From Tue, 17 Jun 1997 19:53:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: Aaron Ruscetta (
To: newdev (
Subject: Interviews with Petro Tyschtschenko
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 97 04:53:01

Some my feel this is an innapropriate post, but my flame proof vest is
on and all the OPEN AMIGA discussion lately is my justification for
releasing this here first.
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On Saturday, 5/31/97, In his first public U.S.  appearance since
becoming the head of Gateway2000's Amiga International division,
Mr. Petro Tyschtschenko spoke at the monthly meeting of Amiga
Atlanta, Inc., thanks to the friendly persuasion of the current AAi
president, Lamar "The Relentless" Morgan.

Petro was in the U.S. for his second meeting with the board of
directors at Gateway2000's South Dakota headquarters and graciously
agreed to add Atlanta to his itinerary, expressly to speak with our
user group and make a brief tour of Comdex the following Monday.

I have recently finished the clean-up editing on the complete video
tape of his Atlanta presentation and Q&A session (please note that
none of Petro's comments were edited or altered) and this tape is
available for purchase through Amiga Atlanta, Inc.  by contacting
AAi's web site at

A full transcript of Petro's prepared statements is also posted at
the site, with a transcript of the Q&A to be added soon.

Since I was also able to spend a few one-on-one hours discussing
Petro's ideas with him in more depth, I felt compelled to share the
following synopsis of his AAi visit; mostly because I found
everything about his comments to be very positive for the Amiga's
future.  This was the first opportunity Petro had to speak freely
(without legal restriction) since Escom declared bankruptcy.  It
was also his first opportunity to personally address the Amiga
community since the Gateway purchase had cleared the courts and his
role as the head of Amiga International was confirmed and defined.

** "Ich bin eine Amigan." **
When Petro Tyschtschenko spoke at our Amiga Atlanta meeting on
Saturday, May 31st, I took an instant liking to the gentleman.  A
liking which quickly grew into trust and respect as I was fortunate
enough to spend several hours with him the next day, interviewing
him for an Amiga related documentary in progress and conversing
more casually over a couple of beers after dinner.  The more he
shared his ideas & philosophy for the future of the Amiga, the more
I liked the thought of this person at the helm.  And make no
mistake, Petro is definitely in charge of the whole (boing) ball
of wax!  His [now] official title is Managing Director of Amiga
International, a division of Gateway2000.  As such, he says that
he has been given highly autonomous control in choosing the current
and future directions for all Amiga assets and technologies, with
the added promise of substantial business & financial support from

In speaking of his plans for that future, Petro was extremely
friendly, sincere and unassuming.  During breaks at the AAi meeting
and at dinner later he spoke personally with dozens of individuals
and gave an attentive ear to all the ideas and comments shared with
him no matter who they were coming from.  He projects an aura of
great enthusiasm about the Amiga, saying "I'm just glad to be a part
of this community!"; a community which he gratefully acknowledges
and sincerely thanks for providing the strength and support he
needed to keep Amiga Technologies intact during the long hard
months of the Escom bankruptcy proceedings.

Though I doubt that Petro would make such claims himself, it seems
that he earned his position of Amiga leadership several times over.
It was Petro that convinced the executors of Escom's bankruptcy to
keep the Amiga Technologies entity separate from the other Escom
holdings; he was able to do this in large part because he had
managed to keep A.T. profitable while the other Escom holdings
were going under in the wintel PC market.

After Escom declared bankruptcy [forcing the solvent Amiga division
to do the same] Petro continued to run the company as a one man
office.  He talked of his time alone in the office, surrounded by
boxes of court documents, answering all the phone calls, reading
all the faxes, and typing away on his Amiga 3000 writing
correspondence or personally answering the daily barrage of email.
During the several months that followed says that he managed to
accomplish two important things:  first, he made five million
dollars for A.T., to the great pleasure and surprise of the
bankruptcy executors.  More importantly, he pulled all the strings
of his many international contacts in the computer industry and
made as much noise as he could about Amiga being up for sale again.
The noise was eventually heard by several companies, including one
called Gateway 2000.  They contacted Petro and he was set to the
task of investigating Gateway (while Gateway investigated A.T.) in
the weeks long "due diligence" process required by the bankruptcy
proceedings.  The business philosophy, practices and success of
Gateway impressed both Petro and the executors, and A.T.  obviously
looked attractive to Gateway; after settling some last minute
pricing contentions from other bidders, the sale of Amiga to
Gateway2000 was finalized.

But, as Petro said in one of our interviews, "Enough of the
history... the history is so BIG!  We must focus now on the

This part is easy, because the Amiga future that Petro plans and
describes can be summed up in one word, a word that he used
repeatedly in his presentation, interviews and conversations:
The word is OPEN.

There is, however, one other word that kept coming up whenever
Petro elaborated on his vision for implementing his Open Amiga
policies.  As Petro humbly ascribes himself to be a simple man,
the other word is SIMPLE.

Open Amiga Licensing:
 "If you have a new platform, application or product that needs all
or part of the Amiga's technology, you will be able to license it."
The only requirement being that if you use Amiga technology IN a
product, you should acknowledge it ON the product.  Petro's idea
here is for a logo ID or decal for licensed products that says
something like "Powered by Amiga" or "Amiga Empowered". [And YES,
the name WILL remain AMIGA!]

Simple Amiga Licensing:
 A certification process will, of course, be put into place to
assure the quality and constancy of Amiga Empowered products,
though Petro (being a simple man) will surely try to keep such
processes as simple and straightforward as possible.  He outlined a
pricing structure for licensing that would also be simple, based on
per unit pricing with a fixed schedule of volume discounts.  He
said there will be no exclusivity agreements with any licensing
contracts.  Petro said he does not believe that exclusive contracts
are in the best interests of the Amiga.

Open Amiga Product Distribution:
 Sale of products produced by Amiga International will be opened
up to include not only complete systems but component and OS
packages as well.  For instance, Petro made mention of selling 1200
& 4000 mother boards to companies interested in packaging them in
their own cases.  Whatever the Amiga product...  Chip sets, OS
Roms, Boards...  if it can be priced and packaged it should be

Simple Amiga Product Distribution:
 Again, Petro's thinking would call for simple per unit pricing
tied to a fixed schedule of volume discounts.  Petro suggested that
the minimum order for complete machines would be as small as one
palette [32 computers].  So...  ANY company, school, group or
individual that has the money to buy 32 stock machines at one time
should be able to purchase directly from Amiga International.  There
will be no regional or exclusive agreements for Amiga product
distribution, either.  Petro said that he does not believe that
exclusive contracts are in the best interests of the Amiga.

Open Amiga Development:
 Petro promises to expand and open the lines of communication from
Amiga International to the entire community.  When new products or
new directions for the technology are decided, the information will
be made immediately available.  No unnecessary confidentiality, no
rumor mill, no guesswork.  While he does not claim a great deal of
technical expertise, Petro fully appreciates the unique character,
creativity and ingenuity of Amiga's world wide development
community.  He hopes that his open policies will strengthen the
spirit of cooperation and contribution that is needed to get Amiga
development growing again.

Simple Amiga Development:
 Petro feels strongly that Amiga International should maintain
control of Amiga's Operating System development to assure EVERYONE
of a consistent, reliable, standardized and expandable Amiga
product line.  He said that he would also like to see future Amiga
hardware incorporate more 'off the shelf' parts and technologies
[where there are technically sound standards] to keep prices down
and make Amiga manufacturing more flexible.  And, in case the
message above might have been missed, there will be no exclusive
development deals.  Petro said that he does not believe that
exclusive contracts are in the best interests of the Amiga.

Beyond dropping one hint that an OS upgrade may already be close at
hand, Petro would not address more specific items, speculative
issues or time frames; that level of decision making is simply not
reasonable or even possible at this time.  He asks that we please,
PLEASE be patient!  The final court approval of the Gateway Amiga
purchase was less than 3 weeks old at the time and, to use Petro's
own analogy, "A baby takes 9 months, if you try to rush the process
the baby can be badly injured!"

Petro's most immediate concern is assembling the essential
leadership team members of Amiga International.  The first position
on the list and, after Petro, the most influential to Amiga's
future is that of Director of Engineering.  With obvious
disappointment, Petro said that one leading candidate for the
position had recently declined, though he wouldn't give that
person's name.  He did, however, seem anxious to get input on
possible candidates from informed members of our group.  I would
encourage anyone reading this who has knowledge of qualified,
capable and desirable candidates to contact Petro; He says that he
DOES read and respond to all of his email!

  [*   or   *]

We did not discuss which other A.I. positions he would be
implementing or trying to fill, but he did stress that he wants to
keep the core of Amiga International lean and streamlined.  He
punctuated this point with gestures of exasperation, saying "I
don't want all these politics; they kill me!  I don't have time for

The final and crucial issues that Petro spoke to involved Amiga
International's role and relationship with Gateway2000.  On these
points he was constantly positive and enthusiastic.  He seems
thoroughly assured of the backing and support he will need to
succeed and he speaks glowingly about most every aspect of the
Gateway organization.

In describing the visit he had just completed to the Gateway2000
headquarters, he said that all the people he met there were
extremely curious and excited about the Amiga acquisition.  They
all but cleaned him out of the Amiga lapel pins and stickers he had
brought along!  He said that at one point things got so out of hand
that Ted Waite jokingly vowed to dismiss the next employee who
said that silly AMIGA word!  Petro also indicated that Gateway's
business practices, philosophy and mission goals largely reflect
his own views and are very much in keeping with common sentiments
within the Amiga community.  Lastly, Petro noted that he was
probably the only person in the entire Gateway facility who was
wearing a suit and tie.  (I can't be certain, but these Gateway
folks sound to me like they might just be slightly misplaced

Most of Petro's prepared statement for the AAi meeting addressed
the more substantial aspects and impact of Gateway's ownership. He
stressed the financial health, size and success of Gateway2000,
punctuating each impressive business statistic with the reminder
"Amiga International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Gateway2000."

Beyond Gateway's financial support, Petro hopes that Gateway's
strength and resources can be employed to persuade major players in
the PC industry to support Amiga products and recognize the Amiga's
markets.  Leveraging Gateway's influence, Amiga International
could more easily convince manufacturers to provide the processors,
chip sets, drivers, peripherals and software needed to expand the
Amiga's application base.

Again, all Petro is asking for right now is a small share of those
most precious commodities, time and patience.  He would like to
have the Amiga's return heralded with a flute, not trumpets, so he
has asked that the Amiga community wait QUIETLY for the time being
(if that's even remotely possible).  He will minimally need a few
months to rebuild the business structures of Amiga International
before new product production can be approached again.

In the meantime, Petro says he will continue distribution of
existing products and repair parts through active suppliers and
from the substantial inventory he has assembled.  Research and
development efforts will continue once a new head of engineering
has been selected.  The emergence of Amiga International should not
cause interference with any product releases scheduled by third
party suppliers for the coming months.  Petro also made a point of
stating that those companies who may have been "taking license"
(pun intended) with Amiga intellectual properties during the
bankruptcy will be given ample notice and time to arrange the Amiga
International license agreements they will need to continue their
Amiga product distribution.

In closing I want to sincerely thank Petro for sharing all this and
I hope that I have understood and represented his intentions
accurately.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet the man and
I wish him nothing but success in his efforts in bringing the Amiga
Back for the Future!

I'm off to the optometrist now to buy some extra heavy duty shades
because, after meeting with Petro, I think our future is looking
very, very bright, indeed!


Speaking for myself, I do not think that anyone could be sending a
more positive message to the Amiga community than the one that
Petro delivered here.  I have long been a proponent of the 'Open
Amiga' philosophy, and believe that it will provide the best and
most diverse possible future for both the Amiga's technology and
its creative community.

Open licensing will allow the Amiga's unique technologies to be
applied to any conceivable market:  from power workstations to low
priced, compact desktops & portables to dedicated video &
entertainment boxes (Petro's favorite) and on to a thousand 'smart'
appliance applications where wintel technology is far too bloated,
clumsy and unreliable to be useful (...which is, of course, the
case for most any wintel application :^).

With a policy of Open distribution, companies supporting Amiga
products will also be operating in a fair market, without
hinderance from restricted, exclusive or territorial distribution
contracts.  If any entrepreneur or company sees a market for an
Amiga Empowered product, they will be able to build that product,
pursue that market and expand the Amiga user base.

These non-exclusive policies should also serve to protect those
companies which have been or are currently supplying Amiga
products. Their current inventories and established support retain
their value.  They can continue their Amiga operations without
interruption while the potential for future growth and new,
diverse Amiga product sources improves.

Finally, open development of a consistent, standardized Amiga OS
will address the innovative, independent and public minded spirit
of the Amiga's development community through the free exchange and
accessibility of information.  An absence of favoritism or
stratified support should encourage better developer cooperation
and help to consolidate Amiga's already prolific 'freely
distributable' market.  A uniform target OS will speed the
improvement and creation of development tools, reduce compatibility
issues and provide solid ground for OS improvements, extensions or

Petro is clearly committed to the Open ideal; not just in terms of
Amiga technology, but as expressed to me in some rather 'libertarian'
views on business as well.  Having met the man and spoken with him
at length, I could not doubt his sincerity or conviction for a
single clock cycle.

I am equally convinced that Petro has the perseverance and experience
to make the Amiga Empowered future happen.  For more than a decade
he was in charge of the world wide production, manufacture and
distribution of Commodore and Amiga computer products.  He has
industry contacts and distribution experience in almost every
developed country of the world and has managed manufacturing
operations in many of them.  He has been in the front line
trenches for months at a time, fighting to keep the Amiga holdings
intact and alive through two parent company bankruptcies.  He
knows, uses and appreciates the product line he is trying to
rebuild.  He is an active participant in his own committed
community of customers and, above all, he LISTENS to the ideas,
opinions and criticisms coming from that community.

So Gateway2000 is sponsoring the Amiga racing machine, and they've
put a knowledgable, experienced and dedicated Amigan named Petro
Tyschtschenko behind the wheel.  For the first time in its history,
there is someone in the drivers seat who truly appreciates the car
he's driving, who understands the track its running on and can fully
empathize with the fans in the bleachers.  He will still need a few
months time to team up with the right mechanics and crew before the
season starts, but once that green flag drops, Amiga should quickly
be setting the pace and breaking all the records once again!

/*    AArexx AAron    */
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