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Happy Posthumous Amiga Birthday

I have to admit I got scooped by Harry McCracken, former editor-in-chief of PC World who now runs Technologizer. He wrote about the 25 anniversary of the Amiga computer. As former editor-in-chief of AmigaWorld magazine, I really should have been on top of this. Harry did a great job chronicling the amazing but ultimately tragic history of the Amiga.

In 1985, the Amiga 1000 was launched by Andy Warhol and Debby Harry in Lincoln Center. Months later, Bill Gates was quoted as saying something to the effect of "you can't multitask in 640K-bytes of RAM." Gates apparently didn't know that his version of AmigaBasic ran four different tasks simultaneously in 128K.

This machine also had TV quality graphics, CD quality sound and a multiprocessing architecture. It also crashed a lot -- a feature Gates stole and put into nearly every edition of the Windows client.

The standardization of the PC killed off the incentive for many publishers to support the Amiga, while Commodore's incompetence did the rest. The machine died right when the hardware was getting really really really good.

When I was there, AmigaWorld did a video about the history of the Amiga as well as two volumes of animation done by readers.

What would the world be like had the Amiga lived? Conjecture and speculation equally welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/30/2010 at 2:30 PM


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