NEWS, NOTES AND QUOTES
BY STEPHEN MORTIMER
In July Atari brought on board new, high-powered management in the person of Elie Kenan, president of Atari France. Kenan, an old friend of Jack Tramiel's, took Atari France from $0 to $50 million in annual sales. Kenan is now general manager of North America, with a merger of Atari U.S. and Atari Canada to follow. Rumors are flying that this new North American division will be headquartered in Boston, leaving research and development, administration, and other functions in Sunnyvale. The Tramiels will likely remain in Sunnyvale to oversee the Atari's global operations.
Developer liaison Charles Cherry left Atari in July to become a consultant. Cherry initiated the Softsource developers' database and won general acclaim for his forthright efforts to maintain and improve the often strained relationship between Atari and the developers. Atari said it plans to replace Cherry, but at press time had not found a suitable candidate. In the interim, Gail Johnson is handling Cherry's duties.
The 1040STE started shipping in the United States in June. As promised, it has expandable memory through SIMM units as well as improved sound and graphics. The initial shipments come with TOS 1.6 and a patch disk that fixes the low resolution-only boot bug. TOS 1.62, which has the bug fix in ROM, may be added to future STE's. In an article in a recent USA Today, Sam Tramiel stated that Atari is planning to make a resurgence in the home computer market with a 1040STE and color monitor combination for $699.
Bowing to the twin forces of user criticism and competition, Atari announced that the long-awaited TT will have a 32 MHz CPU speed. The bus channels, designed for the original 16 MHz CPU, will not be upgraded. Atari spokesperson Bob Brodie said the U.S. version of the TT is still awaiting FCC approval, while a fourth quarter Canadian release date for the TT was announced by Atari Canada at a June 4 press conference in Toronto. A TT030/2 with 2MB RAM, a 40MB hard disk and TOS 2.0 will be priced at $3995 (Canadian).
Atari is negotiating with the U.S.S.R. to trade Soviet-made 256K DRAM chips for ST computers. The Soviets produce an excess of 2.5 million chips each month and have been seeking a market for them through Global Development Corp., a Seattle trading firm. If the deal goes through, the workers in the Soviet DRAM factory would receive 25 percent of the profits from the sale of ST computers in the Soviet Union. Atari said it is checking the chips to see if they meet the company's quality standards.
Rumors that NEC might purchase Atari proved to be false. NEC entered into an agreement with Atari Games for the latter to produce products for NEC game systems.
Atari has announced that 20 additional titles for the Lynx will be available by Christmas 1990, including 720, Flying Ace, Paperboy, A.P.B., Rygar, Football, 3D Barrage, Road Blasters, Super Soccer, Checkered Flag, Tournament Cyberball, Zarlor Mercenary, Xenophobe, Klax, Rampage, Vindicators, Ninja Gaiden, Slime World, Turbo Sub and Junkyard Dog.
Atari endorsed Microsoft's Windows for use with its PC-compatible computers. Several hundred thousand copies of Windows 3.0 have been shipped since its release in May. The program features bring the interface up to that of the Macintosh.
Expect to see more Megas and STs on TV. Atari has joined the product placement bandwagon, providing hardware to the new "Flash" series for props and background scenery. Atari computers will star as office and laboratory equipment in this high tech action show based on a comic book superhero.
Outline Art Creativity Contest
Registered owners of Calamus Outline Art have the opportunity to win $1,500.00 worth of AGFA Compugraphic fonts, an Atari Megafile 44 hard disk drive, or GEnie and CompuServe connect time by entering ISD Marketing's Outline Art Creativity Contest. Enter as many times as you like, although any individual may win only once. The winning entries will remain the property of the author, but will be available for public download on GEnie and CompuServe, and published in START Magazine. Entries may be uploaded to ISD Marketing's on-line accounts (76004,2246 on CompuServe or ISD on GEnie) or mailed to ISD Marketing Inc., 2651 John Street, Unit #3, Markham, Ontario, Canada, L3R 2W5. Mailed entries must be postmarked no later than Sept. 30, 1990 and received by Oct. 15, 1990.
For more information contact ISD Marketing at (416) 479-1880 (voice) or (416) 479-1882 (fax).
Atari Donates to Kids' Hospital
Atari Corp. recently donated a Hotz Box and various ST hardware to the music therapy program at Children's Hospital at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Presenting the machines on Atari's behalf was Mick Fleetwood and Billy Burnett of the pop group Fleetwood Mac, in the area for a series of concerts. The Palo Alto function benefited the Children's Hospital and the local Ronald McDonald house. According to Martha Kitter, a spokesperson for the hospital, Atari's donation will be used to help alleviate the stress and fear that often accompanies children who are hospitalized for any amount of time.
BY DONALD MAPLE, REPORTING FROM WEST GERMANY
Atari Germany's financial figures for 1989 show a 25 percent increase in total income to 277 million deutsche marks ($165 million). Sales of the Mega ST doubled over the previous year and the number of peripherals sold tripled, the increase mainly due to hard disks. The new TT and Stacy are expected to be big-money winners this year and Atari Germany invested 19 million deutsche marks ($11 million) in new, larger premises.
British Satellite Broadcasting is scheduled to launch the United Kingdom's first computer dedicated pay-TV channel on June 28. With programs such as Analysis, a weekly news show and DOSsier, which provides interactive training, The Computer Channel is aimed squarely at the professional user who can afford the steep subscription rate of over $900 (U.S.).
Forget all about the Japanese "threat" to the computer industry. A European group is poised to create a 64-bit RISC chip, probably based on the British Transputer and ARM processors. Backing the project are SGS-Thompson (France), Siemens (Germany) and Phillips (Holland). Furthermore, British Aerospace is experimenting with optical computers and holographic connections.
- ISD displayed its desktop publishing program, Calamus, at the Postal Instant Press convention this past July. PIP is a national copy/typesetting chain. Franchise owners had a chance to look over the Atari DTP package and place orders with Transcoast Systems Inc., a Calamus/Atari VAR located in San Francisco, Calif.
- Gordon Monnier said that MichTron is easing out of the ST marketplace. MichTron is still selling software, but Monnier said he is willing to entertain offers to buy the company.
If you have a hot tip let us know at News, Notes & Quotes, START Magazine, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107