Castle have released the following statement:
"On 11th May 2004 Castle, as owner of the underlying intellectual property of RISC OS, terminated RISC OS Ltd's ("ROL") licence to sell RISC OS. This was due to the wilful and persistent failure of ROL to correct breaches in the terms of its licence.
For nearly 12 months Castle has been trying to resolve these issues, but has met with nothing but delaying tactics, intransigence and belligerence from the management of ROL. Castle has regrettably taken this action having had no other option after following due legal process, during which ROL's management were given every possible opportunity to negotiate a solution with Castle. They declined to do so and are entirely responsible for the current situation.
Other companies who are sub-licensees of ROL, have been notified of the licence termination. As an extremely unfortunate consequence of the termination of ROL'S licence these companies' products are now unlicensed. Castle has no desire or intention to harm these businesses, or act against the interests of the RISC OS community as a whole, and has been working very hard over the last few weeks to find a solution for them. However, ROL has refused to comply with the legal obligations placed on them by the licence termination and until it does so, Castle is unable to grant new licences to these sub-licensees.
Over the last year Castle has invested very significant amounts of money both in the purchase of RISC OS and in its ongoing development. This will become apparent to all users in the coming months as new solutions are brought to market. Moreover, Castle's recent announcement of the Merlin project shows a strong and continued dedication to bring to the desktop market the features it deserves and move the OS forward into the future with the many exciting new 32-bit ARM processors becoming available from various silicon manufacturers.
Castle has attempted to involve ROL in its plans, but has been thwarted by the lack of vision shown by ROL's management. Clearly, ROL cannot now continue its current business without a licence; Castle is in discussions with the shareholders of ROL to find a way to offer RISC OS 4 and Select to users. It is expected this will lead to a satisfactory conclusion in the very near future and offer a clear way forward for the whole RISC OS community.
Undesirable as the current situation maybe, Castle believes it will end with a clear definition of the future which is inclusive for all RISC OS users and software companies. Contrary to some commentators, Castle is committed to supporting 3rd party licensees of RISC OS, even when they are competitors. Anyone wishing to license RISC OS is most welcome to contact Castle to discuss terms."
Update by Kinetic. 06:54, 16/6/2004:
We have asked RISC OS Ltd for a response to the Castle statement, but all we have at the moment is this from the drobe.co.uk forums:
In March 1999 RISCOS Ltd entered into a licensing agreement with Element14 Ltd which gave it exclusive rights to develop and market RISC OS for the desktop market.
Over the past five years it has licensed RISC OS 4 to many AMSes including Castle Technology Ltd, RiscStation, Microdigital, A6 and Virtual Acorn without any concerns from Element14 or Pace PLC that it was breaching the agreement in any way.
RISCOS Ltd has always adhered to all the conditions of the Head Licence and totally refutes all allegations now made by Castle Technology Ltd to the contrary. It is greatly saddened by the attitude that Castle has taken which has forced A6 and VirtualAcorn to reluctantly announce that they are ceasing shipments of their fully licensed and paid for RISC OS products.
A considerable amount of discussion and negotiation has actually taken place between Castle, Pace and RISCOS Ltd over the past two years, concerning both Castle's ongoing disputed use of RISC OS in the Iyonix PC as well as the more recent demands made by Castle against RISCOS Ltd and the AMSes.
RISCOS Ltd has worked for the benefit of all the companies in the RISC OS community (not just one) and will continue to do so. It trusts that Castle will constuctively discuss the situation to enable an equitable and amicable resolution to be reached for the good of all parties.
Update by Rich. 13:34, 17/6/2004:
Even The Register has something on the story. Not particularly accurate, mind, but at least it's a start. OSNews pretty much just linked to sites that knew what they were talking about - and Drobe ;)
Official statement from Castle
Story on The Register