News - Aug.90 - Dec.90

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/27/94-03:27:41 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: News - Aug.90 - Dec.90
Date: Sun Feb 27 15:27:41 1994

 Time Capsule - News - Aug.90 - Dec.90

 News Subject Title                    Date Posted
 ------------------                    -----------
Antic Folds, STart Revamped!           Aug.06.1990
Portfolio Goes Catalog Mail Order      Aug.06,1990
ADVERTISING - on Flash for this Fall   Aug.06,1990
Chicago AtariFest Announced            Aug.18,1990
RUMOR MILL                             Sep.12,1990
Developers, Users Sued!                Sep.25,1990
Test Drive 2 for ST (finally)          Nov.08,1990
Z*NET COMDEX Report # 3: 11/14/90      Nov.17,1990
A response on Atari Dealers overcharging article


Article #234 (376 is last):
From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Antic Folds, STart Revamped!
Date: Mon Aug  6 16:47:21 1990

             /////  //////   ///////           BULLETIN
           //        //     //   ///              **
            ////    //     //////              BULLETIN
              //   //     //   //         
         /////    //     //     //          AUGUST 04, 1990
                          STR Publishing Inc.
                        ***  Press Release  ***
  San Francisco,  Aug. 3 -- Antic Publishing Inc. today announced that
  publication of  START Magazine  will be  suspended for  one month in
  order to  make several major editorial and circulation changes.  All
  current subscriptions will be  extended  one  month.    In addition,
  START  has  agreed  to  fulfill  the  ST-Log and Analog subscription
  obligations, doubling its circulation.
  When START reappears with the October 1990 issue (on sale  Sept. 1),
  it will  contain a monthly, 16-page section for Atari 8-bit computer
  owners, boosting START's pages to 124-plus.   Antic,  the publishing
  group's long-running 8-bit magazine, will cease publication.
  START Editor  Tom Byron  also announced  staff changes.   Jim Burton
  joins the magazine as technical editor; Rick Braden  is the  new art
  Burton is  a journalist  and past  START contributor with a thorough
  knowledge of GFA BASIC.  See "GDOS Printer Drivers in  GFA BASIC" in
  the January  1990 issue and "GDOS Tutorial" in the August 1990 issue
  for samples of his work.  His main responsibility will  be the START
  disk, which, beginning with the January 1991 issue, will be a strai-
  ght double-sided format.
  Braden comes to START  from  Portland,  Ore.,  where  he  designed a
  number of  successful regional  and national  business and technical
  journals.  In addition to his talents as a graphic  designer, Braden
  is a MIDI aficionado and ST owner.
  Several  popular  ST  authors  have been named contributing editors,
  with responsibility for areas  of increasing  interest to  ST users.
  The new contributing editors are:
           Dan Fruchey - Word Processing/Desktop Publishing
               John Russell and David Plotkin - Hardware
               Christopher Roberts - Telecommunications
  Jim Pierson-Perry  continues to  cover MIDI  and music, while former
  START editor Andrew Reese covers graphics.
          Don't miss the latest issue of STReport; # 6.31
  STR Newsline     "Your Independent News Source"   August 04, 1990
  Bulletin Service      copyright = 1990                     No. 31
Article #235 (376 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Portfolio Goes Catalog Mail Order
Date: Mon Aug  6 23:54:34 1990

Taken from:

     //////       //    //  //////  //////   Z*Net Atari Online Magazine
        //   /   ///   //  //        //      ---------------------------
     //    ///  // // //  //////    //              AUGUST 3, 1990
  //       /   //   ///  //        //        ---------------------------
 //////       //    //  ///////   //                  Issue #531
         CompuServe 71777,2140 * GEnie Z-NET * Cleveland Free-Net

 B. N. GENIUS, a national chain of specialty store similar to SHARPER
 IMAGE, has featured the Atari Portfolio palmtop computer on the cover
 and double inside front spread in their latest catalog.  The Washington,
 D.C. based company has stores in many cities but does the bulk of their
 national business via the popular glossy mail order catalog.  Only
 months ago, the competing SHARPER IMAGE company was rebuffed by Atari
 for mail order sales, although the Portfolio was approved for showroom
 sales.  While the additional exposure and sales of the Portfolio will
 undoubtedly help Atari overall, some Atari dealers are concerned to see
 their formerly exclusive sales territories invaded by mail order...
 something that Atari had at least implicitly promised would not happen.

Article #236 (376 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: ADVERTISING - on Flash for this Fall
Date: Mon Aug  6 23:55:25 1990

Taken From:

     //////       //    //  //////  //////   Z*Net Atari Online Magazine
        //   /   ///   //  //        //      ---------------------------
     //    ///  // // //  //////    //              AUGUST 3, 1990
  //       /   //   ///  //        //        ---------------------------
 //////       //    //  ///////   //                  Issue #531
         CompuServe 71777,2140 * GEnie Z-NET * Cleveland Free-Net

 Atari has negotiated with a number of television and media sources to
 provide Atari computers for "product placement", the latested rage in
 advertising.  On of many "appearances" will be on the "FLASH" television
 series slated for this fall.  FLASH is based on the comic book super
 hero who could move so fast as to be invisible.  Atari computers will be
 used in all of the office and laboratory scenes, with suitably high-tech
 screen representations running on each to accent the science fiction/
 fantasy premise of the youth-appeal action series.  This is part of an
 active advertising and promotion plan scheduled for a fall launch.

Article #237 (376 is last):
From: al163@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Brown)
Subject: Chicago AtariFest Announced
Date: Sat Aug 18 09:34:57 1990

              **** Chicago Area AtariFest Announced ****
     Lake County Atari Computer Enthusiasts are proud to announce "Chicago
AtariFest" to be held November 11th (Sunday) 1990 at the American Legion
Gurnee Post located at W. Grand and Il. Rt. 21 (just 1 mile east of I-94).
The show will open to the public at 10:00 AM and will run until 4:00 PM.
General admission will be $2.00 in advance, $3.00 at the door. Children
under 6 will be admitted free with a paying adult.
     All paid admissions will have a chance at one of several valuable
door prizes to be awarded at various times during the day. For more
information on advance ticket sales, commercial and individual exhibition
space availability, as well as general show information, please contact
LCACE at P.O. Box 8788, Waukegan, IL 60079- 8788. A special show message
base is available on the Python BBS, 708-680-5105 300/1200/2400 24hrs.
     Vendors and Developers! A great way to build awareness of your
products is to hold a product seminar at the Chicago AtariFest. Please
contact the show organizers at the above address for more information on
participating in a show seminar.
                       **** See You There ****

Article #238 (376 is last):
From: aa596@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Date: Wed Sep 12 08:51:38 1990

(Reprinted with permission from the NOAH Newsnotes Newsletter)

The weekend of August 22-23 at the Duesseldorf Atari Fair, ICD introduced
their exciting new AdSpeed ST accelerator to a crowd of over 50,000. The
reception was exceptional. The features are numerous:

     AdSpeed is a 16 MHz 68000 cached accelerator that switches between 16
MHz mode with a 32K cache (16K data & instruction cache with 16K cache tag
RAM)...and a true 8 MHz mode with the cache off. This allows full
compatibility with *all* software in the normal mode PLUS compatibility in
the high speed mode. AdSpeed will not keep you from any of your software.

     The unbelievable part is that the speed can be changed on the fly with
a simple desk accessory. As we demonstrated at Duesseldorf, you can be
running an application like calamus with a document loaded and pull down
the DA to chance speeds at any time! AdSpeed QINDEX times are as good or
better than all other 16MHz 68000 based accelerators.

     AdSpeed ST is smaller than all the others and will fit in all ST
models with no jumper wires needed. (The old CPU must be removed and a
socket installed.) AdSpeed uses SMD technology with a multilayer PCB and
highly integrated logic to keep the performance up and the size down.

     AdSpeed ST has been tested with and is fully compatible with Spectrum
512 in the 8 Mhz mode! We have also successfully tested AdSpeed ST with
Calamus, Omikron BASIC, and other software.

A maintenance update of WordPerfect 4.1 for the Atari ST is scheduled for
a Summer 1990 release. The update includes several feature enhancements and
support for large screen monitors.

     Using a set of common rules, the Auto-Hyphenation feature can be set
to automatically hyphenate words. The Auto-Hyphenation feature can be
turned on or off, and the position of the hyphen can later be changed by
inserting a hard hyphen.

     The look feature in List Files will now show the document in a
standard GEM window, allowing the use of scroll bars to move up and down,
as well as right and left. In addition, you can directly import or export
files between WordPerfect 4.2 for the IBM PC and WordPerfect 4.1 for the
Atari ST.

     The maintenance update also provides support for several new printers.
An additional print disk is sold seperately and provides improved support
for PostScript printing. The Post Script printer drivers offer several
point sizes for each font. Available fonts include Helvetica, Times Roman,
Avant Garde, Bookman, Hevetica Narrow, New Century Schoolbook, Palatino,
Zapf Chancery, and Courier. The additional PostScript print disk is
available for $10 by itself or for an additional $2.50 if ordered with the
maintenance update.

     Registered WordPerfect users may obtain the maintenance update for a
$12.50 shipping and handling fee by calling (800) 222-9409, or by writing

WordPerfect Corporation
Atari Products Division
P.O. Box 731
Orem, Utah 84059-0731

Word is that the latest batch of STe's coming off the assembly line do not
suffer the same DMA problems that many of the inital machines did. This is
good news, as this problem could trash a hard drive when the problem
surfaced. It seems that Atari is being very good about exchanging the
faulty STe computers for working versions. Still no word yet on a TOS 1.6
to 1.62 upgrade offer, however. We'll keep you posted.

920,000 BAUD?
Yup, the new Megatalk board supposedly can support baud rates up to
920,000 baud. The board, from none other than Dave Small and Gadgets by
Small, was designed primarily as an extension to his Spectre GCR emulator.
The board has two serial ports (one supporting Appletalk) and a Mac SCSI
port, allowing the Spectre GCR to now properly run Mac MIDI software, as
well as allowing a user to hook-up Apple Laserwriters, A Mac hard disk, or
connect to a local area network. The board, which is designed to connect to
the Mega ST's expansion bus, is expected to retail for $299.00.

There have been many, many rumors surrounding Atari and a pending move for
the company out of Sunnyvale. The reasons stated have been the time
difference between the Pacific US and Europe. Moving to somewhere in the
Eastern US would allow easy travel to Europe. As of now, no solid word on
where Atari wants to move to, but some insiders have claimed Boston, while
others have already ruled that location out.

The GEnie information system has recently announced a new user billing
system. Called Star*Services, it offers unlimited access to certain hobby
or informational Roundtables (bulletin boards) within the system for a
monthly $4.95 fee. Any service that is free on the system is listed with an
* preceding it, hence the name Star*Services. The free boards and services
include such things as the on-line Grolier Encyclopedia, E-Mail, Hobby
boards, single-player on-line games, and much more. This service also
lowers the hourly charge for 2400 baud access to non-free services (such as
the ST Roundtable) from $10.00 to $6.00 per hour, so if you use GEnie for
more than an hour a month, you'll begin to see savings from this new
policy. The service becomes active on October 1st. Any GEnie user not
signed onto Star*Services by then will no longer be able to access GEnie.

Well, it looks like Atari US's new president, Elie Kenan, has started to
settle in. He has spent the last few months reviewing the currently dismal
state of affairs for Atari US, and is now preparing to correct the
situation. Those that have met him are very optimistic that his presence
here in the US is the start of good things for Atari, and are confident
that he can once again restore Atari to some measure of respect in the
computing community. As always, time will tell, but keep your eyes open, as
the rumors of a major advertising blitz may be more than just rumors...

32Mhz TT!
Seems the current version of the TT at the FCC is a true 32Mhz machine! It
also seems that the next version of the TT, the tower configuration that
will come with Unix and X-windows, will also be built to a true 32Mhz
specification. If this is true, it would mean that Atari is serious about
playing with the big boys in the upscale Unix workstation market. The
current desktop version of the TT should be here soon. When the next
version of the TT will be available is anyone's guess, however.

NOAH Newsnotes
c/o AAA Video Repair & Computers
5538 Pearl Road
Parma, Ohio  44129
(216) 845-6260

Article #239 (376 is last):
From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Developers, Users Sued!
Date: Tue Sep 25 15:48:19 1990

 Z*BREAK #10 - 9/18/90  
 Z*NET publisher Ron Kovacs, ST children's programs developer
 D.A. Brumleve, and reportedly as many as 31 other persons,
 publishers, and companies in the Atari community have been sent
 letters from ATARI ELITE's attorney, threatening legal action
 for libel.  Atari Elite is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Atari club
 that was named in numbers of allegations of piracy related activity
 affecting the PACE Atari show, held in April '90.  The show had
 the lowest attendance of any nationally promoted Atari show to
 date, and some observers tied both the failure of the show and
 what appeared to them to be widespread open piracy to the Elite
 group.  Many well known persons in the Atari community commented
 or questioned those commenting.  Z*NET and other media covered
 the event with reprints of several messages from both sides of
 the resulting dispute.  Now, those persons and companies are
 being served an ultimatum: present a public admission and apology
 or see the Elite in Court.  Here is an excerpt of a typical
                     WILLIAM E. SPEAKMAN, JR.
                          AND ASSOCIATES
                         ATTORNEYS AT LAW
                     WASHINGTON TRUST BUILDING
                  WASHINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA 15301
                          (412) 228-4465
 September 12, 1990
 This office represents The Atari Elite and has been retained to 
 seek redress from you and others for defamatory utterances and 
 You have apparently disseminated to the general public statements
 which indicate that it is the policy of the Atari Elite and the 
 practice of its members to:
 1. Engage in criminal conduct.
 2. Consciously and repeatedly violate copyright laws.
 3. Disparage other user groups and attempt to sabotage an annual 
 Particularly shocking is the fact that you have little, if any, 
 first hand knowledge of the facts.  Your assertions were 
 evidently based on secondary and tertiary sources.
 You actually published unsubstantiated defamatory remarks, 
 obviously without making any effort to verify the veracity of 
 Your actions constitute libel per se which renders them 
 actionable without necessity of showing damages.
 I am authorized to inform you that the board of directors of The 
 Atari Elite will consider the matter closed if you issue a public
 apology and admit your accusations of piracy and other misconduct
 were baseless and without foundation in fact.  Should you not 
 make the apology and admission, the board has authorized me to 
 institute suit to seek vindication and damages through the legal 
 process.  If the apology and admission is not made by October 12,
 1990, I will conclude that you do not intend to do it and will 
 proceed accordingly.
 The lawsuit, if filed, will name you and others as defendants.
 Very truly yours,
 William E. Speakman, Jr.
 cc: The Atari Elite
 Mr. Speakman is not presently available for comment.
 It seems to Z*NET that this letter is more of an attempt to
 prevent fair comment than to promote fair investigation.  Ms.
 Brumleve and Z*NET have not as yet formulated their response to
 this threat against free speech and freedom of the press.  We
 encourage all developers or others who may have received similar
 letters from the Elite to contact Ron Kovacs as soon as possible. 
 We have not been given a list of those who are being threatened,
 and we are concerned that the letter may pressure some recipients
 to admit to acts or opinions that may be untrue, perhaps even to
 the detriment of other recipients who wish to preserve their
 legal rights in this matter.
 Preliminary reaction at Z*NET has been a decision to suspend any
 further coverage or attendance of any future user group Atari
 show until such time as the legal rights and limits of
 liabilities can be determined.  Z*Net has also received word that
 Atari Corporation is now considering taking a similar stance and
 may cancel their WAACE appearance scheduled for October, pending
 verification of the situation and charges being made.  Atari's
 Bob Brodie attended the PACE show and was one of the many who was
 vocal about the show, and it is not known at this time if Brodie
 or Atari are among those who are to be threatened by ELITE.
 Anyone affected by this situation is encouraged to call Ron
 Kovacs immediately in order to help reach a group consensus on
 appropriate action.
 Ron Kovacs: (908) 968-2024 (Voice, courteous evening hours and
 weekends Eastern time, please.) BBS: (908) 968-8148 24 hours.
 Z*NET Atari Online Magazine is a weekly publication covering the 
 Atari and related computer community.  Material contained in this
 edition may be reprinted without permission.  Z*Net, Z*Net Atari
 Online and Z*Net News Service are copyright (c)1990,  Rovac
 Industries Incorporated, Post Office Box  59, Middlesex, New
 Jersey 08846-0059.  Voice (908) 968-2024, BBS (908) 968-8148 at
 1200/2400 Baud 24 hours a day.  Compuserve at PPN 71777,2140  ... 
 GEnie at address: Z-Net.
                   Z*NET Atari Online Magazine
            Copyright (c)1990, Rovac Industries, Inc..
Article #243 (376 is last):
From: aa519@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Scotty Meredith)
Subject: Test Drive 2 for ST (finally)
Date: Thu Nov  8 17:33:30 1990

I just got off the phone with Accolade.  The ST version is *finally* comming
out.  It was due 10-31 but missed the release date.  Aslo comming from the
company, is:

Muscle Cars disk
Super Cars Disk
California scenery
European scenary

It is about time!  They have been out for the Amiga for over a year!  I 
thought for sure we would never see it!  Test Drive 3 is out for the IBM.
However, they have not said anything about the ST (or even Amiga) in the
near future.   Well, we have 5 new titles, so it is a start!

Article #244 (376 is last):
From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Z*NET COMDEX Report # 3: 11/14/90
Date: Sat Nov 17 13:04:03 1990


    ======= ))))))))))======== )))== ))= )))))))= ))))))))========
    ============== ))=== ))=== ))))= ))= ))========= ))===========
    =========== ))==== ))))))= )) )) ))= )))))====== ))===========
    ======== ))========= ))=== ))= ))))= ))========= ))===========
    ======= ))))))))))======== ))== )))= )))))))==== ))===========

 by John Nagy for Z*NET NEWS SERVICE
 This will be my last report before the full wrapup in Friday's Z*NET
 ONLINE MAGAZINE, which will include summaries of these briefs plus new
 information from the COMDEX floor.  We have two other reporters
 attending the last days of COMDEX and we will also offer their
 Tuesday brought larger numbers of visitors to the SANDS convention
 hall, the new facility that was comparatively lightly traveled on
 Monday.  This brought crowds into the Atari booth, the largest and 
most central to the front doors in the entire hall.
 Atari had some of the nicest literature on hand to date, fold-out  
color brochures for the "TT030 Graphics Workstation", the "Mega STe  
Business Computer", and the "1040STe Personal System".  These were  
prepared by Marken and Associates, just recently re-signed with Atari 
after a less than dramatic stay with the advertising firm of Bob Thomas 
and Associates.  Andy Marken was on hand throughout the show to help, 
talk, and learn more about what the users seem to want to know.  That 
can only help in his efforts to promote Atari products.

 While many of the passers-through were most intrigued by the rows of
 Portfolio palmtop computers, others were interested in what they
 perceived as a "more advanced Macintosh" environment.  Still others
 knew of Atari "way back" and wanted to know what these new machines
 could do.  We won't get a real report of the true effectiveness of the
 Atari presence at Comdex until (or IF) we hear what kind of numbers of
 dealer inquiries and distributor contracts are made.
 Openly discussed by sales representatives and exhibitors was the
 possibility/likelihood of placing the 1040STe line into the major
 distributor channels, making them as easy for any dealer anywhere to
 buy as any given software title.  Pricing would become uniform for any
 quantity, and delivery would be out of Atari's hands.  While this idea
 has a great deal going for it, Atari has concerns over possible abuses
 of the plan, such as distributors or dealers "unbundling" bundles of
 hardware and software for the purpose of selling it separately for more
 total income.
 Bundles?  Yes, there are at last approved Atari bundles for fourth-
 quarter distribution and promotion.  There are still several to be
 approved, mostly including games and leisure software, but here are the
 ones that are a go so far.  Remember, the prices here are SUGGESTED
 RETAIL.  Dealer costs tend to be about 66% of the retail, and street
 prices may be closer to 3/4 of the retail:
 *     520STFM HOME ENTERTAINMENT PACK: 520STFM, Missile Command, Star
     Raiders, Crack'd, Moon Patrol, NEOChrome, Joust.  Retail: $579.65
 *     520STFM COMMUNICATIONS PACK: Computer, SX212 modem, STALKER and
     STENO telecommunications software.  Retail: $529.85

     Touch-Up, Easy Draw 3.0.  Retail: $1,398.90

     ANIMATOR.  Retail: $799.90

 *     DTP PACKAGE #1: Mega 2 computer, SM124 Mono Monitor, Megafile 30
     hard drive, SLM605 Laser Printer, CALAMUS.  Retail: $2,199.00
 *     DTP PACKAGE #2: Mega 2 Computer, SM124 Mono Monitor, Megafile 30
     hard drive, SLM605 Laser Printer, DESKSET II. Retail: $2,099.00
 *     PORTFOLIO PC TRAVELER:  Portfolio computer, File Manager ROM
     PC CARD DRIVE, and 128K Memory Card.  Retail: under $500.
 *     New SC1435 COLOR MONITOR, 14" screen, STEREO SOUND, swivel/tilt
     stand.  Retail: $399.00
 If any of those prices sound a bit high, remember that Atari is now
 offering about a 1/3 markup in their retail prices, so dealers can
 either actually make some money OR offer great deals.
 Late word is that the Portfolio may soon be in PRICE CLUB mass-
 marketing discount stores CHEAP.  Dealers need not fear too much, since
 Price Club and other similar membership-oriented warehouse stores
 usually carry NO accessories, so dealers can pick up on the
 considerably more lucrative support market.
 More promotion of the Atari Line came as a surprise to Bob Brodie,
 ISD's Nathan Potechin, and new Atari U.S. General Manager Greg Pratt on
 Tuesday night.  The three attended the Beach Boys concert at Caesar's
 Palace as guests of the Beach Boys, longtime Atari MIDI users.  During
 the opening act, the comedian Andy Bumatai mentioned that he was a
 computer fan and that the Atari TT "just blew me away".  He wasn't
 joking at the time, either.  Later, during the Beach Boys set, Bruce
 Johnston of the band stopped the music and said that he had a
 dedication to make, despite dedications being "old stuff these days". 
 He proceeded to explain that the little computer at the corner of the
 stage had performed flawlessly for three years, "saving their behinds"
 over and over.  He finished by saying, "Atari, this one's for you", and
 the bad went into "Don't Worry Baby".  The Atari table was totally
 surprised, and Greg asked Bob how he pulled that one off.  Bob, as
 surprised as any of them, recovered enough to say "it was just a phone
 call..."  Betcha Greg remembers Bob at Christmas...
 In my last report I said I'd have the QUICKINDEX numbers for the STE
 and TT... well, sorry.  You can get them (ALL of them!) in the Z*NET
 ONLINE MAGAZINE this weekend, along with a complete run down of the
 vendors and products shown.  This report has run long enough!
 Z*NET Atari Online Magazine  is a weekly publication covering the 
 Atari and related computer community.  Material contained in this
 edition may be reprinted without permission.   Z*Net, Z*Net Atari
 Online and  Z*Net News Service  are copyright (c) 1990, by  Rovac
 Industries  Incorporated,  Post Office  Box  59,  Middlesex,  New
 Jersey  08846-0059.  Voice (908) 968-2024,  BBS (908) 968-8148 at
                  1200/2400 Baud 24 hours a day.
    Compuserve at PPN 71777,2140  ...  GEnie at address: Z-Net.
                   Z*NET Atari Online Magazine

Article #245 (376 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: A response on Atari Dealers overcharging article
Date: Fri Nov 23 13:36:32 1990

     The following is an article that Joe Adato of B&G Electronics
has responded to and his response article.  It is not a news article but
it does need to be posted.  The reason for this is because this topic
has caused many hard feelings between many people in the Atari Community.
As I knew it would when I first wrote it.  Was it worth it?
It all depends on if you take the suggestions made by both parties in
the following articles.

-------- Beginning of editorial comment on dealers by Len Stys --------

     I would like to take this time to clear up some confusion
that has been brought up by Joe Adato from B&G Electronics.  Joe had
commented that in the first newsletter, I had wrote in an article a statement
that claimed almost half of the Atari Dealers throughout the U.S. over charge
their customers.  Joe says that B&G Electronics, an Atari Dealer here in
Cleveland feels strongly against this and that what I had stated was a
common misconception.  He said that when you own a store front, you have
to pay for having a store front, this includes paying electricity, gas,
phone bills, employees, and taxes.  The dealership then provides for users what
mail-order cannot such as look at before you buy, help, and many other
things in exchange that you pay for the store front bills.  It is a fair
exchange and I have no argument with this.  However, I was looking at the
little "extras" involved that are commonly overlooked by everyone-
including Atari Dealers.  For example, a dealer may have a BBS and they
think is a nice thing to have for their customers, so they add the cost
of the BBS on to the products that you buy from them.  Another example
might be for a dealer to have enough hired help so that when you walk
into the store, you do not have to wait for the salesman to get done
with another customer.  They then add on the cost of having that employee
there for you (so you don't have to wait) on to the product that you are
going to buy.  The list can go on and on according to what your dealer
thinks YOU want them to provide "extra" for you.  Soon, your dealer is
charging you for everything they think you want and you have no other
choice but to pay for these "extras" because they are an Atari monopoly
in town.

     My article's main point was to show how the Atari Advantage package
could benefit us.  I believed that it could increase dealership and with
increased dealership- the price of products will be lowered due to
competition.  You would be able to choose what "extras" your Atari Dealer
should or should not provide.  If your Atari Dealer has extra employees so
you don't have to wait, you can say to yourself, "I don't like to wait and my
time is valuable so I'll pay the extra $5 for that employee to help me as soon
as I walk in."  But if you would be willing to wait instead of paying the
extra $5 then you can go to another Atari Dealer who doesn't have as many
employees and charges $5 less for that disk drive.  The more people going
to the Atari Dealer who provides or doesn't provide the "extra" will tell
both Atari Dealers what YOU want.  But as long as there are very few Atari
Dealers, they decide what "extras" you want.

     The point wasn't to attack your Atari Dealer.  It was to state that
more Atari Dealers will benefit you, the consumer.  Competition will not
only let you choose what "extras" you like but it will also make sure that
you aren't being taken advantage of.  I had phoned several dealers across the
U.S. and price compared.  Some dealers were charging a certain price while
others were charging as much as 25% more- this is what caused me to make
the statement that almost half the Atari Dealers over charge.  Even
though I explained how a dealer may over charge, I don't believe I had to.

----------- end of editorial comment on dealers ---------------


   In the last issue of the FreeNet newsletter, its editor, Len Stys,
referred to a discussion/disagreement that he and I have been having
since the newsletters opening issue.  Since he has chosen to make this
discussion public, and he explained his position, I appreciate the
opportunity to explain my position.

   Mr. Stys' contention, if I understand it correctly, is that over half
of the current Atari dealerships, in this country, over charge for the
Atari products they sell.  Mr. Stys argument is that these Atari dealers
over charge because they have a monopoly and have weighted themselves
down with extra services that you, the customer, pay for.  I believe that
Mr. Stys does all Atari dealers a great injustice with statements like
that.  I believe that, on the whole, Atari dealers provide an important
and necessary service to all Atari owners.  Without these dealerships you
would probably not be using an Atari product.

   Most Atari dealers are not in the business strictly for the money but
because they believe in the power of Atari computers.  If the making of
money were the sole reason for selling Atari computers I have no doubt
that there would be many fewer Atari dealers, in this country, than there
are now.

   Manufacturers establish what is known as a  Manufacturers Suggested
Retail Value (MSRV) for the products they produce and sell to their
retailers.  Atari Corporation is no different.  As an example, Atari
Corp. has stated that $699.00 is the MSRV for the new 1040STe.  This
means that any Atari dealer can charge $699.00 for this product and not
be accused of over charging or price gouging.  If the dealer wishes he
can charge something less than the MSRV of $699.00.  I personally know of
no Atari dealer that is charging more than the MSRV.   In fact, just
about every Atari dealer I know of sells the 1040STe for much less than
the MSRV.

   There are several factors that contribute to what an individual Atari
dealer has to charge, for the products and services he sells.  Mr. Stys
mentions some of them, i.e. rent, electricity, gas, phone, and employees.
Mr. Stys realizes that these expenses are normal and is prepared, as a
customer, to pay his fair portion of them when making his purchase.  Mr.
Stys problem is with what he has termed "extra comforts".  These extra
comforts are things like,

  1) Running a BBS board so all Atari owners can stay in touch with
     each other and help each other when help is needed.

  2) Having an 800 phone number so customers, living out of the local
     call area, can have an easier time of reaching their Atari dealer
     for assistance.

  3) Having a sales force large enough to care for customers so there
     will be a minimum amount of waiting when the customer enters the
     Atari dealers store.

   It's clear that services such as these are what Mr. Stys is objecting
to.  These, so called extra comforts, are for the customer and are not
intended to make life for the Atari dealer easier.  Although it does take
extra equipment which adds a small additional charge to the cost of the
product that you, the customer, purchase from your chosen dealer.  Mr.
Stys objects to having to pay for these extras, and I can understand his
feelings.  There is no doubt that Mr. Stys is extremely knowledgeable
about computers and especially Atari computers.  There is no doubt that
when Mr. Stys chooses to purchase any Atari product, be it hardware or
software, he knows all there is to know about it.  He doesn't need the
extra help that most Atari dealers provide for their customers.  But
unfortunately most Atari owners, especially first time buyers, are not
nearly as knowledgeable about Atari computers as Mr. Stys is, and it is
these individuals who need this extra help.

   For example, when a customer walks into B & G Electronics, he/she can
try out any piece of software that we have.  Most of the time the
customer has little or no knowledge of how to run the software.  This
means that a B & G  employee must spend time with the customer showing
them what the product will and won't do.  This takes time, lots of time.
It is not unusual to spend at least 1/2 hour showing a customer a
particular product.  While doing this the employee is unable to take
phone calls or help any other customer who might enter B & G.  Without
this extra help, B & G would not be able to exist and provide the quality
service that its customers have come to expect.

   Mr. Stys might suggest that we recommend an Atari User group to these
individuals so they can get the help they need.  We do!!  Depending upon
where our customers live, B & G will recommend that they visit one of the
four Atari User groups now in existence in the Cleveland area. 
Unfortunately, it has been our experience that most Atari owners, for one
reason or another, do not belong to any Atari User group.  Nor will they
avail themselves of these groups.  I have no answer to why this is, Ijust
know (as do most Atari dealers) that it is.  This means that the main
source of Atari information to these Atarians is the information they get
when they call their local Atari dealer.

   Since there are very few Atari dealers throughout the country, those
that are still in existence are becoming even more important.  Different
dealers will use different methods to try and stay in touch with their
customers.  B & G  uses three techniques;

  1) We publish a newsletter at least once a year and mail it to all of
     our customers.

  2) We operate a public BBS board so any Atarian can call and
     communicate with other Atarians or other computer owners.  In this
     way no matter where they may live they have an avenue for finding a
     solution to a problem they might be having or information about
     particular program, or game, they're interested in.

   3) An 800 phone number.  This addition gives those individuals who
      don't own a modem and who don't have an Atari dealership located in
      their city a way of getting the help and information they need.

   We in Cleveland are lucky.  Here there are two Atari dealerships. 
There are several cities throughout the United States that do not have
even one Atari dealership.  If you want to buy an Atari product don't go
to Youngstown, Ohio because there is no Atari dealer to be found there. 
If you want to buy an Atari product don't go to Spartensburg, South
Carolina because there's no Atari dealer in that town either.  I could
fill pages with places that don't have a single Atari dealership.  This
means that those Atari dealers that are still in business have an
obligation to try to reach these people and let them know that they are
not alone.  These individuals depend greatly upon Atari dealers from
other cities for the products they receive and the information they get. 
Sending newsletters, running a BBS board, and having an 800 phone number
make it easier for these people to keep in touch and not feel like
they're somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

   Another point Mr. Stys makes, which I disagree with, is his claim that
Atari dealers have a monopoly.  That's like saying that all Chevrolet
dealers have a monopoly because if you want to purchase a Chevrolet you
have to go the a Chevrolet dealer. Or, all Sears department stores have a
monopoly on Craftsman products because if you want to buy a Craftsman
hammer you have to go to a Sears department store to get one.  As I
mentioned earlier, Cleveland has two Atari dealerships, therefore a
monopoly does not exist in this city.  Since there are Atari dealers
(mail order houses and retail stores) throughout the country, if an
individual is unhappy with his current Atari dealer all he or she has to
do is pick up the phone and call another one.

   I realize that this may sound like a contradiction, to what I said
earlier, but it's not.  As long as a dealer has an 800 phone number or a
BBS board the customer is always just a phone call away.  That is exactly
why it is important for a dealer to have a BBS board and an 800 phone
number.  As mentioned before, Atari dealers sell Atari computers because
they believe in the computer.  If they were solely interested in making
money they would have a much easier time and make a much greater return
for their investment if they sold MacIntosh or IBM computers.

   Are there enough Atari dealers in this country?
   Not by a long shot!

   Could we use more?
   Absolutely YES!!

   Is Atari corporation doing enough to promote Atari Computers?
   Without a doubt...NO!!!

   Could Atari Corp., or should Atari Corp. do More?
   Well, I think we all know the answer to that question.

   Mr. Stys is correct when he states that you should choose carefully
who you want your Atari dealer to be.  But, he does all Atari dealers an
injustice when he tries to dictate what they should or shouldn't charge
for their product line.  There is a direct relationship between price and
service.  Any store, be it a computer store or shoe store, bases its sale
price on the total cost of the product.  This cost includes not only the
cost of the item itself but all of the "extras" and the right, of the
store keeper, to make a fair and reasonable profit for his investment of
time and money.  If you, the customer, feel that the service and help you
get from your Atari dealer justify the cost of the product, then you
should continue to bring your patronage to that store.  If, on the other
hand, you feel that you're being charged too much then it's your right
and responsibility to find another dealer who will cater to your wants
and needs.  On this I believe Mr. Stys and I agree.


     There is a chance that this article will appear in the next Atari
SIG Newsletter- that is if one still exists.

     The only comment I have to make in response to Joe's article is to
do what he suggests- shop around.  If an Atari Dealer is indeed
overcharging on a product or service then you will buy it from another
dealer and that dealer will not enjoy your patronage.  The statement
used time and time again that says, "support your LOCAL Atari Dealer"
does not exist anymore.  It is now "support your LOCAL Atari Dealer IF
you feel what you are getting is worth what you are paying for."

     Please be aware that I was not only stating Atari Dealers overcharge
on products- in which most cases, they are not allowed but there is no
restriction on the service they charge you on having something done
on your computer.  This is where I have received many comments of support
and agreement.  I had also stated that I never had paid below retail
on prices.
     The statement in where over half the Atari Dealers in the U.S.
overcharge their customers was taken from the first issue of the
Atari SIG Newsletter from the Atari Advantage article by me.
It suggested that the Atari Advantage package might be a good way to
increase dealership thus giving you more of a choice.

      We have two opposing arguments here and my best recommendation is
not to believe either one of them.  Just find out for yourself.
Len Stys

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