Chapter 6

Summer madness

Drives for the Oric

By the by, Oric's advertising campaign for the Atmos, comparing it favourably with the Commodore C64, came in for criticism at the end of April. The Advertising Standards Authority upheld Commodore's complaint about the assertion that 'the 64 loses 26K of its Elephantine memory in high-resolution graphics'. The ASA said Oric failed to state that the Commodore provides 58K of usable memory when using machine code, and also when programming in BASIC the 64 allows high-resolution graphics to be placed underneath the operating system ROM, leaving the available Basic memory unaffected. The latter is therefore always greater than on the Atmos. In response an Oric spokeswoman said, "This campaign is no longer being run so it isn't relevant".

Oric Owner issue 8, June/July 1984, had some good news - it was to go monthly on the newsstands from the October issue. Atmos production was now 10,000 per month, andMicrodiscs were available for the revised priceof £299. And What Micro? in August 1984 at long last announced that the Modem was available... and believe it or not (don t), that an 80-column printer was shortly to be released.

In France the range of third-party peripherals was astonishingly wide: a voice synthesiser, an analog 8-line card, a 16-way input/output card, and a 3 slot expansion motherboard. Microdiscs were no less than 3,600 francs!

The July 1984 edition of Théoric said that in 1983 Oric had achieved a turnover of £25 million, and was anticipating £45 million for 1984. The magazine thoroughly reviewed the Microdisc, and the French producer of the competing Jasmin drive, TRAN, anticipated monthly production at between 700 and 1000 units.

Tansoft were featured in the Leisure Electronics Trader magazine in August 1984. Paul Kaufman was extensively quoted, and he bears repetition:

"Tansoft will shortly double its range of titles once negotiations with a French software house are concluded - Tansoft will bring all that company's titles to the UK... With games, the way we do business is to develop a completely outrageous concept, as in Rat Splat..... Business software is generating a lot of interest now that the Oric discs are out. A suite of accounting packages is being developed and will be launched in September."
And from Cathie Burrell (who had started as despatch lady at Tangerine):

"The days have gone when you could end up with a Porsche after six months".
Which has to be a side-swipe at Barry Muncaster, who in the summer of 1983 had treated himself to a œ46,000 Ferrari.

But the real interest over that summer was a dispute raging in France between Denis Taieb, the managing director of A.S.N., and the now thriving Th‚oric. It started with telephone calls. and was swiftly followed by a letter from Taieb to Sylvio Faurez, boss of Soracom, the publishers of Théoric, reproduced on the next page:


Following our various telephone calls in July, I confirm
that I have been nominated Director of marketing and after-
sales service of Oric Products International and am charged
with protecting their interests in France.

The distribution of your magazine Theoric has not been met
with approval by the Board of Oric Products International
. There are two ways forward:

1) You request our authority to use the name Theoric and
forward to me personally two copies of each of the first
two issues by Recorded Delivery

2) You simply change your name

In addition, the information that you divulge to your
readers does not appear to have any certain source. I
strongly advise you to submit to me a copy of future issues
so that your readers can be properly informed of the
development of Oric products.

Yours faithfully,

Denis Taieb
Director of Oric France
Director of marketing and sales
of Oric Products International.

Th‚oric did not take this lying down. A telex winged its way back:


Misleading publicity.

The phrase 'Micr'Oric is the only magazine entirely devoted
to the Oric' is false commercial information. Used on your
subscription forms it is misleading publicity. You will
please make the necessary correction and delete the words
'the only magazine'.

We congratulate you on your nomination and wish you good luck.

You have received complimentary copies of each of our
issues. Due to the postage costs that this occasions, we
must terminate this service and request you to purchase a
copy at your newsagents.

Yours faithfully

S. Faurez
Managing Director
A lively editorial told Monsieur Taieb where to put himself!

The magazine also reported that the Oric-1 had sold 50,000 in France in 1983, and that the Atmos had sold 27,000 between February and June 1984.

Back to Chapter 5
Forward to Chapter 7