Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Ben Crouch, Nov 13, 2018.
At your command :3
The Lusignan Fondation (or, officially, the Company of Public Importance Charlotte de Lusignan) is one of the main French companies, that both invented and killed "banquerism". It was founded by the former Queen of Cyprus Charlotte de Lusignan, after she arrived to Gentilly, in France, and married an important member of the local bourgeoisie. The legend says that the company was started with the money the Queen earned by selling all the relics and jewels she could steel before being deposed by her cousin, but it is likely that she also get help from her husband.
The Foundation has been one of the most innovative of all times : it contributed to the spread of printing presses, to the creation of the first hydroelectric power stations, to the renewal of herbal medecine in Europe, to the improvement of the hygiena in the French colonies and has many partnerships going with the French public domain and the Royal Family. After the Foundation shifted from a productivist-banquerist economy to a public welfare based economy, it has been the heart of the internal French trade, giving it the energy and resources to go forward during hard times.
The Lusignan Head of House has only a symbolic power nowadays, and will intervene in special circumstances only. The true power lies in the small cooperatives that the employees run with the resources of the company : the Fondation has a huge available manpower and public support in case of need, and their reputation as a trustworthy partner is an asset for both the company and France in general.
On the downside, this lack of intervention in the internal affairs of it's cooperatives means that they will receive support only in case of need, meaning that the employees will earn money from what they produce more than from they hour-based wage. However, considering the economic system France has adopted, this isn't necessarly a problem, since monetary trade has lost much of it's influence.
Their most well known products are the Royal Raisin, a fizzy soda made of tea, grape juice and lemonade, that is the first product most people will think of, and the Carcycle, inspired by the old Vietnamese tuk-tuks. It is used as a personnal or utilitary vehicle, to transport reasonable weights and be protected from the rain or the sun.
The company's official headquarters are in Gentilly, but since most of the decisions are taken at a local scale, it is mostly symbolic and for representation. It is sometimes used to throw massive parties for the public, intended to make the company feel close to it's country.
What about space exploration/conquest companies in a spacewank timeline?
Ask and you shall see !
Elton Rusk - Rusk Industries
Rusk was born on December 23, 1977 in NZ. He went to the United States where his talent soon exploded. He worked first for ExCite, and there he met Yahoo, Microsoft, and even the Google founding fathers Page and Brin. He then went to work on Google and Yahoo online payment systems - that were blown away by Ebay's Paypal.
His major breakthrough come during the second Browser wars. In 2004 he bet on Opera, he found limited success in Africa, where he met Greg Wyler of Terracom, O3b and OneWeb fame. He helped Wyler in these companies between 2006 and 2021. He also made a huge fortune with APPS for smartphones - he was a pioneer, circa 2005.
Because wyler Internet projects needed a launcher, in 2010 Elton Rusk took over the assets from the bankrupted Kistler Aerospace. He finished the first K-1 vehicle and flew it in late 2012, screwing Musk and Bezos altogether. Since 2013 he has launched Wyler O3b satellites, the first constellation that led to the even bigger OneWeb, hundred or thousands of satellites for worlwide broadband Internet.
Rusk was angered by Aerojet and Russian behaviour after he lost the second Kistler vehicle to an exploding AJ26 in October 2015. He enlisted Aerojet veteran Melvin Bulman and bought XCOR aerospace to get his own propulsion company. Bulman suggested to replace the NK-33 engines with Thrust Augmented Nozzle engines. This raised Kistler K-2 performance tremendously.
With O3b, OneWeb, and Cubesats, the kistler launch schedule is filled to the brim until 2026 at least.
Not sure how much this qualifies. But here goes...
Steamtown National Historic Site
Type of Company: Museum
Location: Ashley, PA
The former Central Railroad of New Jersey yards and shops in the Ashley section of Wilkes-Barre, PA had long been rotting away slowly and painfully. Ever since the Baltimore and Ohio, which controlled the CNJ, centralized all their operations in the area to the former Lehigh Valley facilities in the area through the course of the 1950s . The B&O had also abandoned the ex-LV passenger main up the mountain out of Wilkes-Barre in favor of the CNJ's route in 1972, which had a less steep grade (freight service to downtown Wilkes-Barre was handled by locals out of Coxton and thus avoided the grade altogether). The yard had been used for storage of surplus cars and little else since then; the shop buildings likewise hadn't been used for anything by the B&O other than to store signal equipment and the like. The old LV route up the mountain-had become weed-grown and seemingly due for removal any day. But this would soon change immensely for the better.
Some 30 years earlier, a group of loosely-associated men of means who were interested in railroading from the standpoint of hobbyists had begun to collect a number of steam locomotives and other old-time railroad equipment as the railroads retired them in favor of newer diesels and electrics and modern passenger and freight cars. These included, among many others, Reading T-1 Class 4-8-4 #2124, Boston & Maine 4-6-2 #3713, and many other steamers from all the major railroads the Northeast. Some of the same investors also began donating to the informal group some of the “first-generation” diesels being retired by the railroads, including a Baldwin Sharknose, an Alco PA1, and a Fairbanks-Morse Train Master. Although the collection was scattered around the country, it was in total one of the finest collections of antique railroad equipment anywhere in America.
One of the investors, F. Nelson Blount, eventually decided to organize the group in a more formal way, with the intent of organizing a museum and operating at least some of the steam locomotives for the public on excursion runs. He initially found a location at the old Rutland yard in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and organized the “Steamtown Foundation” to operate restored steam locomotives and nostalgic passenger cars on a stretch of the line. Over a period of about five years, the collection was gradually assembled at Bellows Falls. Then, in 1967, Blount was killed in a plane crash. The Foundation by then was up and running, using a Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson for most of its runs. But after Blount’s death, it started to flounder. Part of the problem was the isolation of its Vermont location, far from main travel routes that would attract tourists. The Foundation began looking for a more amenable site. CAN DO got wind of the Foundation’s search, and provided a loan to help move Steamtown to Wilkes-Barre which, at the crossroads of a number of highway and rail routes and with easy air access, was much more accessible than the Bellows Falls location. On July 6, 1977, Steamtown Foundation officially took title of the old CNJ facilities (aside from the single line from downtown through Ashley and up the mountain).
The LV and CNJ had separate routes up the mountain to White Haven, and the LV route, with a steeper grade, had been abandoned over ten years earlier in favor of the CNJ route for for faster times for the occasional freight trains that used the line (most freight trains ran around the Wyoming Valley to the east on the Wyoming Cutoff). Steamtown proposed to use its loan money from CAN DO to refurbish the Ashley yard and shop facilities and to rebuild the LV line to White Haven and then over a former LV branch to Bear Creek, a distance of about 25 miles, for excursions. This included the revamping of a bridge over Route 309 in Mountaintop, among other expensive work.
The work was completed by 1979, but the cost of it was beyond Steamtown’s ability to repay the loan to CAN DO, and even with the new Wilkes-Barre location, the Foundation was unable to raise the kind of tourist revenue needed for repayment (especially since its refurbishment of the Ashley facilities was at best ad hoc). Steamtown filed for bankruptcy in 1980. At that point, CAN DO persuaded the federal government to step in. After a few years of negotiations, the National Park Service took over the museum as Steamtown National Historic Site, reopening under that name in 1983. The facilities built by the NPS were impressive. An attractive pair of entrances off Hazle Street were constructed along with ample parking. A visitor’s center (with gift shop), in one of the old machinists’ buildings, greeted visitors. The roundhouse was completely rebuilt, not only to provide a working area for the operating locomotives, but to allow visitors to watch the work from an enclosed viewing platform on a new upper level.
The static displays were arranged either inside the old shop buildings or in the yard in a visitor-friendly manner, along with interpretive information so that visitors understood what they were seeing. The exhibited engines are identical to OTL, but with a few newcomers from mainly the Northeast and Midwest. However, Union Pacific Big Boy #4012 is at the America Rails Museum in Jersey City, while IC 2-8-0 #790 is on excursion service in Peoria. Some new engines include ex-Lackawnna 4-8-4 #1632, ex-Delaware & Hudson 4-8-4 #302, ex-Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-2 #1189 , and ex-Erie 4-6-2 #2935. Other contributions from the country and even Canada include Temiskaming & Northern Ontario 4-8-4 #1102 or New Yok, Ontario, & Western 4-8-2 #451.
A new station platform allowed visitors to board the excursion trains, which ran southward out of the yard, parallel to the still-active ex-CNJ branch to the Huber Colliery and the Hanover Industrial Park. The excursion passed through the Sugar Notch and Warrior Run sections, then began the steep climb around the horseshoe curve in the eastern reaches of Nanticoke and through the forested country around Penobscot Mountain. The view was breathtaking from the top of the grade. The train passed over Route 309 and stopped at Glen Summit, where riders could get on or off. The train continued through the woodlands around Crystal Lake and beyond, making another stop just north of the commuter station at White Haven. It then swung onto the old Bear Creek branch. Well-heeled residents of suburban Bear Creek had blocked the rebuilding of the entire branch, so the train made one more stop at the reservoir of Francis E. Walter Dam before using a loop, built at the end of the excursion line, to reverse direction back to the Ashley station.
Steamtown’s grand reopening was attended by railroad and railfan dignitaries from around the world. The world-class railroad museum, soon regarded as one of the best in the world, was another boom to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton region. Today, Steamtown still is a major source of revenue for the National Park Service. Over the course of the 1980s, Steamtown would procure from the B&O the rights for occasional use of its ex-LV mainline for steam and "classic diesel" excursions to Mauch Chunk at least a few times a year, and, on special occasions, all the way to the old CNJ terminal in Jersey City, which was also being refurbished as The America Rails Museum. Often, these excursions are hauled by bigger steamers like the RDG #2124, B&M #3713, NYO&W #451 or T&NO #1102, the three resident big steamers. In addition to the normal tourist activity, many special events like NRHS Conventions take place. As well as special events like when all four of the Reading T-1s used on the Reading Ramblers were reunited with their sister #2124. In addition, many locals always turn up when a big steam engine other than then normal ones come to pull excursions for them. Especially if it is one of the Nickel Plate Berkshires, the Baltimore and Ohio's two T-3 Mountains 5558 and 5580, or even such exotic visitors as Milwaukee Road 261. That said, many early diesels also appear on certain special trips like to Jersey City, such as a Baldwin Sharknose set, a Delaware & Hudson Alco PA set, or a Fairbanks-Morse Train Master. Wether they be assisting a steam engine or if lucky, pulling it themselves.
 Originally, the B&O had the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western instead. But I switched it, and now the B&O links with the LV via acquired NYC lines in NY and PA. Whereas the DL&W is instead part of my TL's C&O. However, the desire for a connection with the LV at Wilkes-Barre led to B&O and the Reading acquiring the PRR line from Sunbury.
 Due to a lend-lease agreement, she was often on the C&O in West Virginia for New River excursions. But has since resided in WV since 2016.
Here is my general idea for the several railroads of my TL. Starting with the Northeast.
New York Central: This road began to regain footing in the 1960s thank to improved buisiness management. They shortly after would focus on expandng their scoeps of service to other parts of the nation. Including through the acquisition of smaller roads like the Virginian & Western Maryland. acquired a number of smaller lines and built new ones to extend a new route through Vermont and New Hampshire to Montreal and Ottawa and then north into the mineral-producing regions of Quebec and massively expanded its West Virginia secondary from Columbus, Ohio to Charleston and Deep Water, West Virginia, gunning (successfully) for some of the coal traffic that the PRR and C&O were feasting on. Today it is one of the most powerful railroads in the eastern US. Locomotives are mostly dark grey with white stripes.
Pennsylvania: At first weaker than the NYC due to its conservative nature, this would eventually change when the PRR gained the Norfolk & Western. Eventually, through Stuart Saunders, the N&W would become the one who wore the pants in the relationship. Working on getting both roads up and running well, and also upgrading their services to include such things as rail ferries. Further expansion would come with the collapse of the New York, New Haven, & Hartford in 1974, at which point the PRR quickly jumped in and took over most of its mainline to Boston. Shortly after, they would also expand further north via the former Boston & Maine and its subsidiary Maine Central. Eventually, the PRR would swallow the N&W's corporate identity by 1981, but the improvements N&W made to its parent are still noticeable today. Most diesels in the present are painted in either Brunswick Green or Tuscan Red, but there are some painted in liveries that throwback to the New Haven and B&M roads. They also operate an entire steam excursion program using both native steam engines and ones from the roads they took over over the years.
Baltimore & Ohio: Originally the black sheep of the three major NE roads, the B&O would eventually expand through several acquisitions and mergers. The first event was when it made partnerships with both future acquisitions Reading and Jersey Central. Followed shortly thereafter by the Lehigh Valley, which it bought the NYC's Pennsylvania Division to link itself better with, followed by building a new line to the LV yards at Wilkes-Barre. Out west, the B&O would split the Monon route with the Southern railroad, giving them a Chicago-Cincy line. The railroad may not be the biggest. It is mainly a coal and various other industries from the Midwest, but it sure as hell packs a punch against the Keystone, and has allied itself with the C&O. Though they have attempted to merge, the near complate dominance of Buffalo-New York or Chicago-East Coast traffic has often prevented it. Their locomotives are painted in a rather plain blue and yellow scheme, though some are painted in the gray, blue, and black of the old passenger diesels.
Chesapeake & Ohio: Better known as the Chessie, this railroad harkens back to when its current constituents were under the Van Sweringen Brothers. Initially just a coal hauling road in the Virginias, the C&O would be put together with the Nickel Plate, Erie, Hocking Valley, and Pere Marquette in 1961. Shortly after the new C&O would expand their scope by purchasing the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western then the Wabash Railroads. Later it gained the NYC's secondary mainline from Peoria to Springfield, OH via Indianapolis. Today, the Chessie is the true third player in the Northeast, but does maintain a strong partnership withe B&O in order to fight the PRR for the coal country and industrial areas around it. It is known for its very fast freight services on the former Erie, with its freight trains frequently operating at speeds of up to 90 mph from Chicago and Indianapolis to New York and Buffalo. The C&O is often called the line of the automobile manufacturers because of the railroad's extensive operations in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois as well as its lines to Norfolk, Washington, and New York (plus Baltimore and Piladelphia through its partnership with the B&O. Their engines are iconic with their yellow, orange, and dark blue paint schemes with the Chessie "C" on their fronts in dark blue, that and the road liked by shippers for fast service compared to rival Pennsylvania. The company is currently headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.
Anyone want to hear more railroads?
That's good for now. Save them for your alternate railroads thread
OK. I linked that here right?
((Companies that also describe alt histories are fun!))
In the early 19th century, an unknown plague appeared over in California and inflicted plenty of death for the Californian Republic and dragged on the Mexican-American war for longer, resulting in an eventual stalemate as Texas would go their own route (later to be annexed by Mexico when the latter assisted the Union in the American Civil War.) As such, the Californian Republic was a land of little infrastructure and occupied mainly by tribes. This all changed when Chinese settlers came in and began making up more or less the majority of the Republic.
One, in particular, would marry the daughter of a chief and go on to discover gold. That is when everything would change. The gold would be transferred to the tribes with the Chinese settlers having to work under or join the tribes to access it. The gold was kept secret, even after the reformation to the Second Californian Republic. Only until 1952 did the outside world hear about it and only then that was because of the influx of Chinese settlers made it impossible to ignore. However, by that point, the settlers had organized into militias to keep the Americans from encroaching. Beyond Chinese settlers, Irish settlers fleeing the Famine ended up settling there as well.
The man who found the gold created California Yǒuxiàn, a private company that would grow to become the economic backbone of California and established thanks to the vast gold. The various tribes would join in to help grow the economy along with various benefits. After the American Civil War guaranteed that they would be left alone, they would grow to include more lands and tribes. As of the modern age, California Yǒuxiàn has maintained its prestige but had to spin-off several sections into independent companies to avoid monopoly laws. Many Sino-Amerindigenous clans spun-off from the tribes having adopted Chinese and later Irish settlers trace their lines to founding members. Even now, CY enjoys powerful control, having moved onto information and service industry.
Ples Planus Company (1917)
Today all good mothers are singing I didn't raise my Baby Boy to be a Soldier.
Are you a good mother!
The Ples Planus Company can guarantee your boy will never have to be a soldier and fight in a foreign war.
Our revolutionary shoe design separates the talus bone from the navicular bone and ensures flat feet.
Designed in our modern laboratories by 100 prominent scientists, our patent pending Pes Planus Child’s Boot© will ensure complete flat footedness by the age of 14 or your money back.
Made with the finest Nubcuk Sueded Grain leather, not only will your boy be safe from Selective Service Act but by wearing his stylish Ples Planus footwear he will be the envy of all his friends.
Colors Included: Brown, Dark Brown, Black (When ordering, be sure to specify desired color and approximate shoe size.)
All legal currencies negotiated cash, check, or federal postage stamps accepted. Allow four weeks for delivery.
Don’t hesitate The Hun is coming; protect your baby boy today.
All good mothers today are protecting their little boys with the Pes Planus Child's Boot©, are you a good mother?
@OldNavy1988 May have a company or two he could talk about.
"Psst... Roger Corman's Great Diamond"
Grand Diamond Pictures
Parent company: Corman Enterprises
Founded: 1978 (a result of the merger of New World Pictures with American International Pictures)
CEO: David Kirschner
Chair Emeritus: Roger Corman (founder; retired from film production in the early 2000's)
HQ: Culver City, California
Skoda de Mexico
Skoda launched in Mexico officially in September 2002, with vehicles sourced from the Czech Republic. November 2002 saw them becoming one of the fastest-growing European marques, especially amongst the Czech-Mexicans (checo-mexicanos).
Skoda is seen as a "style" brand that competes against FIAT, Mazda and Subaru for individuality.
Model line-up per year
Skoda Fabia Hatchback
1.2 MPi L 5-door hatchback
1.2 MPi LX 5-door hatchback
1.4 16V LX 5-door hatchback
1.4 16V GLX 5-door hatchback
1.4 16V Elegance 5-door hatchback
2.0 8V GLX 5-door hatchback
2.0 8V Elegance 5-door hatchback
Skoda Fabia Sedan
1.4 16V GLX 4-door sedan
2.0 8V GLX 4-door sedan
2.0 8V Elegance 4-door sedan
Skoda Octavia Hatchback
Sourced from Europe, this was intended as a stylish alternative to the ever-popular Volkswagen Jetta sedan.
1.6 100 LXi 5-door hatchback
1.8T 20v GLXi 5-door hatchback
1.8T 20v Elegance 5-door hatchback
2.0 8v GLXi 5-door hatchback
2.0 8v Elegance 5-door hatchback
As 2002, except:
Skoda Estelle Sedan
Based on the Volkswagen Jetta sold in China, this was a size smaller than the Octavia, but it differed via having softer, more fluid lines than the Jetta which retained its boxy styling. Only one engine was available, a 1.6-liter/94hp 4-cylinder petrol engine. It was a simple rebodying job, nothing more.
1.6 L 4-door sedan
1.6 LX 4-door sedan
1.6 GLX 4-door sedan
1.6 Elegance 4-door sedan
Skoda Silny Sedan
Effectively a Skoda-ized 1995-2001 Audi A4 sedan, this was named for the Czech word for "powerful" reflecting the car's premium looks and powerful ability. It was the only Skoda sold as a stationwagon in Mexico. Engine choices were limited to a 1.8-liter/123hp 4-cylinder, 1.8-liter/150hp 4-cylinder turbo and 2.4-liter/163hp V6 - the first Skoda V6 offered in Mexico. It was also available with all-wheel-drive.
1.8 GLX 4-door sedan
1.8T 20v GLX 4-door sedan
1.8T 20v Elegance 4-door sedan
2.4 Elegance 4-door sedan
2.4 Elegance 4x4 4-door sedan
2004 was a major year for Skoda de Mexico, with the new Octavia launched, but sold under the name Skoda Laura to distinguish it from its short-lived predecessor.
Skoda Laura Hatchback
Sourced from Czech Republic, this was effectively the new-generation Octavia. Engines were a 1.6-liter/101hp 4-cylinder and 2.0-liter/148hp 4-cylinder petrol.
1.6 8v LX 5-door hatchback
1.6 8v GLX 5-door hatchback
2.0 FSI GLX 5-door hatchback
2.0 FSI Elegance 5-door hatchback
No major releases this year, although the 2001-2005 Volkswagen Passat was now a Skoda, but very different to the Superb sold in Europe.
SAIC-Volkswagen launched the Polo Sedan under the Skoda Fabia SDP nameplate.
Skoda Fabia P4 Sedan
Sold as a four-door sedan with a 1.6-liter/101hp 4-cylinder engine, this was marketed concurrently with the Fabia sedan. P4 was used to denote Polo and 4, reflecting its Polo design and four-door sedan bodystyle.
1.6 MPi LX 4-door sedan
1.6 MPi Elegance 4-door sedan
The Volkswagen Lavida made in China got a Skoda version for the Mexican market.
Skoda Felicia Sedan
Effectively the Volkswagen Lavida notchback sedan sourced from China, this had a 2.0-liter/120hp 4-cylinder petrol engine or 1.4-liter/130hp 4-cylinder turbo petrol. Volkswagen decided not to market the Lavida in Mexico, fearing it would clash with the Golf and Jetta, but Skoda had no vehicle this size in between the Fabia and Laura.
1.4 TSI GLXi 4-door sedan
1.4 TSI Black Line 4-door sedan (black paint only)
1.4 TSI Elegance 4-door sedan
2.0 LXi 4-door sedan
2.0 GLXi 4-door sedan
2.0 Black Line 4-door sedan (black paint only)
2.0 Elegance 4-door sedan
Skoda Silny Sedan
This got a facelift, and GLXi replaced GLX. The stationwagon was discontinued, except for the 2.4 Elegance 4x4 version which was selling well.
1.8T 20v GLXi 4-door sedan
1.8T 20v Elegance 4-door sedan
2.4 Elegance 4-door sedan
2.4 Elegance 4x4 4-door sedan
Skoda de Mexico launches the Skoda Yeti, its first crossover SUV in the Mexican market.
Skoda Yeti SUV
Skoda decided to enter the fast-growing crossover segment with the Yeti, and it was the first original model in six years, with it not being a badge-engineered Volkswagen or Audi.
Engine choice was limited to only a 1.8-liter/150hp 4-cylinder turbo petrol. This car had good sales in Mexico, and was used as a police car.
1.8 TSI 150 Classic AWD 5-door SUV
1.8 TSI 150 Sport AWD 5-door SUV
1.8 TSI 150 Elegance AWD 5-door SUV
Skoda de Mexico launches the Rapid sedan, sourced from China. The European Skoda Rapid Spaceback does not appear in Mexico
Source: chinaautoweb.com for image
Skoda Rapid Sedan
Sourced from China, this launched two years after its 2011 Chinese launch, and has a
1.6-liter/109hp 16v 4-cylinder engine.
It has a two-tier range - Active and Ambition models have a raised ground clearance, different alloys and grille, as compared to the plainer L, LXi, GLXi, SLXi and Elegance models which have a more "European"-style grille and different wheelcovers.
Pricing is competitive with the Ford Focus and Nissan Tiida sedans.
1.6 16V L 4-door sedan
1.6 16V LXi 4-door sedan
1.6 16V GLXi 4-door sedan
1.6 16V SLXi 4-door sedan
1.6 16V Active 4-door sedan
1.6 16V Ambition 4-door sedan
1.6 16V Elegance 4-door sedan
Skoda de Mexico intends to launch its first EV in 2020 with the launch taking place in Mexico City.
Republic of Gamers
Established: June 10, 1990
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, USA
- Republic of Gamers (high-end personal computers and laptops)
- FitBit (wearable electronics)
- Metrik (audio production equipment, electronic instruments, amplifiers, speakers and headphones)
- Republic Components (computer components)
- Advanced Power Research (batteries, energy storage research)
- Aftershock Creative (video game development and publishing)
It's always something to see when young people choose to be entrepreneurs in a field that is relatively new to the world, because frequently one never knows what the results will be and what they will become, and particulatly in the technology fields in the heady days of the 1990s tech booms, for every successful company there were ten bankrupt ones. But of course, the hallmarks of the best ones were dedication, hard work and a desire to create more than just profit. And for the quintet of music-loving, fitness-obsessed computer-nut partners at the University of Washington that founded the Republic of Gamers while in their junior and senior years at the University in 1990. While today the five founders still own the majority of the company's stock and all five remain with the firm, a lot has changed, and what the five friends - Adam Watson, DeMarcus Wallace, Kennedy Edelman, Eric Masaniuk and Jason Park - have created is a testament to guys who love what they do and are good at it.
Created out of a desire by them and colleagues at the university for their own computers of greater power than what was commonly commercially available, their company developed more-specialized high-powered computers originally for games development and testing and audio mixing and music production, but the company's products - as well as a reputation for customer service and their products almost universally being expandable and improvable over time - gave them an enviable reputation early on and their products became almost de rigeur for serious gamers and many audio producers on the West Coast of North America in the 1990s, spawning a host of imitators as well as giving the company access to the labs of the likes of Intel, Toshiba, ATI, Commodore, Corsair and Western Digital, whose components Republic of Gamers and other firms soon began forging together pieces from the firms, as well as their own components, into ever-better gaming computers, with the company's Republic Militia series, launched in 1994, being a massive hit and it's Special Forces series of laptops, launched in 1997, being the first true gaming-oriented laptops.
As befitting a company that established a major part of its reputation for supplying equipment to audiophiles and musicians, no sooner had the computer business took off the company expanded into components, starting with high-quality speakers and headphones, moving into portable CD players in 1996 (the Republic Personal Soundtrack, which became a considerable success) and into portable MP3 and music file players in the early 2000s. The audio side of the business also manifested itself in sound cards for their computers, with the archrival Creative SoundBlaster and Commodore CAT-A series of sound cards taking over a sizable portion of the market.
Republic of Gamers found themselves locked into an ugly situation in the late 1990s as Microsoft went to considerable lengths to muscle it competition, particularly in the software fields with its Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Microsoft Office programs. Despite rulings by Canadian and European courts about Microsoft's actions in 2000, the company fought to have its own software included and, in an attempt to use its power that backfired dramatically, Microsoft in June 2000 ceased licensing agreements with a number of firms and dramatically raised the price the firms has to pay for the Windows operating systems they used. Every firm involved immediately sued Microsoft, claiming a monopolistic position that was harmful to other businesses. As a fallback in case their suits were unsuccessful, a number of companies co-operated on a new operating system that ultimately became the Shadow System, a Linux-based OS that proved highly functional and would become a fairly common theme in high-end computers in the years to come. Microsoft was judged to be an unreasonable monopoly by the United States Supreme Court in July 2003, forcing Microsoft to rewrite it's restrictive licensing agreements and de-couple it's additions of Microsoft Office and other programs as part of the launch of Windows XP, which launched in September 2003. Republic of Gamers openly was pleased with the result of the legal fight (Kennedy Edelman commented about it "David fought Goliath and won" and "Microsoft has hopefully learned the limits of their influence over smaller computer makers") but (unlike some of the other companies involved in the suit) made it an option for customers to use the ShadowSystem OS instead of Windows XP if they wished.
By the late 2000s, the company's Aftershock Creative division had grown into a major game developer and had crafted a number of improvements to the ShadowSystem OS, and the firm in 2011 acquired the Fitbit company, a major maker of wearable electronics meant for fitness tracking. Far from being a stiffling purchase as was feared, under Republic of Gamers ownership the company expanded dramatically, developing first it's larger line of products, then it's first products with integrated music players in 2013 and then the "Performance Science Program", a development with fitness machine manufacturers Cybex, Hammer Strength and Life Fitness to allow FitBit users to automatically track their progress, as well as access information and assistance for their efforts if required, and even providing a system where if the user suffers an injury they can get help sent to them.
As of 2019, Republic of Gamers employs 6,600, almost all in the United States and the vast majority in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Detroit.
Rover South Africa
Launched in 1995, post-Apartheid, Rover South Africa was the firm's first entry into the market. Unlike other markets such as the United Kingdom and Japan, this had a much more different line-up.
In 1995, Rover South Africa offered:
Rover 200 Series
Locally-assembled, this was based on the 1989-1995 Rover 200 Series but it wasn't a rebadged Honda. It used the same platform as the Honda Concerto, but differed from the European car by having edgier styling and a different bodyshell, a raised ground clearance, and additionally, offered four-wheel-drive which no European Rover 200 had.
Engine choice was limited to 1.6-litre/108hp 4-cylinder K-Series petrol and 2.0-litre/136bhp 4-cylinder M-Series petrol.
Variants offered were:
216 SLi 5-door hatchback
220 SLi 5-door hatchback
220 GSi 5-door hatchback
220 GSi Executive 5-door hatchback
Rover Montego 18F
Yes, if you recognize that familiar shape, it's very similar to the Austin Montego. But this was a locally-manufactured and designed vehicle, relying on the old Montego platform, and it had a longer body than the 1983-1993 original car, plus different styling.
Known as the Montego 18F due to its length (18"0 ft, or 5,484 mm or 215.88inches) as compared to the regular Montego's length of 14.66ft (4,468mm or 175.91 inches).
Exported to Australia, New Zealand and Japan, where a stationwagon version was offered (not for South Africa), this had updated versions of the original Montego's 1.6-litre/86bhp 4-cylinder S-Series and 2.0-litre/115bhp 4-cylinder O-Series injection engines, plus, for the first time ever in any Montego - a V6 option.
Versions available were:
1.6 LX 4-door sedan
1.6 SLi 4-door sedan
1.6 SLX 4-door sedan
2.0 SLi 4-door sedan
2.0 SLX 4-door sedan
2.0 GSi 4-door sedan
2.0 GSi Executive 4-door sedan
Rover 500 Series
The Rover 500 Series was derived from a fork of the Honda CB platform.
Built mainly for South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, this hatchback used Rover's 2.0-litre/136hp 4-cylinder engine from the 820i.
It resembled the 600 Series as a hatchback, but was otherwise unrelated.
This should not be confused with the BMW 5-Series also offered at the time.
Versions offered were:
520 Si 5-door hatchback
520 SLi 5-door hatchback
520 GSi 5-door hatchback
Rover South Africa went into rallying, with the Montego 18F getting a rally car version.
South Africa would be a rather small car market for a completely new lineup unless the country is far more prosperous at the end of TTL's apartheid.
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