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Size of Atari Corp at their peak?


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#1 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:11 PM

The title says it all ... how big did Atari Corp get at their peak in terms of headcount? 

I remember reading in 1987 they had about 1000 employees worldwide? Did they ever get bigger than this? 

By the time the Jaguar came out, they'd shrunk to a little over a 130, IIRC and were half that by the end of 1995. 



#2 pacman000 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:16 PM

They bought Federated in 1987, but I don't know if the two companies merged, or if Atari simply owned controlling interest in Federated's stock.

I suppose, if Atari and Federated merged, Atari had more than 1000 employees in 1988, but that's only a guess.

#3 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:46 AM

According to the FAQ, the Tramiels took over on July 2, 1984, and actually hired 300 former employees at that time. The bloodletting began about three weeks later. So it seems likely that Atari Corp. had a maximum workforce at that time.

#4 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:18 AM

Found this. At least in 1987, they are around 1,000 worldwide

 

http://www.atarimani...Vol_5_No_11.pdf



#5 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:57 AM

Historical research is always fun. :)

From the FAQ: Atari fired 700 people in two weeks (up to July 26, 1984) (according to Business Week).
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#6 Trebor OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:01 PM

The title says it all ... how big did Atari Corp get at their peak in terms of headcount? 
I remember reading in 1987 they had about 1000 employees worldwide? Did they ever get bigger than this? 
By the time the Jaguar came out, they'd shrunk to a little over a 130, IIRC and were half that by the end of 1995. 

 
This Site:
 
These References:
Spoiler
 
The Statements:
"Atari announced in February 1983, that it would fire 1,700 U.S. workers in order to move manufacturing facilities to Hong Kong and Taiwan. This move set off a wave of protest. In the financial community, it was taken as the sign of a company adrift, since Atari had hired 2,500 new U.S. workers just the year before in a campaign to build up its domestic production capacity, only to undo itself a short time later."
 
"To stem Atari's losses, Warner brought in a new head executive who fired more than half the company's 10,000 employees."
 
"The company's U.S. staff had shrunk to 150, and in May 1985, executives agreed to have one-third of their salaries withheld indefinitely."


#7 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:11 AM

 

 
 
 
The Statements:
"Atari announced in February 1983, that it would fire 1,700 U.S. workers in order to move manufacturing facilities to Hong Kong and Taiwan. This move set off a wave of protest. In the financial community, it was taken as the sign of a company adrift, since Atari had hired 2,500 new U.S. workers just the year before in a campaign to build up its domestic production capacity, only to undo itself a short time later."
 
"To stem Atari's losses, Warner brought in a new head executive who fired more than half the company's 10,000 employees."
 
"The company's U.S. staff had shrunk to 150, and in May 1985, executives agreed to have one-third of their salaries withheld indefinitely."

 

 

What you quoted was about Atari Inc, not Jack Tramiel's Trammel Technology LTD which was renamed Atari Corp.



#8 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:31 AM

They hired around 95 employees, not 300.   I have a hiring sheet, several names have ?'s and circles and I have a few internal emails of people resigning a few days to weeks after being hired.  So the number is difficult to nail down exactly but it is around 95.

 

Interestingly enough - 1265, Atari's HQ was owned by Warner as it was built and completed by Atari under Nolan just prior to Warner Comm purchasing Atari from Nolan...  1196 was a leased building used by Corporate Research and the trade show department.   Tramiel is seems did not take 1265 (or Warner did not offer as part of the sale) 1265 and after a short period, Tramiel took over the lease at 1196 and used it up until Atari closed and moved out of in in March of 96'.   What interesting to note is the two warehouses - 360 and 390 Carribean were acquired by Tramiel.   I have to do further checking on whether they were purchased of Tramiel continued the lease...

 

 

According to the FAQ, the Tramiels took over on July 2, 1984, and actually hired 300 former employees at that time. The bloodletting began about three weeks later. So it seems likely that Atari Corp. had a maximum workforce at that time.



#9 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:35 AM

When Atari was sold, total employees were at just under 1,000.   They were paid with Warner (not Atari checks) during the final days of Atari and its wrongly stated that Tramiel fired them, they weren't part of the sale package (which many employees in a class action suit sued Warner and Atari for, as they were promised jobs as part of a new corp restructuring plan called NATCO (New Atari Company) so they were Warner employees and when Jack bought the IP assets from Warner, his company was called TTL (Tramiel Technologies Limited) it wasn't until a few weeks later that TTL was renamed Atari Corp.

 

 

 

 

 
This Site:
 
These References:
Spoiler
 
The Statements:
"Atari announced in February 1983, that it would fire 1,700 U.S. workers in order to move manufacturing facilities to Hong Kong and Taiwan. This move set off a wave of protest. In the financial community, it was taken as the sign of a company adrift, since Atari had hired 2,500 new U.S. workers just the year before in a campaign to build up its domestic production capacity, only to undo itself a short time later."
 
"To stem Atari's losses, Warner brought in a new head executive who fired more than half the company's 10,000 employees."
 
"The company's U.S. staff had shrunk to 150, and in May 1985, executives agreed to have one-third of their salaries withheld indefinitely."

 



#10 Trebor OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:02 AM

They hired around 95 employees, not 300.   I have a hiring sheet, several names have ?'s and circles and I have a few internal emails of people resigning a few days to weeks after being hired.  So the number is difficult to nail down exactly but it is around 95.

 

Interestingly enough - 1265, Atari's HQ was owned by Warner as it was built and completed by Atari under Nolan just prior to Warner Comm purchasing Atari from Nolan...  1196 was a leased building used by Corporate Research and the trade show department.   Tramiel is seems did not take 1265 (or Warner did not offer as part of the sale) 1265 and after a short period, Tramiel took over the lease at 1196 and used it up until Atari closed and moved out of in in March of 96'.   What interesting to note is the two warehouses - 360 and 390 Carribean were acquired by Tramiel.   I have to do further checking on whether they were purchased of Tramiel continued the lease...

When Atari was sold, total employees were at just under 1,000.   They were paid with Warner (not Atari checks) during the final days of Atari and its wrongly stated that Tramiel fired them, they weren't part of the sale package (which many employees in a class action suit sued Warner and Atari for, as they were promised jobs as part of a new corp restructuring plan called NATCO (New Atari Company) so they were Warner employees and when Jack bought the IP assets from Warner, his company was called TTL (Tramiel Technologies Limited) it wasn't until a few weeks later that TTL was renamed Atari Corp.

 

Cool.  Thanks for the correction and clarity to the referenced material.  With all that knowledge you should release a book (or two).  ;)  :)



#11 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:52 PM

These References:

Spoiler

 

I don't think that anyone would argue that published media accounts (even those in specialized/trade publications) are an entirely accurate source, however, they are very often the ONLY source that is available -- original corporate records having been lost, destroyed, or otherwise not held in a publicly accessible repository.  Published accounts may constitute the best available evidence. 



#12 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:09 PM

 

I don't think that anyone would argue that published media accounts (even those in specialized/trade publications) are an entirely accurate source, however, they are very often the ONLY source that is available -- original corporate records having been lost, destroyed, or otherwise not held in a publicly accessible repository.  Published accounts may constitute the best available evidence. 

 

Oh yeah. This is true. 

 

I still cringe at that cheap didn't sell article in Forbes. The one that put the perpetual myth out there  that Jack saw the sudden success of the NES and then quickly dusted off a machine with 2 years older tech to compete against the hot new, state of the art, latest tech NES ...

 

Yes. Sure. Except that the NES was out in Japan in 1983. When MARIA was still in development. And that the NES was still in test markets when the nation-wide 7800 was announced at CES that year. 

 

But that myth prevails ...



#13 empsolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:25 PM

 

Oh yeah. This is true. 

 

I still cringe at that cheap didn't sell article in Forbes. The one that put the perpetual myth out there  that Jack saw the sudden success of the NES and then quickly dusted off a machine with 2 years older tech to compete against the hot new, state of the art, latest tech NES ...

 

Yes. Sure. Except that the NES was out in Japan in 1983. When MARIA was still in development. And that the NES was still in test markets when the nation-wide 7800 was announced at CES that year. 

 

But that myth prevails ...

 

The myth prevails because a test marketed system ended up selling over 1 million units over a console bearing the Atari brand name.


Edited by empsolo, Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:25 PM.


#14 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:30 PM

 

The myth prevails because a test marketed system ended up selling over 1 million units over a console bearing the Atari brand name.

 

Yes - obviously the NES sold better. But history has twisted this and then people repeat the myth. The reality is different. 

 

It's like the same crap people spew about the Tramiels turning down the NES or declaring they had no interest in video games until suddenly they saw the NES. 

 

The myth is exciting and makes for a good tall tail. But it isn't accurate.

 

Also - where did you get your figure? I got that they sold 1.1 in 1986 total.

 

http://thenespage.co...arket-consoles/


Edited by DracIsBack, Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:32 PM.


#15 empsolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:09 PM

 
Yes - obviously the NES sold better. But history has twisted this and then people repeat the myth. The reality is different. 
 
It's like the same crap people spew about the Tramiels turning down the NES or declaring they had no interest in video games until suddenly they saw the NES. 
 
The myth is exciting and makes for a good tall tail. But it isn't accurate.
 
Also - where did you get your figure? I got that they sold 1.1 in 1986 total.
 
http://thenespage.co...arket-consoles/


That’s what I was referring too. 1.1 million consoles sold in 1986.


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#16 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:47 PM

That’s what I was referring too. 1.1 million consoles sold in 1986.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Yeah. I see. I think they were nationwide fully the second half of 1986 and through Christmas.

 

The 7800 only did about a quarter million its first year.

 

https://www.gamasutr..._1986__1990.php



#17 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:00 AM

 

Oh yeah. This is true. 

 

I still cringe at that cheap didn't sell article in Forbes. The one that put the perpetual myth out there  that Jack saw the sudden success of the NES and then quickly dusted off a machine with 2 years older tech to compete against the hot new, state of the art, latest tech NES ...

 

Yes. Sure. Except that the NES was out in Japan in 1983. When MARIA was still in development. And that the NES was still in test markets when the nation-wide 7800 was announced at CES that year. 

 

But that myth prevails ...

 

Re-announced. Remember, Atari Inc debuted the 7800 at CES back in 1984. And there was a successful test market back then. The console was originally slated for release for Christmas 1984. Warner breaking up Atari Inc and selling it in pieces complicated the whole deal. Tramiel still wanted to release it for Christmas 1984 but GCC kicked up their heels over dropping the MSRP from $129.99 to $59.99, plus, they wanted to be paid considerably more by Warner instead of being paid by Tramiel. Tramiel wanted Warner to pay GCC. The end result, in my humble opinion, is GCC f***ed it all up. The 7800 didn't become the success it could have - and c-blocked the NES in the process - and consequently, GCC didn't end up earning the royalties they could have all because of their short-term greed. That analysis also assumes good faith on the part of Jack Tramiel and TTL/Atari Corp though.  :)



#18 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:05 AM

 

Re-announced. Remember, Atari Inc debuted the 7800 at CES back in 1984. And there was a successful test market back then. The console was originally slated for release for Christmas 1984. Warner breaking up Atari Inc and selling it in pieces complicated the whole deal. Tramiel still wanted to release it for Christmas 1984 but GCC kicked up their heels over dropping the MSRP from $129.99 to $59.99, plus, they wanted to be paid considerably more by Warner instead of being paid by Tramiel. Tramiel wanted Warner to pay GCC. The end result, in my humble opinion, is GCC f***ed it all up. The 7800 didn't become the success it could have - and c-blocked the NES in the process - and consequently, GCC didn't end up earning the royalties they could have all because of their short-term greed. That analysis also assumes good faith on the part of Jack Tramiel and TTL/Atari Corp though.  :)

 

I don't agree. Put yourselves in GCCs shoes. You've arranged a deal with Warner to make a system, supply games, supply parts and sell it at a certain price for your troubles. Then your partner goes to hell and breaks apart the company, selling off pieces. Now you've got a new owner and he wants to pay you a fraction of what you previously negotiated. Of course you'd balk at this idea. 

And honestly, I still don't believe that Atari just releasing the 7800 nationwide early would have solved the problem. Not with retailers hating video games, seeing Atari as the devil, and a line-up of same-old same old games at launch. Nintendo did a lot of work to massage the retail channel, change the type of games offered and promote the NES as something different. They should get credit for that. 



#19 pacman000 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 1, 2018 8:24 AM

GCC did better than Atari in the long run; a few years ago they were still around, making printers.

#20 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 1, 2018 10:13 PM

 

I don't agree. Put yourselves in GCCs shoes. You've arranged a deal with Warner to make a system, supply games, supply parts and sell it at a certain price for your troubles. Then your partner goes to hell and breaks apart the company, selling off pieces. Now you've got a new owner and he wants to pay you a fraction of what you previously negotiated. Of course you'd balk at this idea. 

And honestly, I still don't believe that Atari just releasing the 7800 nationwide early would have solved the problem. Not with retailers hating video games, seeing Atari as the devil, and a line-up of same-old same old games at launch. Nintendo did a lot of work to massage the retail channel, change the type of games offered and promote the NES as something different. They should get credit for that. 

 

The retailers wanted the 7800 for Christmas 1984. It tested favorably. The retailers were outright hostile to Nintendo in 1985 because the retailers didn't want to carry a new console that wasn't backwards compatible with the 2600 because they wanted the possibility of unloading a bunch of their various 2600 cartridges they were stuck with. 

 

As for GCC, they really got what they deserved. After all, they claimed they couldn't fit the POKEY onto the 7800 motherboard so they could coax Warner into buying their GUMBY chip for every single future cartridge produced. 

 

 

What should've happened - assuming Warner still sold Atari Inc's Consumer Division assets to Jack Tramiel - is that Atari Games [which was Atari Inc] should've convinced Warner to give them the 7800 and arranged to use the "Atari" name for the 7800 and then released it themselves. No future Tengen BS, pure "Atari". They should've also convinced Warner to go after Commodore over the Amiga and transfer the tech to them for the same reason.


Edited by Lynxpro, Thu Feb 1, 2018 10:15 PM.


#21 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 5, 2018 7:33 AM

 

The retailers wanted the 7800 for Christmas 1984. It tested favorably. The retailers were outright hostile to Nintendo in 1985 because the retailers didn't want to carry a new console that wasn't backwards compatible with the 2600 because they wanted the possibility of unloading a bunch of their various 2600 cartridges they were stuck with. 

 

As for GCC, they really got what they deserved. After all, they claimed they couldn't fit the POKEY onto the 7800 motherboard so they could coax Warner into buying their GUMBY chip for every single future cartridge produced. 

 

 

What should've happened - assuming Warner still sold Atari Inc's Consumer Division assets to Jack Tramiel - is that Atari Games [which was Atari Inc] should've convinced Warner to give them the 7800 and arranged to use the "Atari" name for the 7800 and then released it themselves. No future Tengen BS, pure "Atari". They should've also convinced Warner to go after Commodore over the Amiga and transfer the tech to them for the same reason.

 

On the retailers,  I still don't agree. As you note, Nintendo was met with hostility. And a lot of it was because video games had burned a lot of retailers, who weren't really interested them at all. Plenty of books have covered this. I'm not convinced that a console released by Atari (the prime offender in the crash) would have received a warm welcome, huge distribution, retail support etc, but a retail market already burned. Not with the same types of games as before.

The shoulda woulda coulda is fun. Yay for 20-20 hindsight and armchair strategist syndrome.

There's a reason why the NES wasn't called "video game", the cartridges were called "entertainment packs", the deck looked like a VCR and it came with a robot. It was to distance itself from Atari. 

On POKEY, do you have a source for GCC claiming they couldn't put a POKEY in the 7800 because they wanted to sell GUMBY chips or is this speculation? It certainly seems plausible. 



#22 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 6, 2018 1:26 PM

On POKEY, do you have a source for GCC claiming they couldn't put a POKEY in the 7800 because they wanted to sell GUMBY chips or is this speculation? It certainly seems plausible. 

 

I remember the parts of GCC claiming they didn't have space for a pokey on the 7800 due to them including the TIA for BC, and that they were planning on making gumby chips. Of course, no sane corporation would outright say they were doing thing A to make profit selling thing B.

 

However if we were to assume GCC worked the way a typical American company likes to operate, I would definitely believe they chose against adding a POKEY so they could sell GUMBYs. To think they can't fit a pokey on their own PCB is a bit of a joke unless Warner came down from up high and declared "thou shall not exceed these dimensions.".  Either they could do an extra week or so of design work to make sure it would fit - and not gain anything for their time - or they could finish the job early and tell Warner they can buy some sound chips by the thousand later on. (For the lulz, you could say this is the first example of modern "dlc" in hardware form. ;) - release something incomplete/early so you can sell the rest of it separately.)


Edited by Mord, Tue Feb 6, 2018 1:26 PM.


#23 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 8, 2018 11:57 AM

 

I remember the parts of GCC claiming they didn't have space for a pokey on the 7800 due to them including the TIA for BC, and that they were planning on making gumby chips. Of course, no sane corporation would outright say they were doing thing A to make profit selling thing B.

 

Where? 

Not saying it isn't true, but I'd like to read it if I can.  We're also assuming that GCC was building GUMBY chips to sell to Atari vs. being paid a lump sum to design a chip that Atari could build cheaper than POKEY. 

 

I also wonder if Warner trying to keep the costs down on the base system may have played at least part of it?



#24 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:56 PM

The source I had (Probably still do somewhere.) was of an audio speech of one of the guys from GCC telling events from their side of the story at a con or event of some kind. (So it's kind of bias/incorrect in some areas.)

 

I'd assume the mp3 of it is here somewhere on atariage, as I'm sure that's where I picked it up.



#25 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:25 PM

One quick search on atari age and I find it here. (Well, albert's post from 2004 linking it.)

 

The parts about the soundchip design is at about 51:45 into the mp3.






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