Sam Computers Ltd
From the ashes of MGT came Sam Computers Limited.
SamCo went into receivership on the 15th July 1992.
Stock of the Coupé was then in the hands of West Coast Computers
Read more at Wikipedia
Read more about SamCo’s demise at The Your Sinclair Rock ‘n’ Roll Years from YS81.
It's official - SAMCo has gone down. But! The Coupe lives on. Jon Pillar takes up the story...
SAMCo has gone into receivership. The company had been running a holding operation since February and recently attracted the attention of a major potential backer. Negotiations were proceeding well, but the anonymous investor had other commitments, and asked the company to wait before giving a final decision. On Wednesday 15th July SAMCo ran out of time and the company was put in the hands of the receivers.
The people who will be most severely affected by SAMCo's closure are those customers who have placed orders with the company. If you have sent money to SAMCo and are still waiting for your goods, contact the receivers Stones Jones at [address deleted - NickH].
The chances of a rescue package being put together for the Coupe are good. Firstly, the investor is reportedly still very interested in making the deal, despite the demise of SAMCo - hence the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. Secondly, the Coupe community itself is rallying around the machine. SAM Centre has heard that at least three companies will bid for the peripherals (such as Search: “Kaleidoscope” and the Video Digitiser), while the INDUG user group is discussing plans for the computer itself with a group of businessmen here in the UK.
On the software front, there is little doubt that all the scheduled releases, such as Waterworks, Plasmoid and Craft will appear - the only question is, via whom. Expect some fierce bidding before the situation is resolved. Future releases seem assured - SAM Centre contacted the major Coupe publishers, and all said they would continue to support the machine. Search: “Noesis” will release the long-awaited platform game Boing! in autumn, with a top licence planned for Christmas. FRED Publishing will release Parallax, the MODE 4 shoot-'em-up, and the spelling checker utility Search: “Spellmaster”, on 15th August. Supplement Software has another puzzle game, Dropout, out this month, with a further two games already in development. ESI, the Polish code wizards, are working on a super-Pacman clone while waiting for a publisher to pick up their reportedly amazing soundtracker program E-Tracker.
Managing director Alan Miles is blunt about the company's failure. "We haven't been strong enough. It all goes back to MGT (the original SAM company which crashed in the summer of 1990) - because of that and the fact we couldn't find anyone else to pick up SAM, Bruce Gordon and I took it on ourselves, even though we knew we'd never get support from the banks." Miles is equally forthcoming about the problems within the company. "Customers who have ordered goods are unwilling to buy anything else until their original order is filled; we've had a lot of problems moving orders through." There's also a surprising comment concerning SAMCo's own Newsdisk. "I think we gave too much away with the Newsdisk, too much of our games in the playable demos. People just weren't responding - after putting the complete first level of Plasmoid on the Newsdisk, we had five orders from a subscription base of thirteen hundred."
Looking to the future, Miles echoes the sentiments of the SAM world at large. "It is retrievable. There are one or two plans afoot to do the very best that we can for the users out there. The Coupe needs someone to come along who will fall in love with the machine the way we have, but who also has the cash needed to build, advertise and promote the machine the way it deserves to be. Sadly, we've proved that no matter how dedicated you are, you can't be a little computer company."
The final words rest with Bruce Gordon, designer of the Coupe hardware. "It would be a great sadness if SAM disappeared. But this won't happen. There's just too much support to let the Coupe die."
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
Bob Brenchley, head of Format Publications and the INDUG user group, has just got in touch with details of the rescue package mentioned above. Details are yet to be finalised - the deal is in the draft agreement stage at the moment - but here's Bob with the gen so far. "A new company, West Coast Computers, has been set up to distribute the Coupe in the UK. We're now trying to get the rights to produce the machine, as well as sorting out a substantial advertising and promotion scheme. I'm contacting people who are willing to loan the company capital in order to make the project financially viable. I'm confident we'll succeed - since Monday, we've managed to raise £5,000 out of the minimum £12,000 needed." So, a bit of smile-raising news to end with. Anyone with a spare couple of thou lying around the place and an urge to give it to Bob should contact him at Format HQ. This is also the place to head for with any Coupe problems, as the seemingly unstoppable Bob is also offering technical advice, as well as trying to organise a spares and repairs service. A hearty round of applause and a large 'Hurrah!' is in order, methinks, and we'll be giving you the full lowdown on the rescue attempt next month.
The SAMCo Logo design was based on musical scale notation, and electrical tracks. Coincidentally (or not) it was based on the lines around the top of the Phoenixway building.