Carissimi, dear all, ciao...
Well, to be honest, at least in Italy, back to the '80s, the TI-99 was never boosted by Texas Instruments itself.
And this is funny, because they have had many hardware factories in the country: Città Ducale, Avezzano, Aversa.
At the age all my friends and schoolmate used to have a Commodore or Sinclair Spectrum.
Only me with the TI-99 and another guy with the Sharp MZ-700... Ah... and, of course, the richest one with an original IBM PC.
Beside that, as there was not much software available, and the only luxury peripherals available were an external 32K RAM and an external PIO (thank you to Essemmeci), that stimulated my creativity to write software for the TI-99.
The best learning model was to type the listings from papers and magazines... kilometers and kilometers of code to learn BASIC programming... and it works and it worth on my side...
In 1984 I saw at a computer shop in Rome (I forgot the name), close to the Quirinale capitol hill, my first PEB... but too expensive for my pocket...
However, at age 18, in 1986, I got the opportunity to buy one PEB from the US, but something inside me suggest to switch to a real computer, an IBM XT compatible machine: the Acer (MultiTech) Popular 500!!!
Wow, what a change... full graphics card, two 5.25 360k floppy disk drives.
And the switch to GW-BASIC was pretty quick from TI-BASIC, starting developing professional programs.
However in 1989 I came across a complete TI-99 system, included a PEB, pre-owned, like new, in my home city Trieste.
Different times, new opportunities, new incomes.
Today, at 53, the TI-99 love is back, trying to keep alive all memories.
Take care folks, God bless...