Gateway 2000 Inc. has offered to buy Amiga Technologies, the now-bankrupt German company that launched the first multimedia machine in 1985.
Earlier today, Gateway, based in North Sioux City, S.D., announced it had applied to a German bankruptcy court to acquire the assets of Amiga Technologies GmbH, a subsidiary of the ESCOM AG.
ESCOM acquired Amiga in April 1995 after that company went bankrupt, and subsequently went bankrupt itself in July of last year.
Gateway said it planned to rename the company as Amiga International and operate it as a separate business unit, developing new products for the Amiga market. Petro Tyschtschenko, president of Amiga, will stay on in the position.
A spokeswoman said Gateway could not comment beyond what was in its official statement, pending approval of the deal from German regulatory agencies.
The Amiga market, which is very small in the United States, has a larger presence in Europe. The company's niche is mainly in the video industry and three-dimensional rendering industry.
By comparison, Gateway has been very successful in promoting its direct market model in the United States, but has yet to become a household name in Europe.
"Maybe they're trying to use it to get more international exposure," said Ross Rubin, group director of consumer Internet technologies at Jupiter Communications, in New York. "Gateway and Dell [Computer Corp.] have been predominantly strong in domestic sales but not as strong as their competitors overseas. They may be looking for exposure."
Rubin also pointed out that Gateway has been experimenting in the multimedia market, most notably with its Destination big-screen PC. The Destination also marked Gateway's first foray into the retail world.
"There's been a lot of talk about using Amiga technology for set-top boxes," Rubin said. "The operating system is very high-performance on modest hardware. It might be used as sort of a [network computer] play."
But Rubin still seemed puzzled by the purchase.
"Gateway has been very successful at basically sticking to the Wintel platform and party line through the years," he said. "There were a couple of rumors a while back that they might license the Mac OS, but they've just been kind of preaching the gospel very strongly for years. So I do find it surprising they would invest in alternative OS technology."