Commodore International founder Jack Tramiel has died.
Jack Tramiel, born 1928, was a concentration camp survivor who emigrated to the US after the war. In 1953, while working as a New York cabbie, he bought an office machinery repair business and named it 'Commodore Portable Typewriter'.
After trading in typewriters and both mechanical and electronic calculators (each business being undercut by competitors, and in the case of the electronic calculators their original IC supplier), they turned to the business they are remembered today: computers.
First was the Commodore PET
, a machine
that, in a turn from some of the other computers of the time, was sold from Commodore straight to businesses and schools.
Then the Vic-20
, designed for home use, and with what was intended to be a family-friendly commercial campaign (youtube link)
(warning: contains Shatner). (previously
Their success kept going with the Commodore 64
, possibly the best selling computer system of all time. During the Vic-20 and C64 time, Jack was said to have coined the phrase "We need to build computers for the masses, not the classes."
In 1984, however, Jack left the company, formed another company called TTL (Tramel Technologies Limited, the 'tramel' to insure proper pronunciation of the name) and bought the smoldering remains of what had been the greatest of videogamecompanies, Atari. While he did revitalize the company for a time, including the famed (and unfinished) Swordquest (previously in MeFi)
series, the company slowly declined and was sold to disk drive manufacturer JTS in 1996, a company in which he had a major interest but no controlling capacity.