Tom Halfhill’s article in this issue on the incredible PC clone market is excellent reading. We recommend it highly. The market spawned by the IBM PC is fast leaving its leader behind. InfoWorld recently speculated that this market maker might soon be displaced in favor of new, less clonable machines. We encourage the competition, and suggest that computers like the Toshiba 1100 portable and the Compaq 386 are highly visible and healthy by products of such active product development competition.
We were recently taken to task for an error that appeared in a columnist's remarks. Our standards of conduct here are professional, demanding, and of great pride to us. We expect you to be able to rely on us as a continuing source of timely and useful insights and information. We are not primarily a news organization, but, at the same time, we are purveyors of information. In this recent instance, the November "Telecomputing Today" column, we were criticized for quoting a comment without checking its source. Our columnist, Arlan Levitan, had in fact three sources, but, unfortunately, inadvertently fell victim to a situation that he faithfully described but which simply never came to pass. We think Mr. Levitan stuck to the strictest standards in this instance, and in no way acted other than responsibly. Unfortunately, he used someone else's expectations as the basis for a point, and these turned out to be wrong.
Those same standards require that we correct our occasional misunderstandings in print, in the same forum in which we first aired them.
So, while we're clarifying, let's go back a couple more months and look at some "fuzzy" numbers.
In a recent editorial here, we were quite critical of Commodore for what we feel is a less than aggressive approach to marketing an otherwise exceptional computer, the Amiga. A recent preliminary prospectus filed by Atari in support of a planned public offering documents some numbers that fall below estimates we had earlier been given. As of their filing, Atari unit sales were at the 150,000 level. While we estimate this would still have placed them above the level of the Amiga, the magnitude of the difference would not have been nearly as great as we earlier estimated. Atari sales experienced what has been described as an acceleration in late summer, but, concurrently, the Amiga went into European distribution for the first time, a market the Atari was already in. We think we'll wait and see what the companies have to say regarding their sales figures after everyone's had a full holiday season to sell. We'll let you know early in the new year with a wrap-up on both holiday sales and new-year projections from various sources around the industry.
If you've not yet seen it, your local newsstand should have a copy of a very special COMPUTE! publication, our Apple IIGS 1987 Buyer's Guide. We have been quite favorably impressed by this higher-end entry of Apple's, and while it's pricey compared to the Atari ST and to the Amiga, it's a clear and marked shift for Apple. Even though we hear you won't see many of the machines in the pre-Christmas pipeline, you'll be able to discover a great deal of excellent information in that special issue. Look for it on your newsstand in early December.
Until next time, enjoy your COMPUTE!. Happy holidays from all of us.
Robert C. Lock
Editor in Chief