Then someone from a company stood up and said he had discussed the shipment of a number of Omegas with David Atkins himself, and he had mentioned a shipping date that would meet his company's needs at an appropriate time. The shipping date exceeded the time mentioned by DA and caused a range of problems for the company involved. He then stated that no company, no matter how limited its scale, (his was a small company as well), could afford to give a date and not deliver the product as expected without damaging themselves. DA agreed that he had spoken to the potential customer in a phone call and had given information to the best of his abilities to mark a date of shipping and that they surely expected to deliver those Omega on time (small delays for delivering parts were taken into account then). But as a small company they couldn't force big companies to deliver on time. And as a result the ordered items exceeded the normal delivery dates and after much phone calls they got finally their parts. As one might expect, this delayed the date of delivery. The person who held MD responsible for the delays then argued that they should have mentioned that the delivering dates weren't for sure. Even a small company couldn't be excused for these kind of delays. DA said in return that they had to built the computer from scratch with nothing at all on the table and they were very dependent on third parties to deliver on time and with the right parts, but unfortunately they didn't seem to care. And when he gave any delivery dates it was to the best with his ability. One should take into consideration that the product was still in development and not a finished one, which meant there was always uncertainty involved. And if anyone had doubts that potential problems could delay the delivery dates of the computers ordered, then they should have looked to an alternative as well, because the dates stated were only if third parties managed to deliver in time.
The web site
DA continued by talking about the content of MD's web site. The site was undergoing some changes. They had withdrawn their Newsdesk section because they didn#t want to fuel a storm of criticism by providing information that could motivate the critics to argue and speculate wrongly about technical details. One person in the audience remarked that MD could also benefit from the press. However, DA seemed to be very disappointed with the way the press had handled their responsibilites and said that MD had "just had it with the press". He rather liked a more direct approach with his audience where he found himself speaking more freely about items of interest.
Aad Bezemer (one of the organizers of the Expo 2003) had to end this meeting as the time was up, and said that no one was forced to stay with a particular system, because everyone was free to choose an alternative if things were not satisfactory. This was now possible even in the RISC OS world. But he was glad that some of MD's machines had been delivered and was also very pleased with the free and open debate. DA fully agreed with this and confirmed that he liked this kind of open debate and discussion, where critics could give their arguments to the company responsible, and he was glad he could give an explanation and provide some understanding of the things discussed. Of course he could be approached the whole day by people attending the Expo show and would answer their questions to the best of his ability. After all he was responding, even when confronted with criticism and anger, and would willingly explain everything had happened. He was convinced this would be the way ahead when real problems had to be solved. Solving sincere difficulties would take things forward, whereas holding back couldn't benefit development. In particular the debate was a free, fair and ordered way to move on because it opened the way to look for improvements. Aad thanked David for his presentation and the audience applauded.
DA was convinced that the machine was a magnificent piece of hardware to be proud of and filled a gap in the needs of the RISC OS environment. MD was determined to go further in their approach and there should be no doubt that they would meet the expectations of their customers. They criticized the press about their negative approach towards the product and the lack of the ability in seeing the technical possibilities. DA acknowledged that they had underestimated the development time of the Omega and that they were too optimistic about shipping dates. Much had gone wrong and also third parties weren't delivering, as could be expected. As a result they rather would release a product instead of announcing it. This was the case when their portable (Alpha) was presented at Wakefield. They would like to present a Newsdesk that was only accessible by the actual Alpha and Omega customers.
In my view...
I had expected a well prepared presentation with a brief history about the development of the Omega and perhaps the Alpha (as the latter turned out to be the first to arrive in quantity). It should have clear demonstrated how the product had been developed up till now and provided an inside view of the problems which they had to overcome to reach the end product. I was also interested in the current state of developments the priorities for the time being. I was keen to hear something about the market and its development as I am myself the owner of an Omega.