News & Reviews Index > Popular Computing Weekly, No 44, 3-9 November 1983

Popular Computing Weekly page 1
Jupiter hits
the dust

JUPITER Cantab, maker of the Ace microcomputer, has gone into receivership.
   The decision to fold the company was apparently taken by Jupiter's directors. Stephen Rout of solicitors Chater and Myhill, acting for Jupiter. said: "We have been notified by the directors of the company to call a creditors meeting and to prepare a statement of affairs with a view to winding the company up."
   Jupiter's directors have recommended that Chater's
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senior partner, John Cross, be appointed liquidator.
   Sales of the Jupiter Ace had never lived up to the expectations of the company's joint founders, Steve Vickers and Richard Altwasser. One source suggested that the company's failure had in part resulted from management weaknesses.
   The Ace, launched in August 1982, was the first low-cost computer   to   use  the   Forth

Steve Vickers

language, rather than the more widely accepted Basic. However, the Ace is both silent and black-and-white. As a result it was quickly overshadowed by the Spectrum.
   As   interest   in   Forth grew,
versions for most other micros became available as a software option, and the Ace, not being able to run Basic, was limited by a lack of good software.
   First signs of problems at Jupiter came in early June when Richard Altwasser left the company, resigning his directorship. Steven Vickers then changed the direction of the company. addressing the Ace not at the home market, but instead at schools where the machine offered a cheap Forth option.
   Ironically, the Spectrum which was the Ace's most damaging competitor, was also designed by Steve Vickers and Richard Altwasser. The duo left Sinclair Research in April 1982 to set up Jupiter and design the Ace.