen for the IBM/MAC systems in the $500 to $1000 price range. Selling for $399.95, this system is designed for the medium-size company and up. Who buys it? Seems like sales are pretty good to companies who are small and growing and don't want to be changing accounting packages every 18 months. Lots of sales to small accounting firms too.
Recently I purchased a coffee pot. Not the most expensive coffee pot on the market, but a good coffee pot nonetheless. When I purchased this coffee pot, I talked to several store clerks about the choices available to me and what their features were. I was told about timers that would turn on the pot and make fresh coffee each morning or switches that tell the machine to make only a half pot instead of a full pot. In short, lots of good things were available for my convenience. I was told that some new features were due out on the next model to be released, but I chose to buy now.
I have gotten good use out of my coffee pot. In fact, I think it's probably the best buy on the market—more features for the dollar than anything else I have seen. There is a problem, however: The owners of the coffee pot company haven't advertised the pot! Can you believe it? They have the best coffee pot on the market, and they didn't bother to advertise it!
Now this causes real problems for me. I can't choose from 20 different brands of filters for my pot. Since it's not advertised strongly enough, the filter makers aren't all making filters for this model, and I have fewer choices. Not only that, but the promised new model—the one with all the new features—is not out yet! I have complained to the friend who put me on to this brand of coffee pot, and he only shrugs and tells me I got the best pot my money would buy. He also tells me he owns stock in the company, and they are starting to make money hand over fist—selling anything they can make.
Well, if you think I'm going to take this lying down you're wrong. I have written to the local paper and complained that they don't cover my pot in their food column. I also told them how badly the company has taken advantage of my trust. I told them I would never buy another pot from this company again. I have written to the chairman of the board of the New Coffee Pot Company and told him what I think of his business standards. I further told him that he is betraying the trust of his customers by not bringing out the new products he promised when he said he would. (He has said publicly that there were problems with development and the new products were delayed; can you believe it?.)
I've called food shows on the radio and complained about the company. Since I have a computer, I have even complained about the company on the local and national BBSs.
Do you know that the guy who runs this company did not even give my letter a personal answer? He has some guy he pays to answer questions and deal with the PR for the company—and that guy answered my letter! What nerve!
Lately, I've noticed some strange things. This is the best coffee pot on the market for the money, and I'd be the first to admit that, but I am seeing fewer and fewer filters for it in my area. The local supermarket manager says sales are down on the unit. And strangest of all, my next door neighbor just thanked me for warning him about the New Coffee Pot Company.
I wonder what he meant by that?