Mike Ford discussed his work on marketing and the questions that need answering before we go much farther. He has got two Victor 9000's on loan (one from Sirius) for work on QBASIC and MicroCad, and has scored an MSDOS with assembler and linker. Also Pascal, for which we need another 128K memory. We have given a demo for Hal Elgie, a consultant for Sirius who was highly impressed, especially with Autodesk.
Mike's Victor dealership seems to have opened some doors. He could probably get a dealership for other machines if it would be useful.
There was considerable discussion of the terms on which we want to sell the programs. Our main options in dealing with Victor, and probably anyone else, are these:
(Many numbers were bandied about in the discussion. They are not in these minutes, because they would give a false air of precision and because widely distributed pieces of paper tend to pass before unauthorized eyes in spite of all precautions. Call us to talk about numbers if you like.)
There was general agreement with John Walker's opinion that a source buyout might be all right for a limited product like QBASIC-86, but not for MicroCad. The potential market for MicroCad is unexplored; it could be enormous, and no one would pay us enough to compensate for it. Victor could sell it under approach (2), putting their name on it if they want, but our name should at least appear on the disc and in the manual.
There was serious discussion of the right list price for MicroCad. The consensus was that the present price on the M9900 is probably too low.
QBASIC-86 would also be best sold on a royalty basis, though a buyout is conceivable. It should be easy to sell on the basis that it's a markedly superior language to CB-80, provided that we get it done well before Digital Research is ready.
Window is a product that would be a natural for Digital Research, which offers no usable editor for programmers; but we haven't managed to make a useful contact. Kern expressed concern that we shouldn't let it get completely out of our hands, because it's much better than anything else on the market. John pointed out the difficulty of trying to sell it ourselves, competing directly with VEDIT, which is becoming entrenched and has a large advertising budget.
We need to approach Corvus, Fortune, and anyone else who has a 68000; we should be able to get development machines from them. Also, the NSC 16032 is now approaching reality, and its speed makes it very attractive for MicroCad.
Editor: John Walker