On April 8, 2012 Jack Tramiel died at the age of 83. For anyone with an interest in personal computing, they owe a lot to this manâ??s legacy.
Born in Poland in 1928, he was the founder of Commodore International, the company which manufactured Commodore and Amiga personal computers. He was also a co-founder of the internationally known US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Jack Tramiel overcame much adversity in his life. He lived through the Nazi occupation of Germany, working in a garment factory in Lodz before being sent to Auschwitz and then to a labor camp where his father died. Liberated in 1945 by the US Amy, he came to the US in 1947, joining the US Army where he worked repairing typewriters and other office equipment.
After his time in the army, he found work as a taxi driver, but used his army experience to set up the Commodore Portable Typewriter Company. His company was disadvantaged by being behind the curve of technical development and had a history of changing focus to meet new developments.
In 1962 he diversified into adding machines, followed by digital calculators. By 1977 they had begun to sell their first home computer, the Commodore PET. Unlike many other computing manufacturers, Commodore sold their computers directly to the public rather than through dealers.
Many people, if asked for the best-selling personal computer in history, might name a modern day product. However, the answer is, in fact, the Commodore 64.
First sold in 1982, the Commodore 64 managed to sell between 12.5 and 17 million separate units. For 3 years until 1986, they had a whopping 30%-40% share of the market. Retailing at just $595, it was less than half the price of competitors like the Apple II, making personal computing more affordable than ever.
In 1984 Tramiel resigned from his position with Commodore and set up a new company, Tramiel Technology. After purchasing part of Atari Inc. he renamed the company Atari Corporation. The company had much success, with profits in excess of $25,000,000 a year. In 1986 Atari merged with Jugi Tendon Storage and Tramiel served on the board of the new JTS Corporation.
Within computing circles Jack Tramiel is universally recognized as an influential and pioneering figure. Without his legacy, much of our current personal computing experience would be vastly different. Itâ??s likely that many of the computer scientists who developed everything from the search engines that let us search for CJ Pony Mustang decals and CJ Pony Parts Mustang seats to the video games we play had their first computing experiences on a Commodore 64 or an Atari.
Post by guest blogger Mary, a writer who enjoys blogging about everything from CJ Pony Mustang Decals to online shopping.