Date : Wed, 04 Aug 1999 14:28:34 +1200
From : Michael Foot <mikef@...>
Subject: Re: Acorn
My view on this is from what I've observed in New Zealand and from what
I've heard via the Internet. I don't know how this compares to the U.K. or
I think the reason Acorn haven't succeeded can be summed up in one word -
Marketing. The expensive price of an Acorn machine is also a factor here,
but I believe this is not the main reason.
When the BBC computer came out it was, of course, backed by the BBC. The
BBC (corporation) was able to produce TV shows with the machine in it and
generally advertise the computer very well, whereas Acorn themselves did
not do as much marketing. I've found that although people know what a BBC
computer is, very few of them know it was manufactured by Acorn. Sometime
in the mid 90s I even had one guy ask me why it was even worth looking a
machine produced by a company with no track record (Acorn). He then said
that he'd be better off looking at known brands such as BBC...
When the Archimedes came out, it was well ahead of everything else. It even
had a 32 bit operating system 8 years before Microsoft produced W95. Even
though the Archie had a BBC logo on it, it was completely up to Acorn to
market this new machine.
I feel that Acorn have been stuck in the rut of targeting their machines at
schools way too much. Now I know that they didn't have money to do big
advertising campaigns, but in NZ you never heard about Acorn and apart from
one period you could not buy their machines from any of the large computer
retailers. You had to go to Acorn themselves to find one.
That one period, when they did do an advertising drive, it was very short
lived. They were selling them through a well known retail chain but the
sales people did not know anything about the machines and therefore they
got pushed out of the limelight or weren't even switched on half the time.
And besides, kids didn't want an Acorn that ran educational software when
they could have an Amiga which had lots of real games.
The only reason I was able to keep up with what was happening in Acorn was
by going out and looking for the latest news - not something people would
do when they were seeing ads for PCs, Macs and Amigas etc. everywhere.
What's everyone elses opinion on this? Am I close to how everyone feels?
At 00:52 4/08/99 +0000, you wrote:
>I reproduce a rant from the 8BS website. Hopefully somebody will help me
>Why, when the BBC is undoubtedly the best computer ever made, did Acorn
>lose it's grip and let it all go down the toilet?
>Invitation for discussion. From Chris Richardson 03/08/1999
>The BBC was in it's time the best machine about. It is still an
>invaluable bit of kit that many people could not manage without if only
>for cost and reliability. I know because I am regularly supplying
>replacement bits to all sorts of people, businesses and private
>individuals. I am seriously attached to the Master that I use (for
>heaven's sake, please don't tell Gill though)
>What happened? Why has Acorn withered away into insignificance when the
>machines they made were fantastic?
>I know that I would have preferred to purchase a RISC PC. I also know
>that on my meagre wages as a Health Service worker, I could not afford
>or justify one, the thing I am using here cost 50% of what Tomorrow's
>World in Hull were going to charge me for an Acorn thing.
>Acorn field all their BBC related queries at me, I do not charge Acorn,
>yet they would not offer me any sort of discount on one of their newer
>I genuinely hate the PC and software that I use to publish this document
>and am sure that Acorn have probably done better.
>So, why have I not got an Acorn and why do I struggle on with this plate
>of spaghetti? Somebody, PLEASE tell me!