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Quick Sam Tramiel anecdote

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A vendor was at my office recently. I have small posters of several classic computers adorning my walls, among them an Atari 400 and an Atari 1040ST. This vendor looked at the ST and recalled the following story from his very first sales meeting.

 

He was in Sunnyvale, trying to sell disk drives to Atari (hard drives, I believe). At one point in the meeting with top Atari brass, Sam Tramiel took off his shoe and started banging it on the table, yelling, "the price has to come down! The price has to come down!"

 

Now, I've been to a lot of meetings, but I can't imagine seeing a top officer whip off his footwear and use it to bludgeon a presumably-innocent conference table. Sam must have been an, um, interesting man.

 

That's all I've got. Just thought I'd share.

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Didn't Nikita Kruschev do that, too, during his last visit to the US? Wow, so good ol' Sam was emulating one of Communism's most prominent leaders. Real classy there.

 

Interesting is too lenient of a word. The Tramiels are THE most hated men in the history of the gaming and computing industry, especially by the old time Atari fans who still to this day believe they destroyed Atari from the inside out.

 

Someone should go to Jack's house and TAKE those prizes from the SwordQuest games and put them into a museum. He doesn't deserve them in any form or fashion.

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The Tramiels are THE most hated men in the history of the gaming and computing industry, especially by the old time Atari fans who still to this day believe they destroyed Atari from the inside out.

 

Get over it. These days, it's all about hating on Bobby Kotick.

Edited by CRV
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On the other hand one could argue that Atari would have died an honourable death in 1984 if it hadn't been for the Tramiels. The ST, the 7800, the jaguar would never have seen the light of day. One can say that this wouldn't be a bad thing but this is how history played out.

At least he didn't throw the shoe at the person and start a new fashion.

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On the other hand one could argue that Atari would have died an honourable death in 1984 if it hadn't been for the Tramiels. The ST, the 7800, the jaguar would never have seen the light of day. One can say that this wouldn't be a bad thing but this is how history played out.

 

It's human to be an armchair CEO.

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On the other hand one could argue that Atari would have died an honourable death in 1984 if it hadn't been for the Tramiels. The ST, the 7800, the jaguar would never have seen the light of day. One can say that this wouldn't be a bad thing but this is how history played out.

At least he didn't throw the shoe at the person and start a new fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

Not quite so, I remember seeing stories on the internet that the last warners chair/ceo (james morgan) had started turning things round....And at least Atari would't have lost the Amiga to one of our compeitiors (and probably would have been better marketed, if it had been Atari...under warners)

 

As for the OP, I think Sam was trying to take after his old man, since there's numerous stories concerning Tramiel Snr that he used to thump his fist on the table in order to make a point

Edited by carmel_andrews

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Not quite so, I remember seeing stories on the internet that the last warners chair/ceo (james morgan) had started turning things round....And at least Atari would't have lost the Amiga to one of our compeitiors (and probably would have been better marketed, if it had been Atari...under warners)

 

As for the OP, I think Sam was trying to take after his old man, since there's numerous stories concerning Tramiel Snr that he used to thump his fist on the table in order to make a point

 

Yeah, stories are a dime a dozen as you should know. Also you have no idea what the amiga would have happened. They might as well have killed the project and not release anything.

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Not quite so, I remember seeing stories on the internet that the last warners chair/ceo (james morgan) had started turning things round....And at least Atari would't have lost the Amiga to one of our compeitiors (and probably would have been better marketed, if it had been Atari...under warners)

 

Yes quite so. Morgan may have been able to "turn things around", he was a very experienced businessman. BUT getting new products out costs money, lots of money and Warner was not at all interested in putting more money into Atari, had they been willing to keep funding Atari they would of coursen not have sold of the company (or parts thereof at least) to Tramiel.

Also I really find it annoying reading about all this pissing and moaning about how the Tramiels are universally hated by Atarifans and how they destroyed the company by firing all the great people there. Bullshit, all Atarifans who isn't into drinking the kool-aid know very well that hadn't it been for Jack Tramiel buying Atari in 1984, reorganizing and sliming the company down it would have been over for the consumer division right there and then.

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Most of the great engineers and programmers were gone years before Jack came along.

 

If not for the earlier bastardry, companies like Activision and Imagic would never have been established.

 

Practically nothing of note hardware-wise was developed and released after the 400/800 by Atari under Warner. All of it was based on existing products and the hard work had already been done.

 

Not to take anything away from the XL series, but the advances over the 400/800 could have been just as easily engineered by a homebrew hacker. And, the 5200 in essence was just a cut down cheapened version of the 400.

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The Tramiels are THE most hated men in the history of the gaming and computing industry, especially by the old time Atari fans who still to this day believe they destroyed Atari from the inside out.

 

Get over it. These days, it's all about hating on Bobby Kotick.

 

Yeah, baby :D

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Not quite so, I remember seeing stories on the internet that the last warners chair/ceo (james morgan) had started turning things round....And at least Atari would't have lost the Amiga to one of our compeitiors (and probably would have been better marketed, if it had been Atari...under warners)

 

Yes quite so. Morgan may have been able to "turn things around", he was a very experienced businessman. BUT getting new products out costs money, lots of money and Warner was not at all interested in putting more money into Atari, had they been willing to keep funding Atari they would of coursen not have sold of the company (or parts thereof at least) to Tramiel.

Also I really find it annoying reading about all this pissing and moaning about how the Tramiels are universally hated by Atarifans and how they destroyed the company by firing all the great people there. Bullshit, all Atarifans who isn't into drinking the kool-aid know very well that hadn't it been for Jack Tramiel buying Atari in 1984, reorganizing and sliming the company down it would have been over for the consumer division right there and then.

 

 

 

 

Well, if it were'nt going to the tramiels, it probably would have gone to commodore, since i recall stories that suggested that commodore were interested in some aspects of Atari

 

Commodore probably would have merged the computer and r&d divisions with it's own and flogged off all the excess crap (i.e buildings and projects that were not anywhere near ready)

 

You probably would have seen an R E version of the A8's chip set in some future c64 (the A8 would probably have been discontinued), the only part of Atari they would have kept going is probably the home gaming division (i.e the 2600/7800 etc)

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If you watch the news now days, they don't waste their time banging shoes on tables, they throw them. :D

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Most of the great engineers and programmers were gone years before Jack came along.

 

If not for the earlier bastardry, companies like Activision and Imagic would never have been established.

 

Practically nothing of note hardware-wise was developed and released after the 400/800 by Atari under Warner. All of it was based on existing products and the hard work had already been done.

 

Not to take anything away from the XL series, but the advances over the 400/800 could have been just as easily engineered by a homebrew hacker. And, the 5200 in essence was just a cut down cheapened version of the 400.

 

 

You obviously never saw any of the more interesting products being developed in the Atari Labs division, then. Thought controlled video games? Yowzers!

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The Tramiels are THE most hated men in the history of the gaming and computing industry, especially by the old time Atari fans who still to this day believe they destroyed Atari from the inside out.

 

Get over it. These days, it's all about hating on Bobby Kotick.

 

I can remember when hating on Trip Hawkins was the thing. Does that make me old? Sigh. :sad:

Edited by OldAtarian

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Practically nothing of note hardware-wise was developed and released after the 400/800 by Atari under Warner. All of it was based on existing products and the hard work had already been done.

 

 

You obviously never saw any of the more interesting products being developed in the Atari Labs division, then. Thought controlled video games? Yowzers!

 

Why do you think I used bold in that sentence? Something sitting on an engineer's shelf is worthless until people can actually buy and use it.

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All I know is that I'm going to try that bargaining technique, myself. I don't care whether it's looking at a car for sale, or something on this marketplace. I'm going to remove my shoe and bang it on the table as I chant, "The price has got to come down. The price has got to come down."

 

Success will be reported on; the opposite will be assumed to have taken place.

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All I know is that I'm going to try that bargaining technique, myself. I don't care whether it's looking at a car for sale, or something on this marketplace. I'm going to remove my shoe and bang it on the table as I chant, "The price has got to come down. The price has got to come down."

 

Success will be reported on; the opposite will be assumed to have taken place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't they call that 'being a cheapskate', you don't want to end up looking like a JT or ST now do you

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All I know is that I'm going to try that bargaining technique, myself. I don't care whether it's looking at a car for sale, or something on this marketplace. I'm going to remove my shoe and bang it on the table as I chant, "The price has got to come down. The price has got to come down."

 

Success will be reported on; the opposite will be assumed to have taken place.

 

We'll all be watching our televisions for news of your arrest. Man bangs shoe on checkout counter at WalMart. Film at 11. :D

Edited by OldAtarian

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Speaking of 'dealing with the tramiels',.....

 

Way back in my first sales job (a publishers in north london) while i was working on their Euro '96 publication (Euro '96 was the European Football championchips that were being held in England that year) , i think it was either just before or just after that Christmas and the manager there (at the publishers) asked me to Pitch Atari, thing is Atari UK/Europe had already blown me out, I didn't tell the manager this but I said that Atari had been 'reorganised' and everything was being run fronm the US (which was a lie ofcourse)

 

So he said, OK pitch Atari US but i only want you pitching one of the Tramiels...i thought...OKies, time to earn me stripes, so I got calling, first time he wasn't there, second time I was asked to leave a message, next day I got a message back asking me to call Gary Tramiel, who i recall headed up Atari's financial setup, I did eventually get through...don't remember much of the conversation or pitch but it did last about 10 minutes

Edited by carmel_andrews

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Speaking of 'dealing with the tramiels',.....

 

So he said, OK pitch Atari US but i only want you pitching one of the Tramiels...i thought...OKies, time to earn me stripes, so I got calling, first time he wasn't there, second time I was asked to leave a message, next day I got a message back asking me to call Gary Tramiel, who i recall headed up Atari's financial setup, I did eventually get through...don't remember much of the conversation or pitch but it did last about 10 minutes

 

Sounds like you dodged the bullet on that one, it would have horrible if he would have started banging the phone receiver on the desk shouting "Distribution and marketing fee's have to come down!!!" ;)

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Ultimately what made the PC become dominant is that it provided a real tangible benefit to the end user, through the use of standards. I switched from 8-bit to the pc early on (thank god I skipped the 16-bit fracas) for the plain and simple reason of wanting a simple and easy and future-proof way of doing a certain task. The no other machine would allow me to do so.

 

With the 8 bits it was constantly upgrading or waiting or doing work-arounds. The 16-bits were more or less the same, a continuation of the 8-bit frustration.

 

I consider the 8/16 bit era a time of experimentation, almost by default none of these machines could correctly evolve into what we need today.

 

But actually, it's more about the software these days than the hardware. And a SOFTWARE STANDARD at that. The hardware needs to conform to the software standard. It also needs to be transparent. As long as my apps and data are usable and accessible then I'm good to go. The PC hardware standard, no matter how good or bad it is, is exactly that! A standard! I wanted to be able to take my work with me wherever I go. And 8-bit machines didn't allow me to do that; back then, or now.

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Someone should go to Jack's house and TAKE those prizes from the SwordQuest games and put them into a museum. He doesn't deserve them in any form or fashion.

 

Doesn't have them, that's complete hearsay. As Leonard told me, his father never had them on a mantle and they never saw them during the July evaluation. Most likely they walked off with someone during the pilfering of all the buildings that weren't locked down, or they stayed with Warner and wound up with someone there. Swordquest was another one of those Warner deals (like the 7800 and Amiga project) that stayed with them, as it was coordinated by them with their three subsidiaries - Atari, Franklin Mint, DC Comics.

 

 

 

Also I really find it annoying reading about all this pissing and moaning about how the Tramiels are universally hated by Atarifans and how they destroyed the company by firing all the great people there. Bullshit, all Atarifans who isn't into drinking the kool-aid know very well that hadn't it been for Jack Tramiel buying Atari in 1984, reorganizing and sliming the company down it would have been over for the consumer division right there and then.

 

Thumbs up on that.

 

 

Most of the great engineers and programmers were gone years before Jack came along.

 

No way. They had plenty of excellent engineers and programmers in the Corporate Research Labs and the Advanced Systems Group, doing a log of advanced work after the debacle of the 1200xl. That's what prompted Atari Inc. to move heavily in that direction. Curt's already covered a plethora of materials in development over the '82-'84 period across the board.

 

Practically nothing of note hardware-wise was developed and released after the 400/800 by Atari under Warner. All of it was based on existing products and the hard work had already been done.

 

Developed, I would disagree. Released, I would agree.

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Ultimately what made the PC become dominant is that it provided a real tangible benefit to the end user, through the use of standards. I switched from 8-bit to the pc early on (thank god I skipped the 16-bit fracas) for the plain and simple reason of wanting a simple and easy and future-proof way of doing a certain task. The no other machine would allow me to do so.

 

I respect your experience and opinion, but mine are different. Early on, the PC was a real piece of crap - slow, expensive, and with terrible graphics and sound, compared to the 16-bit generation of home computers (Amiga, ST, others in other markets). It wasn't until EGA/VGA and the Adlib then Soundblaster board that it could best the 16-bit home computers. I had great fun with the 16-bit generation, and didn't jump ship until the PC surpassed at a lower price - and the 16-bit generation had pretty much run its course by then.

 

Ultimately, what made the PC dominant is its initial establishment in business and the desire to have a compatible machine at home, and the fact that new machines continually got cheaper/faster/better graphics/sound. These factors all contributed to it becoming a standard; it was not a standard at its inception, as standards take time.

 

With the 8 bits it was constantly upgrading or waiting or doing work-arounds. The 16-bits were more or less the same, a continuation of the 8-bit frustration.

Funny, I've felt the same as I went from 286, 386SX, 486, 486DX2, P1, P2, Athlon, etc...etc.. Changing from MFM to IDE to EIDE to Seral ATA, etc... No doubt, it's pretty good now, but it wasn't always so.....rather far from it.

 

I consider the 8/16 bit era a time of experimentation, almost by default none of these machines could correctly evolve into what we need today.

What we have today is pretty far from a model 5150. Try upgrading one of those to run Win7. ISA, Micro Channel, EISA, Vesa Local Bus, now PCI....a bit of experimentation going on there, too.

 

But actually, it's more about the software these days than the hardware. And a SOFTWARE STANDARD at that. The hardware needs to conform to the software standard. It also needs to be transparent. As long as my apps and data are usable and accessible then I'm good to go. The PC hardware standard, no matter how good or bad it is, is exactly that! A standard! I wanted to be able to take my work with me wherever I go. And 8-bit machines didn't allow me to do that; back then, or now.

 

Somewhat standard. Try running a game from years ago (say, Sega Rally for Windows 95) on a modern machine. If it even attempts to install with a later version of Windows, it will try to detect your version of DirectX and sometimes try to install an old version on your machine as it mistakenly detects what you have for being an old version. Hell, even installing a new version of Windows on your old machine sometimes includes sacrificing some of your favorite applications; this has been going on for some time. Fortunately, there's stuff like DOSbox, but that's emulation and not conforming to a standard. Fortunately 8-bit Atari emulation works too!

Edited by wood_jl

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Bullshit, all Atarifans who isn't into drinking the kool-aid know very well that hadn't it been for Jack Tramiel buying Atari in 1984, reorganizing and sliming the company down it would have been over for the consumer division right there and then.

 

Do we know that no one else would have bought the company? Certainly Atari was hit from two sides. First, Warner had no idea how much money they were spending and on what. As soon as things turned south, they started hemorrhaging...bad. Then, Atari was taken over by some of the most unscrupulous businessmen around at the time. It may have been the only way, but it sure wasn't ideal.

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