January 14 1984January 14 1984
Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International, Ltd. resigned unexpectedly as Commodore International, Ltd. President and CEO.
One of the very few interviews made to Jack Tramiel in which he explained the reasons why he left Commodore.THE IDEA TAKES FORM
May 17 1984May 17 1984
Tramel Technology, Ltd. was founded by Jack Tramiel (previously –until January 13, 1984- Commodore International, Ltd. President and CEO), with Lee Schreiber, previously general counsel to Commodore International, «to design, manufacture, sell and service personal computers and related software and peripheral products.»
On May 17, the same day Tramel Technology, Ltd. was incorporated, several core east coast Commodore International’s engineers [lead engineer Shiraz Shijvi, together with Arthur Morgan, John Hoenig and Douglas Renn] departed for California to join Jack Tramiel. […] C64 Kernel developer John Feagans also departed.
Tramel Technology, Ltd. was founded by Jack Tramiel (previously –until January 13, 1984- Commodore International, Ltd. President and CEO), with…
May 1984May 1984
Ex-Commodore employees were brought together by Jack Tramiel to his company with the specific intention of designing, manufacturing, then somehow marketing a new, popular-priced computer.
In the middle of May, top managers began resigning from Commodore. At the end, 35 ex-Commodore employees joined Atari Corp.
This group of ex-Commodore employees included Sam Tramiel (Jack Tramiel’s elder son), Shiraz Shijvi, Tony Takai, John Feagans, Neil Harris, Ira Verlinsky, Lloyd “Red” Taylor, Bernie Witter, Sam Chin, Joe Spitery, David Carlone, Gregg Pratt, Arthur Morgan, John Heonig and Douglas Renn, among others.
Jack Tramiel’s son Leonard flew out to Silicon Valley in May to meet with his father, Shivji, and others to discuss the new machine.
Tramel Technology rented a room at an apartment complex in Sunnyvale, and the core group of Tramiel recruits began to plan their new machine.
Jack Tramiel visited Amiga during this period, although negotiations didn’t get very far.
During an interview with Leonard Tramiel for Compute! Magazine in January ‘85: He did seem to indicate that his personal choice for a CPU might be the National Semiconductor 32016 and 32032 processors.
Originally, the ST was intended to be a true 32-bit machine. In words of Shiraz Shivji: At least three CPU chip sets were under consideration, and the design engineers were still not sold on the Motorola 68000 […] We were hot on the 32016 and 32032. We had a bunch of meetings with National Semiconductor regarding the availability of the chip, and when it was obvious that we could not have the number of chips that we wanted and the pricing was not right, then the decision was made to go with the 68000.
They call the new 16-bit computer RBP (Rock Bottom Price).
Shiraz Shivji: “There was going to be a windowing system, it was going to have bitmapped graphics, we knew roughly speaking what the [screen] resolutions were going to be, and so on. All those parameters were decided before the takeover. The idea was an advanced computer, 16/32-bit, good graphics, good sound, MIDI, the whole thing. A fun computer — but with the latest software technology.”
Discussions started with Digital Research to implement a windowing system in the new 16-bit computer. In those meetings at DRI’s headquarters in Monterey, they showed ‘Crystal’ (still wasn’t called GEM at that time) working on an Apple Lisa running on top of CP/M-68K. In words of John Feagans: It was all smoke and mirrors. There was hardly anything of use in that demo, because they had devoted their entire programming effort to putting it on the IBM PC.
Since Crystal was already trademarked, the [Digital Research] project [initially planned exclusively to design a graphical operating environment for use with the DOS operating system on Intel 8088] was renamed Gem.
Ex-Commodore employees were brought together by Jack Tramiel to his company with the specific intention of designing, manufacturing, then somehow…
January 14 1984May 17 1984May 1984