About the Book
Reliving the early years of an icon in the personal computer revolution turns out to be a fascinating and improbably hilarious journey. This gripping tale of ambition, greed, and inspired engineering gives readers a front row seat at the dawn of the personal computer. Engineers and managers relate their experiences through personal first-hand accounts, vividly recalling the most important moments of Commodore's entry into computers in 1976 until its demise in 1994. The Commodore years are tumultuous, owing to their volatile founder, Jack Tramiel. He pushes his team to extreme limits, demanding that they almost kill themselves to meet his lofty expectations. Against all odds, his engineers deliver more color, more character, and more value than either Apple or IBM. While other companies receive more press, Commodore sells more computers. They cut a path of destruction through the competition, knocking out Sinclair, Tandy, Texas Instruments, and Atari and almost mortally wounding Apple. Unfortunately, Tramiel's cut throat tactics also prove to be his undoing. He uses up his managers and employees like disposable ink cartridges, producing the highest employee turnover rate in the industry.
Cast of characters
Jack Tramiel - The pugnacious, volatile founder of Commodore computers. Once described as the scariest man alive.
Irving Gould - The financier who rescued Commodore from ruin in the late 1960's. As the Chairman of Commodore and largest shareholder, he was often his own worst enemy.
Chuck Peddle - Uncompromising inventor of the legendary6502 microprocessor, used in computers and video game systems by Commodore, Apple, Atari, and Nintendo. Designer of Commodore's first computer, the PET. His relationship with Jack Tramiel eventually soured with disastrous consequences.
Robert Yannes - Frustrated musician and synthesizer aficionado. Designed theCommodore 64 and its famous sound chip, the SID.
Al Charpentier - Chain smoking computer graphics pioneer and architect of theVIC and VIC-II chips.
Thomas Rattigan - One time President and CEO of Commodore computers who saved the company from bankruptcy, only to collide with financier Irving Gould. Forcibly removed by security guards on his harrowing final day with Commodore.
Bil Herd - AKA "The Animal", he designed the ill-fated Plus/4computer and later went on to design the Commodore 128. Known to punch through walls and wrestle executives in the hallways.
Jay Miner - Brilliant ex-Atari engineer responsible for the Atari 800 computer. Co-designer of the Atari 2600. Inventor of the ground breaking Amiga computer for Commodore. All his projects were co-designed by his faithful dog and official Commodore employee, Mitchy.
George Robbins - Designer of the low cost Amiga 500 computer. Lived a bohemian lifestyle at Commodore headquarters, sleeping under desks and tables as the cleaning staff made their nightly rounds.
Dave Haynie - Carried on the Amiga legacy by developing the Amiga 2000. Stayed with Commodore until the bitter end.
And many more...
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