epdm3be: "In fact I still believe that the Oracle's backstabbing is the major reason to speed Acorn's demise."
If I remember correctly, Acorn abused their contract with Oracle and thus got it terminated. Having re-read various Bondar statements recently, I can understand exactly why Oracle would have wanted nothing more to do with Acorn - I've worked with people who've come across like Bondar did in his communications, and most of them have been idiots.
DaveW: "They did their demo, including BBC Basic. We showed them RISCOS. They left."
Yes, we could now look into why the Amiga failed. Hint: poor desktop experience.
martin: "Why the electron rather than a cheeper BBC-B ?"
A really good question, especially if you read the comparison between the BBC-A and Spectrum in Acorn User vol. 2. Acorn should have planned ahead and redone the BBC-B, taking advantage of the inevitable progress in technology.
But really, Acorn's downfall does share similarities with that of Commodore. Whilst the Amiga didn't provide a decent enough desktop experience (in contrast to the RISC OS Desktop), Acorn also failed to follow an important paradigm shift: from the single-tasking model of microcomputer use to the multi-tasking model of a networked computer.
Consider the way most people use computers today: it isn't a case of sitting down at the wordprocessor and having the radio on in the background; instead, users have their wordprocessor open, send and receive e-mails and messages, play audio, surf the Web, and so on. RISC OS (like classic Mac OS) can just about manage this, but it's an act that has never been completely convincing.
We can all go round the nostalgia circuit again (Bill Gates' "What's a network?" and so on), but had Acorn successfully made the paradigm jump as described above, people would have been pestering them about licensing well into the 1990s. Perhaps they would have been able to have learned from (and taken advantage of) their mistakes by then.