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AmigaOS Switches Hands

In a surprise announcement Amiga Inc officially revealed that they had sold the Amiga Operating System to KMOS Inc. This transfer and sale included all of Amiga's right, title, source code, and all versions, from the Classic AmigaOS through AmigaOS 4 and all subsequent versions.

This was an unexpected announcement especially as it would seem Amiga Inc had been involved in talks regarding the sale of the AmigaOS since early 2003. According to the press release, Amiga Inc entered into an Agreement with Itec LLC, later acquired by KMOS, Inc in April of the same year, with the agreement only publicly revealed in the last few days. Bill McEwen, CEO of Amiga Inc explained the reason behind the sale was that they wanted to focus on the growing mobile market, and so concentrate their time and resources on the development of AmigaDE. He stated, “we began looking for a company that could focus and provide proper resources for the AmigaOS and the associated markets and we found that with KMOS, Inc”.

KMOS Inc is a US based company involved in the development and distribution of enabling technology, software applications and specialty content to the wired and wireless communication market. Although little can be found on the Internet about KMOS and its products, it is known that the company is led by Garry Hare. In the 1980s, he was one of the programmers who produced Atari game Ballblazer, and later went on to work on games developed for Luminara and Lucasarts. In the 1990s his career really took off as became founder and president of Fathom Pictures, Executive VP for Broadband Content Into Networks Inc, and was even a founder of Phillips Media Europe. It is clear that Garry Hare's experience in the games industry and in the business world makes him the perfect CEO to lead the effort to realize the potential of the AmigaOS.

The problem for most commentators at the moment is that not enough is known about the long-term plans KMOS have for the AmigaOS. However, in the announcement this week the company did indicate that their immediate plans involve honouring “the terms of the November 2001, agreement with Amiga One Partners: Hyperion VOF and Eyetech Group Ltd., an English Corporation, in their entirety”. Hyperion will therefore continue to develop AmigaOS 4, while Eyetech will provide new hardware. It has also been confirmed that the acquisition will not affect the release of the AmigaOS 4 Pre-Release, and the operating system will retain its name rather than being named after the new owner.

Hyperion Entertainment, who appear to have known in advance of the latest developments were supportive of the new owner. Managing partner, Evert Carton said, “We welcome the acquisition of the AmigaOS intellectual property by KMOS. Together with KMOS, Hyperion looks forward to exploring new business opportunities for AmigaOS 4”. Ben Hermans was even more upbeat stating on Amiga World, “I consider it very good news that a reliable, well-funded party with somebody at the helm who has a very impressive track-record like Garry Hare, decided to acquire the AmigaOS IP”.

Further announcements that might shed further light on KMOS and their plans are expected soon. Ben Hermans made the comment that we should “expect more good news in the course of the next few days”, while Ray A. Akey of Amiga Inc revealed that the next Club Amiga Monthly, out in the first week of April, would be a special issue.

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