Computer Legend and Gaming Pioneer Jack Tramiel Dies at Age 83

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/04/09/computer-legend-and-ga...

Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International and crucial figure in the early history of personal computing, passed away surrounded by his family on Sunday, his family confirms. He was 83 years old.

Tramiel was born in Poland to a Jewish family in 1928. During World War II, he and his family were sent to Auschwitz, after which he and his father were sent to a labor camp called Ahlem, near Hannover. Tramiel was rescued in April 1945 and emigrated to the United States in 1947. In 1984, after being forced to leave the company he founded, Jack bought the crumbling Atari Inc.’s Consumer Division and formed Atari Corporation.

In America, Tramiel started a typewriter repair business. Staying in the forefront of technology, his typewriters morphed into calculators, and later computers. In 1982, Commodore International launched the Commodore 64, which went on to the best-selling personal computer of all time. Tramiel also founded the Atari Corporation in 1984.

“Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries. A name once uttered in the same vein as Steve Jobs is today, his journey from concentration camp survivor to captain of industry is the stuff of legends,” says Martin Goldberg, a writer working on a book about the Atari brand and the early days of video games and computing with Atari Museum founder Curt Vendel.

“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 is survived by his wife Helen, their three sons, Gary, Sam and Leonard, and their extended families.

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Rob Daviau
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Is this mic on?

Surely some thoughts? Anyone who appreciated Commodore / c64?.

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Bill Loguidice
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Thoughts? OK...
Rob Daviau wrote:

Surely some thoughts? Anyone who appreciated Commodore / c64?.

Mixed, concerning both his time with Commodore and Atari... Obvious historical importance, but also ruthless and destructive operating and business practices. He failed to pay many suppliers and clients, hurting them irrevocably or putting them out of business entirely, and was similarly bad to many of the top employees without which he wouldn't have had a business.

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clok1966
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true
Rob Daviau wrote:

“Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries. A name once uttered in the same vein as Steve Jobs is today

I respect his inovation, and totally hate his Success over everything and everybody style... Steve Jobs and him both are alot alike in that respect at least in my mind.. Great men who did great things.. but never understood some aspects of control side.. which cost them both.. both pushed out of there companies.. only to rise again .. and make the same mistakes.. (not to mention keep making excellent hardware too again). brillant but flawed.. but arnt we all (flawed at least, im a few bricks short of the Brillant part).

Matt Barton
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I don't know much about him

I don't know much about him other than that he was an instrumental figure in getting Commodore off the ground. His involvement with Atari later seems more mixed.

BTW, is his name prounced TRA-MEEL or TRA-MAIL?

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Rowdy Rob
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Is it pronounced "Tram-ell??"
Matt Barton wrote:

BTW, is his name prounced TRA-MEEL or TRA-MAIL?

To add to the confusion, I seem to recall, back in my Atari days, that it was pronounced something like "Tram-ull" or "Trammel" or something like that, with the emphasis on the first syllable, not the second, and the "i" was silent, I think. Don't take my word for it, though.... :-P

Matt Barton wrote:

I don't know much about him other than that he was an instrumental figure in getting Commodore off the ground. His involvement with Atari later seems more mixed.

My thoughts pretty much echo Bill's, but with the added perspective that I was an Atari enthusiast when Tramiel was at Commodore. Needless to say, Tramiel's famous "business is war" philosophy really hit Atari hard with the C-64 just when it seemed that Atari was on the verge of taking over the 8-bit computing scene! We weren't particularly fond of that. :-)

I jumped ship to Commodore with the introduction of the Amiga, but the impression I got of Tramiel back in the day was that he was exactly the type of ice-cold business mogul that many working-class people decry, particularly the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters.

Yet, it's hard to argue that he didn't have a general positive influence on many people through Commodore's products, particularly most of you who grew up on the C-64. Can you take that away from the man?

I dunno. There are dark stories behind many of the products we consume and that we positively benefit from, particularly consumer electronics. Is it a good trade-off? Is it one of those "needs of the many" situations?

Think about it... most of the gadgets we can't live without were probably made in some Chinese hell-hole. If we were the ones in the hellhole, our perspectives might be different.

Shawn Delahunty
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Pronounciation

As Rob pointed out below, the correct pronunciation is "TRAM-el". This is according to On The Edge, the book about the rise and fall of Commodore by Brian Bagnall.

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clok1966
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he was huge part of the Atari

he was huge part of the Atari ST PC's.. (atari ST=AMIGA 500) for us AMIGA fanatics.. the ST was its dopleganger. There is RICH and NASTY story betweent he AMIGA and Atari ST.. the amiga was designed by the same guys (some) who did the atari 2600. and was originaly going to be an ATARI computer. keep in mind my retelling is very loose and free with how it went.. there is much more to it.. and its far deeper then i make it sound.. (and my retelling may not be 100% correct, after all its 25+ years ago.)

basilcy the AMIGA might have been and ATARI computer, Tramiel bougth atari, seen the amiga contracts.. and saw Atari had some hold on the chip designs (2600 guys) so levraged that with some sueing and lawering up to slow the original release of the AMIGA.. he also trieed to buy AMiga outright .. which fialed. Amiga was actually farily well funded (remeber this is the golden age of Home PC's really, money to be made) so with the sueing and countersuing... Atari acually beat AMIGA to market with am achine that was (depending on how you look at it) a perfect match for it.. one had this, one had that.. but very evenly matchs home PC.

ther are so many cool things in those days.. the Nintendo being an Atari product (but was rejected) the Amiga (before Tramiel) being an Atari product.. but rejected.. if he had been in there.. it would have been an ATARI PC.. and NO Atari ST would most likley exsist. heck the Atari ST is so much Tramiel the OS is called TOS (Tramiel Operating System), other cool fact MS wanted windows on it.. and offered to do it for free (basicly) but with a dilevery date of aprox 2 years to late (or it might have happned).. In fact his single mindness with the ATARI ST saved atari basicly.. when it shipped they where done... but sales where good and cash came in.. of course he burned alot of bridges to do it..

A case where PURE willpower of the right guy saved a company.. but crushed alot fo people doing it ( he basicly shitcanned everything AtARI was doing when he bought it.. cleaned house, threw the baby out with the bathwater... and just ceoncived a new baby.. luckly a succesfull one).

Rob Daviau
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Well

Just to 100% Clarify though I am sure most of you are aware nothing posted in the initial post are my own words just a cut n paste from the article I linked to. My initial reason for posting were simply to first of all inform any who might not be aware and second of course for any feedback, thoughts, comments etc. I am not into Apple at all but I I also made a video when Steve Jobs passed away, not because I thought anyone needed to be informed (was it possible NOT to hear about it?) but just to give my thoughts and admittedly limited summary as I was not the most informed on Steve Jobs outside of fairly common knowledge, rumors and well what I "learned" from the movie Pirates of Silicon valley lol! I am actually fairly knowledgeable about Jack Tramiel as I did watch videos, read articles and look up info simply because I was a HUGE Commodore fan, though that had more to do with AMIGA than c64 I found his history interesting, being from Toronto where I spent most of my life I think I began being more interested in Jack and the history of Commodore when I had heard Commodore Portable Typewriter Company began in 1954 in Toronto and I followed it more from there. Anyway, I posted originally and made my video to at least recognize a man who passed away because he was of significance in the landscape of computer history, he brought the C64 to market and I think he was an interesting enough individual to warrant the mention. Yes, he had done things that did not please me in his lifetime and yes certainly he had questionable business practices, I have no doubt that so did Steve Jobs or Bill Gates but I like posting about people like Jack and let others discuss there own views. For better or worse I don't want people like Jack to be forgotten so the likes of Apple or Microsoft are free to write their own version of history as they often seem to like to do. In the end I am just so glad he brought the C64 to market, and great machine at a reasonable price and at least for my past experience that was more important and influential then concerning myself with the "What if's" had he not done certain things after that, I was not into Atari computers at all back then and even after finally experiencing them just these last few years for collection purposes I still do not feel I missed anything having grown up a "Commodore kid" then an "Atari kid"......

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