Escom (computer corp)
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ESCOM, previously Schmitt Computer Systems Ltd., was a German computer company, best known in the Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States as the successful purchaser of Commodore International in 1995.
Escom was founded by Manfred Schmitt of Darmstadt, Germany as the computer division of his music company in 1986. It became a separate company in 1991. In 1993, it became a publicly traded company, and it grew rapidly, controlling 11.2% of the German PC market by 1994.
During 1992 and 1993, a British operation was set up with a distribution and assembly base in Irvine, North Ayrshire and a small number of retail stores. These followed the model established in Germany with small town-centre shops which would customise PCs to order, rather than the out-of-town superstores and mail-order businesses which dominated the UK market.
In 1995 Escom's retail presence on the high streets of the United Kingdom expanded massively when it took over many branches of the Rumbelows electrical chain, which were being sold off by Rumbelows owner Thorn EMI. Also in 1995 Escom bought Commodore International for US$14 million, primarily to get the Commodore brand name. It successfully won a bid for the company over and above a rival bid from Commodore UK's Managing Director, David Pleasance. It started using the Commodore name on computers sold in Europe, and established a separate division for Amiga-related technologies.
Their UK marketing strategy was to use a "film noir" detective agency theme which utterly failed to capture the interest of UK consumers as the theme had no relevance to the product on sale.
The Commodore trademarks were purchased the following year by Tulip Computers, while the remaining trademarks, together with the full set of patents, copyrights and other intellectual property, were acquired by Gateway.
One of the failing points of Escom was their desire to not only reinstall the Amiga computer brand, but also to introduce their Escom PCs to new world markets with the intention of securing market share above even Dell. It later transpired that Escom were after the Commodore and Amiga brand name to put on their PC range and not the operating system or Amiga legacy itself.