|★ PEOPLES ★ MORE HARD LUCK FOR AMSTRAD ★|
|More Hard Luck for Amstrad (New Computer Express)|
Amstrad's up-market PCs have been once more dogged by problems - their second major computer headache this year.
The hard disks on their 2386 machines had been giving inexplicable read-write errors. Earlier this year some of its PC2086 range had also been giving problems due to a faulty hard disk controller. Amstrad had to ship out thousands of small parts - worth two pence -to rectify the problem.
Many pundits took this as an indication of Amstrad's growing interest in other projects such as satellite TV and a gradual shift of emphasis away from the computer side.
Now Amstrad has tracked down the 386 fault. It was not due to hardware, but to a bug in MS-DOS version 4, it announced this week. Read failures occur whenever parts of the disk separated by exactly 32MB are accessed in close succession.
Chairman Alan Sugar said the decision to use Microsoft's current state-of-the-Art MS-DOS 4 - which works on a GEM-like windows and icons interface - had backfired “through no fault of our own”.
“I am upset that until now our 386 has not earned the reputation is deserves, when in fact our hardware has proved to be very reliable and the problem has been caused by Microsoft's MS-DOS 4,” he added.
Microsoft's Bill Inglis commented: “There were a few bugs on version 4 of MS-DOS, not just on the 386 but on all the machines using it. This one only becomes apparent under relatively unusual circumstances and was pointed out to us by Amstrad.”
Amstrad's Nick Hewer told Express: that no customers had been affected by the problem. “We have fixed the bug ourselves with the approval of Microsoft and have shipped the amended version of DOS 4 to our dealership."
Amstrad has had to move very quickly to fix things in order to keep up its hopes of dominating the serious end of the PC market. While its grip on the small business and home user has been very strong through the PC1512 and PC1640, it has not had a significant effect on the top end of the market.
New Computer Express #23 (15 April 1989)