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|Headquarters||Brentwood, Essex, United Kingdom|
|UK and Ireland|
Number of employees
Amstrad was a British electronics company. As of 2006 [update] , Amstrad's main business is manufacturing Sky UK interactive boxes. From 2010 Sky integrated Amstrad's Satellite division as part of Sky so they could make they own Set Top Boxes in-house.
Sky UK is a British telecommunications company which serves the United Kingdom owned by Comcast. Sky provides television and broadband Internet services, fixed line and mobile telephone services to consumers and businesses in the United Kingdom. It is the UK's largest pay-TV broadcaster with 12.5 million customers as of 2018. It was the UK's most popular digital TV service until it was overtaken by Freeview in April 2007. Its corporate headquarters are in Isleworth.
Amstrad was founded in 1968 by Alan Sugar at the age of 21. The name is a contraction of Alan Michael Sugar Trading. It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1980. During the late 1980s, Amstrad had a substantial share of the PC market in the UK. Amstrad was once a FTSE 100 Index constituent but since 2007 is wholly owned by Sky UK.
Alan Michael Sugar, Baron Sugar is a British business magnate, media personality, politician, and political adviser. In 1968, he started what would later become his largest business venture, consumer electronics company Amstrad. In 2007, he sold his remaining interest in the company in a deal to BSkyB for £125m.
London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located in the City of London, England. As of April 2018, London Stock Exchange had a market capitalisation of US$4.59 trillion. It was founded in 1571, making it one of the oldest exchanges in the world. Its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. It is part of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).
The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index, also called the FTSE 100 Index, FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the "Footsie", is a share index of the 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalisation. It is seen as a gauge of prosperity for businesses regulated by UK company law. The index is maintained by the FTSE Group, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange Group.
The company had offices in Kings Road, Brentwood, Essex.
Brentwood is a town in the Borough of Brentwood, in the county of Essex in the East of England. It is in the London commuter belt, 20 miles (30 km) east-north-east of Charing Cross, and near the M25 motorway. Latest figures suggest the town has a population of 79,000.
Amstrad (also known as AMSTrad, for AMS, Alan Michael Sugar, and Trad for Trading) was founded in 1966 by Alan Sugar at the age of 19, the name of the original company being AMS Trading (Amstrad) Limited, derived from its founder's initials (Alan Michael Sugar). Amstrad entered the market in the field of consumer electronics. During the 1970s they were at the forefront of low-priced hi-fi, TV and car stereo cassette technologies. Lower prices were achieved by injection moulding plastic hi-fi turntable covers, undercutting competitors who used the vacuum forming process.
Consumer electronics or home electronics are electronic equipments intended for everyday use, typically in private homes. Consumer electronics include devices used for entertainment, communications, and home-office activities. In British English, they are often called brown goods by producers and sellers, to distinguish them from "white goods" which are meant for housekeeping tasks, such as washing machines and refrigerators, although nowadays, these would be considered brown goods, some of these being connected to the Internet. In the 2010s, this distinction is not always present in large big box consumer electronics stores, such as Best Buy, which sell both entertainment, communication, and home office devices and kitchen appliances such as refrigerators.
Injection moulding is a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting molten material into a mould. Injection moulding can be performed with a host of materials mainly including metals, glasses, elastomers, confections, and most commonly thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. Material for the part is fed into a heated barrel, mixed, and injected (Forced) into a mould cavity, where it cools and hardens to the configuration of the cavity. After a product is designed, usually by an industrial designer or an engineer, moulds are made by a mould-maker from metal, usually either steel or aluminium, and precision-machined to form the features of the desired part. Injection moulding is widely used for manufacturing a variety of parts, from the smallest components to entire body panels of cars. Advances in 3D printing technology, using photopolymers which do not melt during the injection moulding of some lower temperature thermoplastics, can be used for some simple injection moulds.
Vacuum forming is a simplified version of thermoforming, where a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto a single-surface mold, and forced against the mold by a vacuum. This process can be used to form plastic into permanent objects such as turnpike signs and protective covers. Normally draft angles are present in the design of the mold to ease removal of the formed plastic part from the mold.
Amstrad expanded to the marketing of low cost, amplifiers and tuners, imported from the Far East and badged with the Amstrad name for the UK market. Their first electrical product was the Amstrad 8000 amplifier.
An audio power amplifier is an electronic amplifier that amplifies low-power electronic audio signals such as the signal from radio receiver or electric guitar pickup to a level that is high enough for driving loudspeakers or headphones. Audio power amplifiers are found in all manner of sound systems including sound reinforcement, public address and home audio systems and musical instrument amplifiers like guitar amplifiers. It is the final electronic stage in a typical audio playback chain before the signal is sent to the loudspeakers.
A tuner is a subsystem that receives radio frequency (RF) transmissions like radio broadcasts and converts the selected carrier frequency and its associated bandwidth into a fixed frequency that is suitable for further processing, usually because a lower frequency is used on the output. Broadcast FM/AM transmissions usually feed this intermediate frequency (IF) directly into a demodulator that convert the radio signal into audio-frequency signals that can be fed into an amplifier to drive a loudspeaker.
In 1980, Amstrad went public trading on the London Stock Exchange, and doubled in size each year during the early '80s. Amstrad began marketing its own home computers in an attempt to capture the market from Commodore and Sinclair, with the Amstrad CPC range in 1984. The CPC 464 was launched in the UK, Ireland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Spain and Italy. It was followed by the CPC 664 and CPC 6128 models. Later "Plus" variants of the 464 and 6128, launched in 1990, increased their functionality slightly.
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977, that started with what Byte Magazine called the "trinity of 1977", and which became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user. These computers were a distinct market segment that typically cost much less than business, scientific or engineering-oriented computers of the time such as the IBM PC, and were generally less powerful in terms of memory and expandability. However, a home computer often had better graphics and sound than contemporary business computers. Their most common uses were playing video games, but they were also regularly used for word processing, doing homework, and programming.
Commodore International was an American home computer and electronics manufacturer founded by Jack Tramiel. Commodore International (CI), along with its subsidiary Commodore Business Machines (CBM), participated in the development of the home–personal computer industry in the 1970s and 1980s. The company developed and marketed the world's best-selling desktop computer, the Commodore 64 (1982), and released its Amiga computer line in July 1985. With quarterly sales ending 1983 of $49 million, Commodore was one of the world's largest personal computer manufacturers.
The Amstrad CPC is a series of 8-bit home computers produced by Amstrad between 1984 and 1990. It was designed to compete in the mid-1980s home computer market dominated by the Commodore 64 and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, where it successfully established itself primarily in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and the German-speaking parts of Europe.
In 1985, the popular Amstrad PCW range was introduced, which were principally word processors, complete with printer, running the LocoScript word processing program. They were also capable of running the CP/M operating system. The Amsoft division of Amstrad was set up to provide in-house software and consumables.
On 7 April 1986 Amstrad announced it had bought from Sinclair Research "...the worldwide rights to sell and manufacture all existing and future Sinclair computers and computer products, together with the Sinclair brand name and those intellectual property rights where they relate to computers and computer related products."which included the ZX Spectrum, for £5 million. This included Sinclair's unsold stock of Sinclair QLs and Spectrums. Amstrad made more than £5 million on selling these surplus machines alone. Amstrad launched two new variants of the Spectrum: the ZX Spectrum +2, based on the ZX Spectrum 128, with a built-in tape drive (like the CPC 464) and, the following year, the ZX Spectrum +3, with a built-in floppy disk drive (similar to the CPC 664 and 6128), taking the 3" disks that many Amstrad machines used.
In 1986 Amstrad entered the IBM PC-compatible arena with the PC1512 system. In standard Amstrad livery and priced at £399 it was a success, capturing more than 25% of the European computer market.[ citation needed ] It was MS-DOS-based, but with the GEM graphics interface, and later Windows. In 1988 Amstrad attempted to make the first affordable portable personal computer with the PPC512 and 640 models, introduced a year before the Macintosh Portable. They ran MS-DOS on an 8 MHz processor, and the built-in screen could emulate the Monochrome Display Adapter or Color Graphics Adapter. Amstrad's final (and ill-fated) attempts to exploit the Sinclair brand were based on the company's own PCs; a compact desktop PC derived from the PPC 512, branded as the Sinclair PC200, and the PC1512 rebadged as the Sinclair PC500.
Amstrad's second generation of PCs, the PC2000 series, were launched in 1989. However, due to a problem with the Seagate ST277R hard disk shipped with the PC2386 model, these had to be recalled and fitted with Western Digital controllers. Amstrad later successfully sued Seagate, but following bad press over the hard disk problems, Amstrad lost its lead in the European PC market.
In the early 1990s, Amstrad began to focus on portable computers rather than desktop computers. In 1990, Amstrad tried to enter the video game console market with the Amstrad GX4000, similar to what Commodore did at the same time with the C64 GS. The console, based on the Amstrad 464 Plus hardware, was a commercial failure, because it used outdated technology, and most games available for it were straight ports of CPC games that could be purchased for much less in their original format.
In 1993, Amstrad was licensed by Sega to produce a system which was similar to the Sega TeraDrive, going by the name of the Amstrad Mega PC, to try to regain their image in the gaming market. The system didn't succeed as well as expected, mostly due to its high initial retail price of £999. In that same year, Amstrad released the PenPad, a PDA similar to the Apple Newton, and released only weeks before it. It was a commercial failure, and had several technical and usability problems. It lacked most features that the Apple Newton included, but had a lower price at $450.
As Amstrad began to concentrate less on computers and more in communication, they purchased several telecommunications businesses including Betacom, Dancall Telecom, Viglen Computers and Dataflex Design Communications during the early 1990s. Amstrad has been a major supplier of set top boxes to UK satellite TV provider Sky since its launch in 1989. Amstrad was key to the introduction of Sky, as the company was responsible for finding methods to produce the requisite equipment at an attractive price for the consumer - Alan Sugar famously approached "someone who bashes out dustbin lids", to manufacture satellite dishes cheaply. Ultimately, it was the only manufacturer producing receiver boxes and dishes at the system's launch, and has continued to manufacture set top boxes for Sky, from analogue to digital and now including Sky's Sky+ digital video recorder.
In 1997, Amstrad PLC was wound up, its shares being split into Viglen and Betacom instead. Betacom PLC was then renamed Amstrad PLC.
The same year, Amstrad supplied set top boxes to Australian broadcaster Foxtel, and in 2004 to Italian broadcaster Sky Italia.
In 2000, Amstrad released the first of its combined telephony and e-mail devices, called the E-m@iler . This was followed by the E-m@iler Plus in 2002, and the E3 Videophone in 2004. Amstrad's UK E-m@iler business is operated through a separate company, Amserve Ltd which is 89.8% owned by Amstrad and 10.2% owned by DSG International plc (formerly Dixons plc).
Amstrad has also produced a variety of home entertainment products over their history, including hi-fi, televisions, VCRs, and DVD players.
In July 2007, BSkyB announced a takeover of Amstrad for £125m,a 23.7% premium on its market capitalisation. BSkyB had been a major client of Amstrad, accounting for 75% of sales for its 'set top box' business. Having supplied BSkyB with hardware since its inception in 1988, market analysts had noted the two companies becoming increasingly close.
Sugar commented that he wished to play a part in the business, saying: "I turn 60 this year and I have had 40 years of hustling in the business, but now I have to start thinking about my team of loyal staff, many of whom have been with me for many years."
It was announced on 2 July 2008 that Sugar had stepped down as Chairman of Amstrad, which had been planned since BSkyB took over in 2007. Amstrad was taken off the Stock Exchange on the 9th October 2008.
Recently, Amstrad has ceased operations as a trading company, and exist in name only.Under Sky, Amstrad currently only produce satellite receivers for Sky, as doing so allows them to reduce costs by cutting out the middleman. Amstrad's former offices are now a Premier Inn Hotel.
Sky bought Amstrad so they could have their own hardware development division to develop new Satellite boxes (Sky Q) made in-house.[ citation needed ]
The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research.
The Tandy 1000 was the first in a line of IBM PC compatible home computer systems produced by the Tandy Corporation for sale in its Radio Shack and Radio Shack Computer Center chains of stores.
The Amiga 2000, or A2000, is a personal computer released by Commodore in March 1987. It was introduced as a "big box" expandable variant of the Amiga 1000 but quickly redesigned to share most of its electronic components with the contemporary Amiga 500 for cost reduction. Expansion capabilities include two 3.5" drive bays and one 5.25" bay that can be used by a 5.25" floppy drive, a hard drive, or CD-ROM once they became available.
The Amstrad PCW series is a range of personal computers produced by British company Amstrad from 1985 to 1998, and also sold under licence in Europe as the "Joyce" by the German electronics company Schneider in the early years of the series' life. The PCW, short for Personal Computer Word-processor, was targeted at the wordprocessing and home office markets. When it was launched the cost of a PCW system was under 25% of the cost of almost all IBM-compatible PC systems in the UK, and as a result the machine was very popular both in the UK and in Europe, persuading many technophobes to venture into using computers. However the last two models, introduced in the mid-1990s, were commercial failures, being squeezed out of the market by the falling prices, greater capabilities and wider range of software for IBM-compatible PCs.
The SAM Coupé is an 8-bit British home computer that was first released in late 1989. It was designed to have compatibility with and is commonly considered a clone of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer, since it features a compatible screen mode and emulated compatibility and was marketed as a logical upgrade from the Spectrum. It was originally manufactured by Miles Gordon Technology (MGT), based in Swansea in the United Kingdom.
Locomotive Basic is a proprietary dialect of the BASIC programming language written by Locomotive Software on the Amstrad CPC and also as a GEM application on the Amstrad PC1512 and 1640. It was the main ancestor of Mallard BASIC, the interpreter for CP/M supplied with the Amstrad PCW.
The Amstrad PC1512 was Amstrad's mostly IBM PC-compatible computer system, first manufactured in 1986. It was later succeeded by the PC1640.
The Enterprise is a Zilog Z80-based home computer first produced in 1985. It was developed by British company Intelligent Software and marketed by Enterprise Computers. Its two variants are the Enterprise 64, with 64 kilobytes of Random Access Memory (RAM), and the Enterprise 128, with 128 KB of RAM.
The Tatung Einstein is an eight-bit home/personal computer produced by Taiwanese corporation Tatung, designed in Bradford, England at Tatung's research laboratories and assembled in Bridgnorth and Telford, England. It was aimed primarily at small businesses.
Locomotive Software was a small British software house which did most of its development for Amstrad's home and small business computers of the 1980s, founded by Richard Clayton and Chris Hall on 14 February 1983.
The TC-2048 or Timex Computer 2048 is a 1984 computer created by "Timex North American, Lda", a branch of Timex Corporation. It was based on the Timex Sinclair 2048 prototype, a 16k version of the TS-2068, with a similar redesign case, Kempston joystick interface and additional video modes.
SYmbiosis Multitasking Based Operating System (SymbOS) is a multitasking operating system for Zilog Z80-based 8-bit computer systems.
Imagineering was a software distribution company founded by Jodee Rich in the early 1980s. It grew rapidly before running into financial trouble in the late 1980s. Imagineering was sold to First Pacific in 1990 at which time Jodee Rich left the business. Graham Pickles, managing director of sister company Tech Pacific, took the helm of the group and merged the two businesses together under the Tech Pacific banner in 1990.
Kay 1024 was a Russian clone of the ZX Spectrum that was produced in 1998. It was made by the NEMO company and had 1024 KB of RAM and was a rival of Scorpion ZS 256. It had a slightly lower price. It had a controller for PC keyboard and HDD but not for floppy disks, although it was available as an extension card. It was very easy to connect General Sound, with turbo mode at 10 MHz.
The Commodore PC compatible systems are a range of IBM PC compatible personal computers introduced in 1984 by home computer manufacturer Commodore Business Machines.
The ICL DRS was a range of departmental computers from International Computers Limited (ICL). Standing originally for Distributed Resource System, the full name was later dropped in favour of the abbreviation.
Lira 512 was an IBM PC XT compatible computer made by the Yugoslav company EI Niš in the late 1980s. It was first presented to the public in April 1988 at the “Kompjuter ‘88” computer show in Belgrade. Soon after that, Lira 512 was also presented in Yugoslav computer press.
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