Father of the Commodore 64 Dies
Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore International and in influential figure in the history of Atari, has died.
If you ever adored a 64 at any point in your life, then you have Jack Tramiel to thank. Tramiel, who survived the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War and emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, took his first sideways step toward becoming a legend in the world of technology when he opened a typewriter repair company in 1953, naming the business Commodore Portable Typewriter. In 1955 he launched Commodore Business Machines in Toronto to get around U.S. restrictions on imports - specifically Czechoslovakian typewriters - from Warsaw Pact countries.
With the help of investor Irving Gould, Tramiel rode the company through numerous ups and downs until 1977, when it launched its first computer, the Commodore PET. While successful, the PET these days is pretty much a footnote to the glory of the VIC-20, launched in 1980, and its follow-up, the one and only Commodore 64, which came to market in 1982. The C64 was a true phenomenon, selling anywhere from 12 to 30 million units depending on who you ask, making it the best-selling home computer of all time.
Tramiel was also a major figure in the evolution of Atari following his resignation from Commodore in 1984, after which he formed a new company called Tramel [not Tramiel] Technology Ltd. In July of that year Tramiel acquired the struggling consumer division of Atari Inc. from Warner Communications, which had purchased it from Nolan Bushnell in 1976, and rechristened Tramel Technology to Atari Corporation. In 1996 the company merged with JT Storage, but then sunk into bankruptcy a few years later.
"Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries," writer Martin Goldberg told Forbes. "His legacy are the generations upon generations of computer scientists, engineers, and gamers who had their first exposure to high technology because of his affordable computers - 'for the masses and not the classes'."
Tramiel, who died on April 8, is survived by three sons and his wife Helen. He was 83.
I hope he got to go vacationing in the Isle of White.
I was not born when the Commodore 64 came out, but I own a Nintendo 64 and I will now know that it was all started with him; may he RIP.
This is a really sad moment, my earliet memories of using a computer are with the Commodore 64. I will never forget Load "*" ,8 ,1 (sighs).
C64 was my first computer, that computer taught me DOS, it taught me file hierarchy, it taught me to stretch the meaning of the word "portable".
Good Night, RIP.
He shall be missed...
*pours a forty on the street corner*
Anyone who's made this industry better deserves my condolences. I'm being serious for once. *Tips his imaginary hat*
Now, what's a Commodore 64 specifically?
OH, GOD, NO! LOWER YOUR GUNS! WEEEHHHH!
All of Tamriel will mourn his passing.
R.I.P, and thanks for an awesome childhood.
The C64 was our first computer, I still have it, and I love it.
I wasn't a fan of the Commodore 64 and whenever someone says "something 64", I am automatically reminded of the Nintendo 64, but I certainly grew up with the Commodore Amiga and I definitively see the impact the C64 had in the industry.
RIP good man.
Thank you, Jack. It's odd to think where my life would have gone if there hadn't been a c64 so my parents could afford their first computer; my father wrote his masters thesis on ours.
RIP good sir and to your next great adventure beyond life
So the guy who invented the first ever games console I ever played has died. I feel like I should say something meaningful but I don't believe any of that kinda stuff means anything if I didn't know the guy. And I never even heard his name before.
But I suppose I should say thanks for inventing the machine that made me enjoy the best hobby I have ever had in my life. Thank you good Sir!
Thank you Jack, you and Sir Clive brought computing to the people and into our homes. It has never left mine.
There's no doubt the man was some kind of business genius, judging by what a success his company became and how quickly it went downhill in his absence.
And I still have no idea how to pronounce the man's name.