24 Facts About Amstrad


Amstrad was a British electronics company, founded in 1968 by Alan Sugar at the age of 21.

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Amstrad was once a FTSE 100 Index constituent, but since 2007 has been wholly owned by Sky UK.

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Amstrad was founded in 1968 by Alan Sugar at the age of 21, the name of the original company being AMS Trading Limited, derived from its founder's initials.

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Amstrad entered the market in the field of consumer electronics.

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Amstrad expanded to the marketing of low cost amplifiers and tuners, imported from East Asia and badged with the Amstrad name for the UK market.

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In 1980, Amstrad went public trading on the London Stock Exchange, and doubled in size each year during the early '80s.

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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.

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The Amsoft division of Amstrad was set up to provide in-house software and consumables.

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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.

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Amstrad made more than £5 million on selling these surplus machines alone.

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In 1986 Amstrad entered the IBM PC-compatible arena with the PC1512 system.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In that same year, Amstrad released the PenPad, a PDA similar to the Apple Newton, and released only weeks before it.

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Amstrad established a direct marketing channel, Amstrad Direct, in late 1994 and announced 486- and Pentium-based products including an "All-in-One Multimedia PC" with built-in television tuner, infra-red remote control, amplifier and speakers.

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Amstrad has been a major supplier of set top boxes to UK satellite TV provider Sky since its launch in 1989.

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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.

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In 1997, Amstrad PLC was wound up, its shares being split into Viglen and Betacom instead.

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In 2000, Amstrad released the first of its combined telephony and e-mail devices, called the E-m@iler.

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Amstrad has produced a variety of home entertainment products over their history, including hi-fi, televisions, VCRs, and DVD players.

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Amstrad was taken off the Stock Exchange on 9 October 2008.

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Amstrad has ceased operations as a trading company, and exists in name only.

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