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What is your opinion of Jack Tramiel?


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#51 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 PM

Crazy fact: prior to its release the STE was rumoured to have an 8bpp low-resolution colour mode and a 2bpp 640x400 mode, according to old-computers.com this was even announced by Atari themselves. Wonder why they didn't do it - working with 64K of video RAM should have been an easy task even for the humble 68K and blitter, and would have given the STE a real edge over the Amiga. The STE sound is OK though, even if the YM2203 seems a more natural choice. The 16MHz upgrade was already offered by many 3rd parties for the ST and Mega ST lines (at least on this side of the pond) and should of course have been implemented into the design - so FULL ACK! I also miss the expansion bus from the Mega STs (a similar bus can be found in the F030, but not in the STE for whatever reason).

Two points where Atari completely failed: instead of selling off their stock of STfms and replacing them with the STE (like they did with the ST(m)s when they introduced the STf(m)s, they continued to produce the STfm, hampering the development of STE enhanced software. And they denied the problem with the DMA chip inside the first batch of STEs, blaming third party HDDs instead.

Well, for video, there's a couple cost and engineering related issue:
1. 256 colors would mean more color registers (CRAM) for indexing all of those colors . . . or perhaps a more limited 256 color mode that used the added 4 bits to modify the base set of 16 colors. (ie using 4 levels of luminance/intensity/shading or RGB control -or perhaps using 4-bits for RGBI control)
2. you don't just need more framebuffer address space, but also more bandwidth for the SHIFTER to scan the buffer . . . which would either mean a wider bus and/or faster RAM, but the latter case would also generally imply moving away from the interleaved memory set-up and instead using serial bus sharing. (since that sort of speed would need FPM accesses, which only work for consecutive/serial accesses, so the 68k -and other bus masters- would need to wait while video was being scanned . . . and/or a separate CPU bus would need to be added -a la fastRAM . . . or a dedicated video bus -though adding fastRAM would add to cost over a single-bus design)

And if they DID design the SHIFTER to make use of fast page DRAM accesses, that would generally mean adding line buffers on-chip to facilitate reading long chunks of memory at a time, or perhaps specifically limited to scanning an entire scanline within hblank (more like the A8's video mechanism). And the latter would allow very consistent DMA timing and no need for double buffered line buffers (scanline would be read in hblank and then displayed -rather than needing 1 display buffer and 1 back buffer being filled while the other displays), but would limit bandwidth to what's available within hblank (which would be especially limited in 31 kHz mode). Though, given the existing ST resolutions (and considerable hblank area), it should have been practical to support 640x400 at 4 colors on a 16-bit bus (or 320x400 16 colors or 640x400 16 colors or 320x400 256 colors on a 32-bit bus). Or higher vertical resolutions than that since hblank bandwidth would only limit scanline width.

I'm also assuming they simply used 8 MHz (125 ns) FPM DRAM for simplicity and cost reasons. (if they allowed video DMA to act asynchronously from the video/pixel clock, you could have RAM -or general CPU/system- clock speeds of various other options like 10 or 12.5 MHz -100 or 80 ns- or 16 MHz, but that would be 62.5 ns, which would be relatively expensive DRAM even in the early 90s)

However, those changes (added CRAM, buffering, and wait state management) should have been quite realistic in the late 80s, let alone early 90s. (especially if they hadn't even bothered with the blitter and stuck more to CPU resource . . . or added rather basic hardware acceleration like basic block/line fill -and screen/line scrolling obviously).

As for the faster CPU, shifting to serial bus sharing would have been the most cost effective route to facilitate that as well. Adding a fastRAM bus more like the Amiga (or other systems with dedicated CPU buses) would be more straightforward in some respects, but also more costly. (and such cost could be better put into other areas like wider buses and/or faster CPUs, or coprocessors, etc)
A unified bus is one of the most significant cost saving measures of a computer or console, and in terms of having fast CPUs on a shared bus, high peak bandwidth with serial bus sharing tends to make the most sense.

For example: adding a 16 MHz 68k to a vanilla ST (with slow/interleaved RAM accesses) would need wait states to match the slow bus speed and relatively moderate added performance over an 8 MHz CPU (some internal operations would be faster -especially multiplication and such- but actual memory-bound operations would be no faster -including software rendered graphics).
OTOH, with serial bus sharing, a 16 MHz CPU could have virtually full access to the bus at full speed with more moderate waits for video DMA (or floppy, etc), and actual DMA overhead for video would be lesser at lower resolutions/color depths.
Or, a (potentially earlier) simpler compromise would have been a faster CPU running nearly full bore on the slow ST bus (with old ST video modes) in hblank and vblank, but adding waits during active video. (and additional waits for floppy/HDD access -so something perhaps more useful around the time of the MEGA's initial release)

Another option (which some accelerators and the MSTE took) would be an external CPU cache along with slow ST style interleaved memory . . . that still limits the external performance of the CPU (including software rendering to some extent) and is almost as costly as adding a fastRAM bus. (and in terms of utility, a full fastRAM bus would be much more worth the cost)
A modified fast bus sharing scheme would be a much more efficient option, and something that would become even more useful with faster CPUs, especially ones with on-chip caching. (ie if a 68020 or 030 -let alone 040- were used, actual FPM accesses could be used for some things -particularly cache-related operations- )
Of course, accelerator boards couldn't modify the entire system to be more efficient, so caching was the only real option there.

This is the sort of bus sharing that the Jaguar uses, and it allows far, far more bandwidth than the ST/Amiga style interleaving schemes. (it's more or less the same route taken on newer shared bus systems like the N64, Xbox, 360, etc -though with faster and faster memory and processors with more and more buffering to more efficient bus sharing . . . or for that matter, same thing for PCs with integrated graphics using shared system RAM)



So, given Atari's general market position to aim at the optimal cost to performance ratio, continued use of a unified bus would have been the obvious route to take. (albeit they'd need good engineers to really make that work well, especially on a tight budget and reasonable timeline)
And rather than offering fastRAM at all on even high-end models, it might make more sense to just rely on faster system memory and wider buses (and faster CPUs) . . . maybe with some external CPU caching as well. (which would become more important with faster and faster processors to complement FPM DRAM accesses/bus sharing -unlike caching of a 68000 on the slow old ST bus, which is relatively inefficient and wasteful)

It would have been more complex/R&D intensive than the likes of the MEGA or STe, but still not to much different from the TT (let alone falcon), and should have been a far, far simpler undertaking than the likes of the Jaguar. ;) (and even backwards compatibility would have been relatively simple due to the generally clean and simple design of the original ST . . . especially if they hadn't added the blitter)











Actually, the Atari PCs are another thing that fell apart after Jack left . . . I wonder if he would have had any impact on that had he postponed retirement.


According to the "Atari: Beginning to End" panel here, it was Jack's call to get out of computers because he saw no way to compete with the Taiwanese. He was apparently not too big on Jaguar, so I'm not sure what he wanted the company to be doing. (Maybe he would have sold the company sooner had he still been CEO?)

In hindsight at least, it's fairly obvious that Japanese companies didn't really manage to compete in until much later -and even today more towards laptops and tablets than dektop PCs . . . aside from within Japan/Asia itself. (which had always been dominated by domestic computers -in Japan, particularly with NEC's computers until the shift to PC clones in the early/mid 90s)

I could see how Tramiel would have seen the possibility of Asian companies jumping ahead in the western markets, but it would have been rather premature to assume that was the case without any hard evidence on the actual market. (ie just because the potential was there doesn't mean it would have materialized as an actual threat)

Perhaps Jack didn't have a good grasp on this concept (though it'shard to imagine that he didn't have at least some understanding of it), but there's a hell of a lot more to a successful consumer product than having the cheapest product out there (cheapest relative to similar performance, that is), especially in the US market where marketing/PR/perception/brand recognition can be so powerful. (a massive part of IBM's success in the consumer market . . . or Commodore's, Nintendo's, or Sony's, or Atari Inc's, or Microsoft's, etc)
That, and catering to specific market niches if you don't have the raw clout to push massive marketing. (which is what the ST, 2600 Jr, and 7800 ended up doing in the US)

Again, Europe is a bit of a different story, though brand-recognition/loyalty was still quite significant there too . . . and having the right product for the market at the right price. (something no Asian computer manufactures ended up doing, regardless of marketing)


So, from Atari/Jack's perspective, Asian manufactures clearly could have threatened their niche in the value end of the market (and perhaps higher-end systems as well), but it's hard to imagine him not realizing that poor management/marketing (even towards that niche) would still prevent entry to that market.

For raw components, yes, lower manufacturing costs will almost always win (which is what happened with much of the semiconductor/LSI fabrication industry moving overseas), but actual technology/R&D, let alone consumer products have a lot more than just cheap labor/production facilities to consider. (and in those respects, Atari -or any similar company- could potentially remain competitive by maintaining competent R&D, marketing, and overall management personnel while very likely taking advantage of cheap overseas manufacturing ;))






But after all that, there's still the much bigger issue that Jack didn't actually do any of that . . . ie he retired in 1988 and Sam took over as president/CEO (though Jack remained on the board of directors). So it wouldn't have been his decision on how to manage the Atari PC line, STe (and later ST line in general), or Jaguar (or Panther or Lynx for that matter) as all of those were after Jack left. (or rather the PC line was launched prior to Jack leaving, and continued to introduce new machines into the early 90s, but the actual management/presence of that line on the market seems rather questionable and it was shut down in the early 90s along with the ST -if not earlier than that)

And Jack did shut down the Jaguar in 1996 . . . but by that point, that was really the most financially responsible course of action. (and their home console market had already taken a massive hit from the total absence between the 7800 and Jaguar . . . and general decline in management and decline of the computer market as well, so the Jag was starting out on the market under pretty terrible circumstances in '93/94)


That, and Curt and Marty's own comments don't seem to match the claim of Jack wanting to get out of computers in general . . . and such interviews have shown inaccuracies before too. (after all, the perspective is relatively limited)
Hell, several such speeches/interviews that Curt was directly involved in turned out to have significant errors after the fact (things that Curt and Marty only uncovered more recently), like the 7800 history account from Steve Golson from a few years back. (including a lot of inaccuracies/common myths about Tramiel/Atari Corp in particular)

Edited by kool kitty89, Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:41 PM.


#52 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:53 PM

I think Warner Atari would have gone bankrupt before any of their mythical 68000 based prototypes would even make it to market so if Jack hadn't bought them then it would all have ended at 800XL. Think what you like about the ST but for me I am all the better for having had the opportunity to purchase a 520STM and spend hours and hours doing pixel art in the free copy of Neochrome thrown in. Sure beat the hell out of using Technicolour Dream on A8 or Neos mouse and Cheese on C64 :)

I doubt that . . . many of Atari Corp's own difficulties came from the sale/lliquidation itself. it caused more problems than it solved by a massive margin, and James Morgan (at least by Curt and Marty's accounts) appeared to be making major headway in cleaning up Atari into an efficient/lean company, though he still had some ways to go to cut through Warner's red tape.

Granted, Warner still could have come in and screwed that all up . . . which is exactly what happened with the horribly sloppy sale to TTL. (and by extension, Tramiel lost a ton of potential resources from that mess and wasted more time/resources trying to sort through everything in the wake of that chaos)

The best case would have been something like Warner spinning off Atari Inc as an autonomous affiliated company, with benefits of profits (from Atari) and funding (from Warner), but a hands-off approach allowing much more efficiency/freedom of management of Atari while also keeping Atari's debts/problems off of Warner's books.

Of course, Morgan's Atari/NATCO wouldn't have been the same as Atari Corp . . . it certainly wouldn't have had the same emphasis on computers, but it may have been a far healthier and more stable company in general. (retaining the arcade division and many other resources lost in the sale -including internal software and hardware R&D talent and marketing/management personnel, and avoiding massive delays in the 7800's release and such)
The ST wouldn't have been, and Atari's own 16-bit machines may not have been nearly as low-cost, but that doesn't mean they'd have been insignificant in the computer market either. (the A8 line may have ended up a bit healthier too, though much of that potential had been lost by mistakes made up through 1983) . . . Or maybe they would have caught-on to how important the low-end market was (especially in Europe) and tailored some of their new machines to aggressively target that. (and of the A8 itself, with the right marketing it may have been possible to champion the real advantages over the C64, at least in the US - with the fast floppy drive and general expansion options -both simple RAM expansion and more extensive support through the new 1090XL expansion module pushing it closer to the Apple II's expandability)

I do however suspect that the 68000 based UNIX workstation that got canned at Commodore in 1986/85 was probably the base design for the ST. IIRC it was also 8mhz. So my whole attitude of ST being a 16bit PET successor kind of holds out for me anyway :)

Heh, that same (albeit vague) description would also describe Atari's 68000 based Unix workstation projects. ;) (using a custom GUI on top of UNIX)

Edited by kool kitty89, Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:57 PM.


#53 lp060 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:28 PM

Dent or not, Apple is still around and that's something in itself. So what if its an mp3 player or a phone. Keeps them a float and at the end of the day it doesn't matter. I'm glad they are still around, saved me from windows. :grin:

#54 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:47 AM



I don't think Jack stayed up all night typing in program listings from Analog or ST-Log to the warm glow of a monitor like I did. His perspective is probably far different than ours. That said, he gave me a fun childhood and a hobby that still persists to this day. Everyone makes mistakes, some bigger than others, but I do respect the man regardless.

I knew some developers in the old Atari scene who were frequently at computer shows with the Tramiels, and it was their opinion that they felt no real connection to the computers or the customers and would frequently make fun of the people at the show. It was all just business.


Put your feet in their shoes, if that is your sole source of income, then yeah it likely becomes just a job. That's what I was saying more or less about Jack, but I'm sure it applies to developers to.

From what I've seen, Jack Tramiel had a passion for what he did, but more in terms of competitive business/management than for the actual/specific products his business was producing. (I'd imagine he felt similarly for Typewriters, Adding machines, and calculators)

Some of the actual technical staff (programmers and engineers) almost certainly would have a different perspective though.

Lennard himself may have as well, since he was more involved on the technical end, though his passion was more in physics than electronics/computers iirc.


As for personal experience from people in the industry . . . my dad was one of those people, and he didn't seem to have that perception of the Tramiels.
He worked at Metacomco in the mid 1980s (which did contract work for both the ST and Amiga, among others -including designing the Amiga OS iirc), and he'd met the Tramiels on a few occasions (at least Jack and Lennard, not sure about Sam).
Albeit, at the time, my dad was working more as a PR person rather than an engineer/programmer, so that may have been part of the context. (he was/is a programmer/software engineer, and did work on several projects at Metacomco -including some stuff for Sinclair- but as far as Atari and Commodore involvement, he was in more of a PR position iirc . . . or something similar to a PR position that also involved significant ans specific technical understanding of the products involved)





Dent or not, Apple is still around and that's something in itself. So what if its an mp3 player or a phone. Keeps them a float and at the end of the day it doesn't matter. I'm glad they are still around, saved me from windows. :grin:

I attribute Apple's continued existence more or less to sheer luck.

Plenty of companies with better management, better products, etc died out due to bad luck . . . or chance if you will. (ie wrong place at the wrong time, unfortunate circumstances, etc, etc)

Apple had Wozniak to thank for the Apple II's revolutionary design, and decent enough management/marketing to get significant market interest/support for that machine, though they screwed that up big time later on. (at times actively trying to kill off the Apple II in favor of other products that ended up as flops -the Mac itself was a drain on Apples resources for several years and supported mainly by Apple II revenue and investment spending)

Apple made horrible mistakes with the Apple III, Lisa, and Mac in several respects, and made another big mistake by not pushing harder to expand the Apple II line. (from lower cost models to further enhanced hardware and OS -earlier than the IIgs- etc, etc).

With the Mac, not only did they come out with a totally incompatible system, but one technically inferior in several aspects to the Apple II itself:
No color, smaller/poorer keyboard, smaller screen, and (most obviously) a total lack of the versatile open expansion architecture of the Apple II.


The biggest technical advantages of the Apple II were largely shared with the IBM PC . . . and in many ways the PC was the spiritual successor to the Apple II.

It's interesting to think what might have happened to a machine with those advantages, but also a much cleaner/efficient/cost effective architecture on the market in the early 80s. (let alone if said platform was presented as a range of compatible machines catering to different price ranges . . . and of course the major issue of tactful and well-funded advertising and distribution -and software support, of course)
The Atari ST's base hardware architecture fit the bill rather well in that regard . . . so something like that offered with open box expansion capabilities and higher-end models with Apple II/PC style internal expansion slots. (granted, it would still need the funding -and better, an established brand name in the business world- to really have a chance of major success in the US market)

Edited by kool kitty89, Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:49 AM.


#55 sack-c0s OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:14 AM

He would have left the A1000 to sell and listened to Jay Miner's idea to build a games console with a cartridge port (meaning only 128kb needed for machine RAM not 512kb) for about £300 in 1986 too for people who just wanted to play 'Amiga games'


Play? yes. but did they want to *buy* them?

From what I saw of local Amiga users I'm guessing if the lowend Amiga was a console they'd all be playing games on the ST from Medway boys and pompey pirates disks instead

#56 oky2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:54 AM


He would have left the A1000 to sell and listened to Jay Miner's idea to build a games console with a cartridge port (meaning only 128kb needed for machine RAM not 512kb) for about £300 in 1986 too for people who just wanted to play 'Amiga games'


Play? yes. but did they want to *buy* them?

From what I saw of local Amiga users I'm guessing if the lowend Amiga was a console they'd all be playing games on the ST from Medway boys and pompey pirates disks instead


Jay's idea to add a cartridge slot was in addition to disk drive ports and RAM expansion slot of A1000. So think more of N64+Doctor64.....ie games on disk or cartridge :)

Ram was a big slice of ST/Amiga cost price hence cutting it by 75% made low cost hardware feasible.

#57 DarkLord OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:03 PM

Dent or not, Apple is still around and that's something in itself. So what if its an mp3 player or a phone. Keeps them a float and at the end of the day it doesn't matter. I'm glad they are still around, saved me from windows. :grin:


Amen to that brother. Same way I feel about Linux. :)

#58 OldAtarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:01 PM

I was just wondering what is your opinion of Jack Tramiel and how he ran Atari? Were things better because of him?


Atari ceased to exist under his family's "leadership". I think that alone speaks volumes.

Edited by OldAtarian, Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:03 PM.


#59 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:11 AM



He would have left the A1000 to sell and listened to Jay Miner's idea to build a games console with a cartridge port (meaning only 128kb needed for machine RAM not 512kb) for about £300 in 1986 too for people who just wanted to play 'Amiga games'


Play? yes. but did they want to *buy* them?

From what I saw of local Amiga users I'm guessing if the lowend Amiga was a console they'd all be playing games on the ST from Medway boys and pompey pirates disks instead


Jay's idea to add a cartridge slot was in addition to disk drive ports and RAM expansion slot of A1000. So think more of N64+Doctor64.....ie games on disk or cartridge :)

Or like the Sega Saturn out of the box . . . or how many home computers hard cart slots while also using disk/tape media. (Atari 8-bit, CoCo, C64, ST, etc -though the ST very rarely used the cart slot for software)

Ram was a big slice of ST/Amiga cost price hence cutting it by 75% made low cost hardware feasible.

Hmm, what context was this in? (cutting what by 75%? RAM content or RAM cost?)

In terms of RAM prices, they fell in 1985 and '86 but slowed/stopped in '87 and jumped up dramatically in '88 in the heat of the DRAM crisis. (and only gradually began falling again thereafter -prices in '89 were only slightly less than '88 and still more than 50% more than they'd been in '86) See: http://phe.rockefell...b/DRAM/dram.htm

Note, those are densities by bit, not byte. (so 1M is 128 kB and 256k is 32 kB -STs and Amigas both used 32kB DRAM chips into the late 80s when they transitioned to 128kB chips -hence why early 520STs had 16 DRAM chips while late models had 4)


That's almost certainly the main reason you didn't see the 1040ST replacing the 512k models as the bottom-end standard. (had prices kept falling -or even just stagnated at the '87 prices for a while -sort of like the 1992 prices did until '96- there almost certainly would have been a push for cheaper systems with larger amounts of RAM)









Also, in my rambling about possible/hypothetical graphics/memory architecture expansions on the ST, I failed to address one of the simplest/most practical options for bus sharing with FPM DRAM: multi-bank interleaving.
Similar to the interleaving used by the ST/Amiga, but done using FPM accesses with a DRAM controller capable of holding pages open in several different banks (still on a shared bus, mind you). Page mode accesses must be sequential within the same page, otherwise you add overhead for changing pages (and that's what you get for the slow random accesses the ST and Amiga use), but by separating banks, you could have several processors accessing the bus in page mode concurrently as long as they kept to their own banks.

So, in the context of the ST, you could have a 16 MHz 68k running full-bore in DRAM accessing the bus at 2x the speed of the ST's MHz one (250 ns rather than 500 ns cycle times), but that's still well within the slow random access speed range (ie it wouldn't ever be using page-mode accesses). So, with 125 ns FPM DRAM and an updated SHIFTER supporting page-mode reads (and corresponding DRAM controller), you could interleave 1 page-mode read in each 250 ns 68k bus cycle period, allowing double the video bandwidth over the vanilla ST (assuming a 16-bit bus were still used) and thus double the color depth for all ST resolutions (640x400x4-color, 640x200x16-color, 320x200x256 color), plus double the CPU bandwidth and speed.

However, if you only used 2 banks (1 for main RAM and 1 for the framebuffer), the CPU would only be able to access the framebuffer in hblank and vblank, unless you allowed 2 banks of RAM to be flipped between that 2nd/framebuffer bank. (ie 2 64 kB banks that could each be swapped between the main DRAM bank and the framebuffer bank -with the active framebuffer on the SHIFTER's bank and the back buffer in the main bank)
You could technically support 3 separate banks (each with a page held open), but that would be unnecessary since the 68k wouldn't need page mode accesses on the back-buffer. (though it would be significant if a fast blitter were added, to allow fast-page-mode copys from the "main" bank to the back buffer -roughly double the speed of doing slow random accesses)

This route would avoid the chip space/complexity of large line buffers as well as CPU wait states of a serial bus sharing system I mentioned above, but would take a bit more board space. (the added DRAM chips for the separate banks with 3 separate sets of 16-bit data lines coming from the RAM chips, etc)

Switching to a 32-bit bus would obviously be the next step up in bandwidth from there. (and then faster RAM and still faster buses)

#60 landondyer OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:24 PM

I was just wondering what is your opinion of Jack Tramiel and how he ran Atari? Were things better because of him?


Working for Jack was interesting. Very powerful personality, and I didn't really stand up to him much (just once, when I was leaving the company).

In person, the Tramiels are a great bunch of people. In business relationships, my guess is that a lot of people were pretty unhappy with them. The T's seemed to think it was some kind of natural law that you had to look out for yourself in your dealings with them. (DEC used to demand cashiers checks at the door before they would do any service work on our Vaxen).

In the end, I think that they didn't have the necessary product vision. Other than "dirt cheap" they couldn't offer a compelling platform story. The ST sort of muddled through, making some inroads (e.g., MIDI in the music industry), but nothing really dramatic. The staff just wasn't large enough to do both sustaining engineering and whizzy new products, and in the end the lack of something that a Mac or a PC couldn't also do killed 'em.

#61 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:16 AM

The Amiga chipset was being licensed to Atari for use in a game console, it was not intended solely for Atari. Amiga was still planning on releasing their computer at the same time, and the plan was still to sell off the company to someone eventually. If the whole Commodore thing had never happened, you simply would have had an Amiga based Atari console and an Amiga released computer on the market at the same time.



Atari was going to release the 1850XL and 1850XLD which were Amigas had Atari acquired Amiga Inc. due to the failure of Amiga to repay its loan. Had Warner kept NATCO going, Amiga might not have panicked about ending up in the hands of Jack Tramiel and thus wouldn't have prostituted themselves to Tramiel-less Commodore.

The ST wouldn't have happened and Tramel Technologies probably would've imploded because not only wouldn't they have acquired any talent from the former Atari Inc. but they wouldn't have acquired Atari's Taiwan assembly plant, distribution network, dealer network, etc. They probably would've bought some other company like Mindset and been erased from history whereas NATCO [Atari] probably would've rebounded first with the 7800 available for Christmas 1984 and all the cash coming in from that and then launching the 1850XL and XLD in 85. Hopefully they would've renamed it something else to avoid confusion with the regular 8-bit XL line.

#62 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:13 AM

Atari was going to release the 1850XL and 1850XLD which were Amigas


No, that's old information from Curt's site. Those were part of the 68000 research that Atari Inc. had been working on. The Amiga license was for a console (Mickey) that would later be allowed to be expanded in to a computer, and a separate full computer allowed for release in 1986, as well as using the chipsets in coin. The only thing being worked on at the time was Mickey however, the console.

had Atari acquired Amiga Inc. due to the failure of Amiga to repay its loan. Had Warner kept NATCO going, Amiga might not have panicked about ending up in the hands of Jack Tramiel and thus wouldn't have prostituted themselves to Tramiel-less Commodore.


Also not right, this has been gone over before. There was never any provision to aquire Amiga, the only provision in the contract was for Atari Inc. to aquire the chipset specs from escrow royalty free should Amiga go under due to it's financial state. From day one Dave Morse made it known he intended to eventually sell Amiga and didn't want anything getting in the way. In fact there were several other groups that invested in Amiga besides Atari. Atari's contract was for licensing and royalties to Amiga only, with the initial check a sign of sincereity between both companies for signing the final licensing contract at the end of June upon the delivery of the first chip samples. In the interim the check gave Atari access to Amiga people for technical assistance during the development of the Mickey PCB and put the chip documents in escrow. Should Amiga go under because of it's shakey financial state, Atari Inc. needed someway to recoup it's investment considering the earlier investors also had stakes and would be first in line during any liquidation. So the clause let Atari gain the documents in escrow royalty free. They would be able to produce the Amiga chips without having to pay anyone. There was never any clause about taking over Amiga, that's missinformation that somehow warped out of this.

Likewise, the afraid of Tramiel was just a story spun to lure an advance from Commodore. The talks for the takeover were private and didn't occur until just after Dave tried to give Atari Inc. the check in July. The talks between Dave and Commodore started in early to mid June. As was shown in the testimony, when the Atari Inc. and Amiga people (Dave and his counterpart at Atari) met at the June CES, they were both excited and looking forward to signing the final contracts. Something happened to spook Dave in the interim after, and he BS'd Commodore about Jack - most likely based on his experience when Jack visited Amiga that April while going up and down the valley looking for possible companies to fold in to TTL. But there was no public knowledge of any Jack/Atari purchase yet because it hadn't happened yet. And when it did, it was so secret that even the people at Atari Inc. itself had no idea about it, including Jim Morgan who didn't find out until he was called in to the board room to sign the papers. Warner is the one that called Jack the last minute about wanting to sell, which all occured during the July 4th weekend. Dave tried to give the check in on June 28th.

The ST wouldn't have happened and Tramel Technologies probably would've imploded because not only wouldn't they have acquired any talent from the former Atari Inc.


The purchase was never about aquiring talent, Jack already had his team of ex-Commodore people. In fact most of the engineering talent never made it over to Atari Corp. or were put to work in areas other than their talent (the one person left from the Mickey team was actually put to work running the mainframe). Atari Inc.'s Consumer Division was bought purely for it's established manufacturing and distribution network which Jack wanted to leverage for distribution his new computer. It was a bonus that it also included the consumer video game properties and backstock, which Jack would use to keep the new company afloat while development of RBP finished.

but they wouldn't have acquired Atari's Taiwan assembly plant, distribution network, dealer network, etc. They probably would've bought some other company like Mindset and been erased from history whereas NATCO [Atari] probably would've rebounded first with the 7800 available for Christmas 1984 and all the cash coming in from that and then launching the 1850XL and XLD in 85.


I certainly agree on NATCO, though the 1850XL and XLD had already been cancelled. As far as the 7800, the big question comes to mind as to what would have been done with Mickey if it came out. Either they'd have to cancel the 7800 or place it as the high end console with the 7800 being mid and 2600jr being low end. Similar to what Jack tried to do with the XEGS/7800/Jr combination.

As far as what would have happened with TTL, it's hard to say. But your scenerio is most likely right, as without all those resources he would have had to find someone else to buy in to for manufacturing and distribution and find investors to boot. With the Atari Inc. Consumer Division purchase, Warner was in effect the major investor in his company.

#63 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:02 PM


Atari was going to release the 1850XL and 1850XLD which were Amigas


No, that's old information from Curt's site. Those were part of the 68000 research that Atari Inc. had been working on. The Amiga license was for a console (Mickey) that would later be allowed to be expanded in to a computer, and a separate full computer allowed for release in 1986, as well as using the chipsets in coin. The only thing being worked on at the time was Mickey however, the console.

had Atari acquired Amiga Inc. due to the failure of Amiga to repay its loan. Had Warner kept NATCO going, Amiga might not have panicked about ending up in the hands of Jack Tramiel and thus wouldn't have prostituted themselves to Tramiel-less Commodore.


Also not right, this has been gone over before. There was never any provision to aquire Amiga, the only provision in the contract was for Atari Inc. to aquire the chipset specs from escrow royalty free should Amiga go under due to it's financial state. From day one Dave Morse made it known he intended to eventually sell Amiga and didn't want anything getting in the way. In fact there were several other groups that invested in Amiga besides Atari. Atari's contract was for licensing and royalties to Amiga only, with the initial check a sign of sincereity between both companies for signing the final licensing contract at the end of June upon the delivery of the first chip samples. In the interim the check gave Atari access to Amiga people for technical assistance during the development of the Mickey PCB and put the chip documents in escrow. Should Amiga go under because of it's shakey financial state, Atari Inc. needed someway to recoup it's investment considering the earlier investors also had stakes and would be first in line during any liquidation. So the clause let Atari gain the documents in escrow royalty free. They would be able to produce the Amiga chips without having to pay anyone. There was never any clause about taking over Amiga, that's missinformation that somehow warped out of this.

Likewise, the afraid of Tramiel was just a story spun to lure an advance from Commodore. The talks for the takeover were private and didn't occur until just after Dave tried to give Atari Inc. the check in July. The talks between Dave and Commodore started in early to mid June. As was shown in the testimony, when the Atari Inc. and Amiga people (Dave and his counterpart at Atari) met at the June CES, they were both excited and looking forward to signing the final contracts. Something happened to spook Dave in the interim after, and he BS'd Commodore about Jack - most likely based on his experience when Jack visited Amiga that April while going up and down the valley looking for possible companies to fold in to TTL. But there was no public knowledge of any Jack/Atari purchase yet because it hadn't happened yet. And when it did, it was so secret that even the people at Atari Inc. itself had no idea about it, including Jim Morgan who didn't find out until he was called in to the board room to sign the papers. Warner is the one that called Jack the last minute about wanting to sell, which all occured during the July 4th weekend. Dave tried to give the check in on June 28th.

The ST wouldn't have happened and Tramel Technologies probably would've imploded because not only wouldn't they have acquired any talent from the former Atari Inc.


The purchase was never about aquiring talent, Jack already had his team of ex-Commodore people. In fact most of the engineering talent never made it over to Atari Corp. or were put to work in areas other than their talent (the one person left from the Mickey team was actually put to work running the mainframe). Atari Inc.'s Consumer Division was bought purely for it's established manufacturing and distribution network which Jack wanted to leverage for distribution his new computer. It was a bonus that it also included the consumer video game properties and backstock, which Jack would use to keep the new company afloat while development of RBP finished.

but they wouldn't have acquired Atari's Taiwan assembly plant, distribution network, dealer network, etc. They probably would've bought some other company like Mindset and been erased from history whereas NATCO [Atari] probably would've rebounded first with the 7800 available for Christmas 1984 and all the cash coming in from that and then launching the 1850XL and XLD in 85.


I certainly agree on NATCO, though the 1850XL and XLD had already been cancelled. As far as the 7800, the big question comes to mind as to what would have been done with Mickey if it came out. Either they'd have to cancel the 7800 or place it as the high end console with the 7800 being mid and 2600jr being low end. Similar to what Jack tried to do with the XEGS/7800/Jr combination.

As far as what would have happened with TTL, it's hard to say. But your scenerio is most likely right, as without all those resources he would have had to find someone else to buy in to for manufacturing and distribution and find investors to boot. With the Atari Inc. Consumer Division purchase, Warner was in effect the major investor in his company.



Thanks for clearing that up. I was under the impression that Amiga's early investors [the dentists, for example] had already been taken care of [i.e. had their stake re-purchased] but I guess not.

I shudder to think how much the Mickey console would've cost back then considering talk of it [or at least when Commodore later toyed with the idea] of having 128k standard for its RAM in 1984/85. Granted, Atari Inc. was rather stingy with console RAM considering the 5200 probably should've had 32k [and not 16k] and, well, the 7800 should've had even more than that [IMHO].

#64 oky2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:23 PM


I think Warner Atari would have gone bankrupt before any of their mythical 68000 based prototypes would even make it to market so if Jack hadn't bought them then it would all have ended at 800XL. Think what you like about the ST but for me I am all the better for having had the opportunity to purchase a 520STM and spend hours and hours doing pixel art in the free copy of Neochrome thrown in. Sure beat the hell out of using Technicolour Dream on A8 or Neos mouse and Cheese on C64 :)

I doubt that . . . many of Atari Corp's own difficulties came from the sale/lliquidation itself. it caused more problems than it solved by a massive margin, and James Morgan (at least by Curt and Marty's accounts) appeared to be making major headway in cleaning up Atari into an efficient/lean company, though he still had some ways to go to cut through Warner's red tape.

Granted, Warner still could have come in and screwed that all up . . . which is exactly what happened with the horribly sloppy sale to TTL. (and by extension, Tramiel lost a ton of potential resources from that mess and wasted more time/resources trying to sort through everything in the wake of that chaos)

The best case would have been something like Warner spinning off Atari Inc as an autonomous affiliated company, with benefits of profits (from Atari) and funding (from Warner), but a hands-off approach allowing much more efficiency/freedom of management of Atari while also keeping Atari's debts/problems off of Warner's books.

Of course, Morgan's Atari/NATCO wouldn't have been the same as Atari Corp . . . it certainly wouldn't have had the same emphasis on computers, but it may have been a far healthier and more stable company in general. (retaining the arcade division and many other resources lost in the sale -including internal software and hardware R&D talent and marketing/management personnel, and avoiding massive delays in the 7800's release and such)
The ST wouldn't have been, and Atari's own 16-bit machines may not have been nearly as low-cost, but that doesn't mean they'd have been insignificant in the computer market either. (the A8 line may have ended up a bit healthier too, though much of that potential had been lost by mistakes made up through 1983) . . . Or maybe they would have caught-on to how important the low-end market was (especially in Europe) and tailored some of their new machines to aggressively target that. (and of the A8 itself, with the right marketing it may have been possible to champion the real advantages over the C64, at least in the US - with the fast floppy drive and general expansion options -both simple RAM expansion and more extensive support through the new 1090XL expansion module pushing it closer to the Apple II's expandability)

I do however suspect that the 68000 based UNIX workstation that got canned at Commodore in 1986/85 was probably the base design for the ST. IIRC it was also 8mhz. So my whole attitude of ST being a 16bit PET successor kind of holds out for me anyway :)

Heh, that same (albeit vague) description would also describe Atari's 68000 based Unix workstation projects. ;) (using a custom GUI on top of UNIX)


Your 2 posts kind of answer each other. The Warner Atari 68000 machines would have cost more than Commodore+MOS facility building Amiga 1000 due to their complex chipsets and the fact production would be farmed out to chip manufacturers. There's no way those machines could have been sold for $549 or $749 with monitor+FD in 85.

The Commodore 68000 based workstation was a much simpler design (cheaper) and Shivji would have been involved in that so it kind of fits for. It was like a 68000 based PET with bare minimum custom chips, which is pretty much what the ST is and why it is such a great business machine.

#65 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:41 PM



I think Warner Atari would have gone bankrupt before any of their mythical 68000 based prototypes would even make it to market so if Jack hadn't bought them then it would all have ended at 800XL. Think what you like about the ST but for me I am all the better for having had the opportunity to purchase a 520STM and spend hours and hours doing pixel art in the free copy of Neochrome thrown in. Sure beat the hell out of using Technicolour Dream on A8 or Neos mouse and Cheese on C64 :)

I doubt that . . . many of Atari Corp's own difficulties came from the sale/lliquidation itself. it caused more problems than it solved by a massive margin, and James Morgan (at least by Curt and Marty's accounts) appeared to be making major headway in cleaning up Atari into an efficient/lean company, though he still had some ways to go to cut through Warner's red tape.

Granted, Warner still could have come in and screwed that all up . . . which is exactly what happened with the horribly sloppy sale to TTL. (and by extension, Tramiel lost a ton of potential resources from that mess and wasted more time/resources trying to sort through everything in the wake of that chaos)

The best case would have been something like Warner spinning off Atari Inc as an autonomous affiliated company, with benefits of profits (from Atari) and funding (from Warner), but a hands-off approach allowing much more efficiency/freedom of management of Atari while also keeping Atari's debts/problems off of Warner's books.

Of course, Morgan's Atari/NATCO wouldn't have been the same as Atari Corp . . . it certainly wouldn't have had the same emphasis on computers, but it may have been a far healthier and more stable company in general. (retaining the arcade division and many other resources lost in the sale -including internal software and hardware R&D talent and marketing/management personnel, and avoiding massive delays in the 7800's release and such)
The ST wouldn't have been, and Atari's own 16-bit machines may not have been nearly as low-cost, but that doesn't mean they'd have been insignificant in the computer market either. (the A8 line may have ended up a bit healthier too, though much of that potential had been lost by mistakes made up through 1983) . . . Or maybe they would have caught-on to how important the low-end market was (especially in Europe) and tailored some of their new machines to aggressively target that. (and of the A8 itself, with the right marketing it may have been possible to champion the real advantages over the C64, at least in the US - with the fast floppy drive and general expansion options -both simple RAM expansion and more extensive support through the new 1090XL expansion module pushing it closer to the Apple II's expandability)

I do however suspect that the 68000 based UNIX workstation that got canned at Commodore in 1986/85 was probably the base design for the ST. IIRC it was also 8mhz. So my whole attitude of ST being a 16bit PET successor kind of holds out for me anyway :)

Heh, that same (albeit vague) description would also describe Atari's 68000 based Unix workstation projects. ;) (using a custom GUI on top of UNIX)


Your 2 posts kind of answer each other. The Warner Atari 68000 machines would have cost more than Commodore+MOS facility building Amiga 1000 due to their complex chipsets and the fact production would be farmed out to chip manufacturers. There's no way those machines could have been sold for $549 or $749 with monitor+FD in 85.

The Commodore 68000 based workstation was a much simpler design (cheaper) and Shivji would have been involved in that so it kind of fits for. It was like a 68000 based PET with bare minimum custom chips, which is pretty much what the ST is and why it is such a great business machine.



I dunno about that. We all seem to be under the impression that vertical integration is a way to go when it comes to custom chip manufacturing but Atari Inc. certainly wasn't so hot on it [and even though Warner itself tried to be rather vertically integrated with their other businesses, such as not only owning record labels, but the record pressing equipment and also being involved with publishing rights, etc.]. Apple has never vertically integrated chip making but with their wads of cash seem to dictate the price they are currently willing to pay for any components now. The modern Apple method seems to be the favored approach since the adoption of just-in-time-accounting although that is advocated by service based economies and not export driven economies that actually manufacture goods.

I don't think Atari Inc. ever got skrewed by DRAM prices unlike Atari Corp if you take Jack's side [retroactively] regarding his lawsuit against Micron for an alleged breach of an oral contract for specific DRAM pricing.

Hey, remember when Atari Corp. discussed manufacturing the STs here in the US?

#66 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:10 PM

Thanks for clearing that up. I was under the impression that Amiga's early investors [the dentists, for example] had already been taken care of [i.e. had their stake re-purchased] but I guess not.


No, not by the time period of the suit (March '84 - July '84), though I'm sure they were paid out when Commodore bought the company. As mentioned, that was the consideration when getting them to put the chip design work in escrow. Likewise all the other investors were still included in the legal documentation regarding that time period.

I shudder to think how much the Mickey console would've cost back then considering talk of it [or at least when Commodore later toyed with the idea] of having 128k standard for its RAM in 1984/85. Granted, Atari Inc. was rather stingy with console RAM considering the 5200 probably should've had 32k [and not 16k] and, well, the 7800 should've had even more than that [IMHO].


My guess is you would have seen something in the line of 32-48k for the console with more expansion available with the computer add-on. I'd have to check the Mickey PCB for clues and I don't have the image in front of me right now.

#67 AtariDude OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:06 AM

He is an interesting character to say the least. He seemed to be very much hard line and never really gave too much thought about long term planning. He seemed to be always focus on the here and now and as a result, he would have to come up with new models to keep going.

My biggest beef with him is that Atari could have owned Amiga Inc which was as advanced chip set for its day. Instead they tried low ball the cost of acquiring the company and thus Amiga inc convinced Commorodore to buy them and give the money back to Atari that was loaned for the creation of the chipset. Just imagine how good it would have been to own an Atari Amigs.

#68 Ayreon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:49 AM

From what I understand from that has been posted here is that the Amiga chipset would have been too expensive for the Tramiels to use in their homecomputer plans. I bet they wanted Amiga inc, but wouldn't be surprised if that was to keep the chipset off the market and do their own thing. Maybe later they would have a look at it for their console plans instead of the Panther. So no Amiga and no Jaguar if that happend.

#69 AtariDude OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:46 AM

Actually if memory serves, there was a plan to release a model called the Atari 1800XL. When Atari made the arrangement with Amiga Inc. they loaned them $500,0000 to allow them to develop the chip set. At a certain time, the loan needed to be paid back to Atari or Atari would become the owners of the chipset. Amiga inc was strapped for cash so made this arrangement but never wanted to surround the chipset to Atari.

Instead they told Commodore what was happening and since Irving Gould was the owner of Commordore, he wanted nothing better than to have the chipset belong to Commodore and not Atari. Irving Gould kicked out Jack Tramiel from Commodore since Tramiel wanted his sons to run the company after he left. Gould wanted it run in a more professional manner than a mom and pop shop so he fired Tramiel when they both disagreed on the future running of Commodore. Attari's legal department had already drawn papers to have the rights to the chipset to Atari when the rep from Amiga came in with a check for $500,000 to pay back Atari the money that was loaned.

Commodore then sealed the deal by buying Amiga inc for $26 million. Trammel would eventually sue Amiga Inc. and Commodore as well. The end result is not known since the papers were sealed.

I am mostly going off memory from a book called "on the edge: the rise and fall of commodore". The book is in my office at the university but the university is closed till January otherwise I could tell you the name of the Commodore rep that gave the check from Commodore to pay back the original loan.

Edited by AtariDude, Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:58 AM.


#70 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:57 AM

My biggest beef with him is that Atari could have owned Amiga Inc which was as advanced chip set for its day. Instead they tried low ball the cost of acquiring the company and thus Amiga inc convinced Commorodore to buy them and give the money back to Atari that was loaned for the creation of the chipset. Just imagine how good it would have been to own an Atari Amigs.


No, never happened. This was covered several posts above and in plenty of other threads here on AA. A) The deal was with Atari Inc., not Jack Tramiel's Atari Corp. b) There was no low balling, everything was laid out in the intent contract with no attempt to renegotiate. That's RJ Mical's fanciful storytelling, he wasn't involved in the actual business dealings between Atari Inc. and Amiga. c) There was never any "give the money back or we own the company". And Dave Morse was upfront from the beginning that he planned on selling the company eventually, which is why the contract was for licensing and transferrable.

From what I understand from that has been posted here is that the Amiga chipset would have been too expensive for the Tramiels to use in their homecomputer plans. I bet they wanted Amiga inc, but wouldn't be surprised if that was to keep the chipset off the market and do their own thing. Maybe later they would have a look at it for their console plans instead of the Panther. So no Amiga and no Jaguar if that happend.


There was never any plans to use the Amiga chipset, and they had no idea about the deal when they bought the Consumer Division to form Atari Corporation. As for Atari Inc., they would have manufactured the chips on their own and paid a licensing fee, which is what was supposed to have been finalized in late June/Early July.

Actually if memory serves, there was a plan to release a model called the Atari 1800XL. When Atari made the arrangement with Amiga Inc. they loaned them $500,0000 to allow them to develop the chip set. At a certain time, the loan needed to be paid back to Atari or Atari would become the owners of the chipset. Amiga inc was strapped for cash so made this arrangement but never wanted to surround the chipset to Atari.


Nope. Mickey was the Amiga project, the 1800XL was a different project, also discussed already several posts up. Likewise, the $500,000 was an initial bridge payment for intent to sign a full licensing agreement at the end of June. There was never any "pay this back or we get the company", the confusion is if Amiga went under they'd get the materials related to the chips and their production (all put in escrow) free of licensing.

Instead they told Commodore what was happening


Nope. Commodore had approached Amiga on their own about investing in early June after a tip from a former Commodore member, and it eventually morphed in to buying Amiga outright. During the process, David Morse got spooked that something would screw up selling it and concocted a story of the possibility of Jack being after Amiga via Atari (he had visited on his own that past April while researching several companies but the talks went nowhere and he moved on). Only there was nothing going on between Jack and Atari Inc. at the time - that didn't start until the July 4th weekend.

and since Irving Gould was the owner of Commordore,


No he was not. Irving owned 17% and was chairman of the board. After Jack's departure he became CEO.

he wanted nothing better than to have the chipset belong to Commodore and not Atari. Irving Gould kicked out Jack Tramiel from Commodore since Tramiel wanted his sons to run the company after he left.


No again, that was a rumor that was going around. The fallout had to do with the direction of the company and where it should go.

Gould wanted it run in a more professional manner than a mom and pop shop so he fired Tramiel


LOL, you can't fire Jack when you don't own the company. They forced him to quit.

when they both disagreed on the future running of Commodore. Attari's legal department had already drawn papers to have the rights to the chipset to Atari when the rep from Amiga came in with a check for $500,000 to pay back Atari the money that was loaned.


No again, see above.

And one has nothing to do with the other. Jack left Commodore in January and didn't buy the Consumer Division until July. The Amiga deal had been with Atari Inc., was started that Fall, the initial contract was signed in March and the final licensing contract was to be signed in June. All long before Jack's involvement with the Atari brand.

Commodore then sealed the deal by buying Amiga inc for $26 million. Trammel would eventually sue Amiga Inc. and Commodore as well. The end result is not known since the papers were sealed.


Jack counter-sued Amiga. Commodore filed suits first, that July, getting an injunction against Shiraz and two other engineers who left Commodore for Jack's Atari Corp. The injunction was to stop them from doing any computer work for Jack during that time, effectively shutting down his development. When the Amiga contract was discovered at the end of the month, Jack negotiated with Warner for it (the deal was actually owned by Warner and did not come with the Consumer Division purchase) and then used it to file a counter-suit at Commodore via Amiga. The suit was transferred to just Commodore after the Amiga purchase was finalized of course.

I am mostly going off memory from a book called "on the edge: the rise and fall of commodore".


I contributed the Amiga/Atari related material to the book, and what you're stating isn't in there. What you mentioned is more the missinformation spread around via RJ.


The book is in my office at the university but the university is closed till January otherwise I could tell you the name of the Commodore rep that gave the check from Commodore to pay back the original loan.


It was David Morse as stated, the president of Amiga. He tried to return it stating they couldn't get the chips to work (which was a lie of course). And as was discussed in the court testimony, the check (which was for the $500,000 plus interest) was refused as a)Atari didn't want the money back, b) There were no provisions for paying it back and his counterpart at Atari didn't even think he'd be authorized to take the check, c) They even offered Amiga more time to get the bugs out of the chips if the needed it. Dave refused.

#71 AtariDude OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:41 AM

Interesting. I don't have the on the edge book with me go be sure of what was said in the book but it seems like you disagree with what I can recall from the book. Have you actually read the book "on the edge: the rise and fall of commodore"?


#72 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:14 PM

There was never any plans to use the Amiga chipset, and they had no idea about the deal when they bought the Consumer Division to form Atari Corporation. As for Atari Inc., they would have manufactured the chips on their own and paid a licensing fee, which is what was supposed to have been finalized in late June/Early July.



This is pure speculation, but I just can't see James Morgan settling for just a licensing agreement on the Amiga chipset. Had Warner retained Atari Inc./NATCO, I'd say Atari would've played hardball to land Amiga Inc. outright and prevent them from licensing the chipset to anyone else. I'm sure some Atari Inc. executive would've pointed out "hey, remember when Warner didn't allow Atari to acquire MOS after Al Alcorn recommended they do so?"

Granted, as you mentioned about the speculation on the RAM size that would've been included with the Mickey, it is probably reasonable to conclude Atari would've replaced the Paula chip with the AMY chip at least for the audio responsibilities.


No he was not. Irving owned 17% and was chairman of the board. After Jack's departure he became CEO.



Wow. That's amazing a single shareholder with only a 17% stake could exert so much control over a company the size of Commodore throughout the majority of its operating history. I was under the impression Gould had at least a 40% stake and Jack had 30% or less. That just goes to show any founder of a company who wishes to control it in perpetuity should always retain at least a 50.6% stake.


No again, that was a rumor that was going around. The fallout had to do with the direction of the company and where it should go.


If that's just a rumor, why did the Tramiels perpetuate it? Jack always emphasized he wanted "Atari Corp" to be a family operation [for his family] and he certainly wasn't shy about making his sons VPs of everything there. [I must concede though that Leonard seemed to be totally qualified to run the OS operations].

As for the direction of the company, there was a lot to be angry about regarding Jack's strategy. Sure, he drove out most of the competition, but he ruined the profit markets of the C64 without having a follow-up product in the pipeline.


Jack counter-sued Amiga. Commodore filed suits first, that July, getting an injunction against Shiraz and two other engineers who left Commodore for Jack's Atari Corp. The injunction was to stop them from doing any computer work for Jack during that time, effectively shutting down his development. When the Amiga contract was discovered at the end of the month, Jack negotiated with Warner for it (the deal was actually owned by Warner and did not come with the Consumer Division purchase) and then used it to file a counter-suit at Commodore via Amiga. The suit was transferred to just Commodore after the Amiga purchase was finalized of course.


But is it true that RJ and co. were barred from working on the Amiga for several months during the lawsuit, or is that more of RJ's [and also Jay Miner too] colorful storytelling?


It was David Morse as stated, the president of Amiga. He tried to return it stating they couldn't get the chips to work (which was a lie of course). And as was discussed in the court testimony, the check (which was for the $500,000 plus interest) was refused as a)Atari didn't want the money back, b) There were no provisions for paying it back and his counterpart at Atari didn't even think he'd be authorized to take the check, c) They even offered Amiga more time to get the bugs out of the chips if the needed it. Dave refused.



How do executives get away with that? Shouldn't Warner/NATCO/Trammel/Atari Corp. have sued David Morse directly? That's basically a corporate crime.

Someone's gotta get those settlement papers leaked. Both corporate entities are "dead" so why isn't anyone coming forward with the deets?

#73 AtariDude OFFLINE  

AtariDude

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Posted Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:40 AM

I was wondering about that. Maybe it is like in Russia. If the details come out about the settlement was, the families involved will be hurt. So no one is risking disclose out of fear of endangering loved ones.

#74 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

Lynxpro

    Stargunner

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Posted Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:06 AM

I was wondering about that. Maybe it is like in Russia. If the details come out about the settlement was, the families involved will be hurt. So no one is risking disclose out of fear of endangering loved ones.



Irving the Ghoul Gould has been dead for several years. Jack Tramiel remains alive so long as he physically possesses the Swordquest sword of power.

So who exactly would be hurt if the settlement finally became public?

Edited by Lynxpro, Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:07 AM.


#75 AtariDude OFFLINE  

AtariDude

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Posted Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:35 AM

They melted the sword so Tramiel would no longer possess it. I think that no one involved really cares to speak on the subject of what the end settlement was. I assumed that Atari got some of money for Amiga Inc. being manipulative in using Atari's money to develop the chipset that Atari was never given the right to use.




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