Miles Gordon Technology
When MGT went under in June 1990 Alan and Bruce brought out the rights to the Coupé to form Sam Computers Ltd
Read more about MGT on Wikipedia
A major investigation by Contact has led to this, a complete break down of Miles Gordon Technology’s final year in business. Why did the company collapse? Was it Mis-management…Over production…or just Bad debt?
Johnson Fry Corporate Finance Limited arranged the public flotation of Miles Gordon Technology, in charge of the project was Simon White, a senior executive at Johnson Fry. In his own words he explains why the company failed and the markets view of the machine.
During June and July of 1989, Johnson Fry acted as sponsors for the company Miles Gordon Technology plc and raised a sum of £500,000 which capitalised the company at a total of £750,000.The investment was always seen in the high risk/possibly high reward category and was intended to fund the final development and subsequent marketing of the SAM Coupe home computer both in the UK and abroad.
The management of the company consisted of Bruce Gordon, Alan Miles and Robert Collins as Executive Directors, with Andrew Browne as Non-executive Chairman and Brain Barrows as Johnson Fry’s Non-executive Director on the board. Both Bruce Gordon and Alan Miles were well known in the computer market for their previous work, providing peripherals for the Spectrum, and together with the rest of the management team, they succeeded in the remarkable achievement of providing, what was widely recognised as an exceptionally good machine for its price.
There was no doubt in our mind that, on a technical level on, the computer represented extremely good value for money due to its custom ASIC, and it showed good use of a innovative design, not only in appearance, but in use of the latest disc drives and their ease of incorporation.
The machine contained very substantial expansion possibilities for its price. It was easy to assemble and was targeted at a popular market. In my personal opinion while one can always criticise companies that have failed, and blame their management, there is no question though, that any of the management did not put 110%in to the project and worked unfailingly for its success.
The company failed for a number of reasons, one of the most significant being the delay by the original supplier in providing the finished ASICs. When a secondary supplier was engaged, it was quite apparent that the original supplier had taken excessive time in carrying out its production design. The delay in providing machines to work with resulted in the following delay in the production of the DOS and initial software.
The upshot of these factors meant that only 200 machines were shipped out by Christmas 1989 (MGT claimed a number of just under 1,000) and thus the period of the year where the majority of sales takes place had been missed with the resultant detriment into the company’s cash flow. The deepening recession certainly affected the machines market and while the computer press gave the machine outstanding reviews, further delays in the initial software combined with the seasonal level of sales meant that the company would not have been able to survive without further cash input.
Over the next few months, a considerable effort was expended by the company’s directors and ourselves, but the institutional funding had, by this point withdrawn from any deals of even a nominally speculative nature. Talks between interested commercial partners continued right up to the date that the receivers were appointed. In short, the company simply ran out of money despite having what was acknowledged as an excellent product and against a back ground of growing sales. After a short time in receivership, the company went into liquidation. Bearing in mind their own personal liabilites, Robert Collins sought employment elsewhere, while Bruce Gordon and Alan Miles started a new company called SAM Computers Limited and, following agreement with the Official Receiver, the continuation of the SAM Coupe, its design and its peripherals.
While the market has inevitably moved on during this period, there is no doubt that the SAM Coupe is still a product unmatched in terms of overall performance per pound, its current company though, does not have the backing to maintain the extremely high level (and very costly) marketing campaign that accompanied the initial launch.
Read more about MGT’s demise at The Your Sinclair Rock ‘n’ Roll Years