Jack Tramiel, Father Of Commodore 64, Dies

Apr 9, 2012
Originally published on April 10, 2012 4:35 am

Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore International, whose iconic Commodore 64 was one of the best-selling computers of all time, has died. He was 83.

Forbes reports that Tramiel was born in Poland in 1928 to a Jewish family and sent to Auschwitz during World War II. He and father were then sent to the Ahlem labor camp near Hanover. He was rescued in 1945 and came to the U.S. two years later. It was then that he started Commodore as a typewriter business.

"Staying in the forefront of technology, his typewriters morphed into calculators, and later computers," Forbes said.

In 1982, Commodore International launched the Commodore 64, which by some accounts is the best-selling personal computer of all time. After he was forced to leave the company, he rebuilt Atari Corp. in 1984, transforming it from a maker of game consoles into a PC manufacturer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries," Martin Goldberg, a writer working on a book about the Atari brand and the early days of video games and computing with Atari Museum founder Curt Vendel, told Forbes. "A name once uttered in the same vein as Steve Jobs is [mentioned] today; his journey from concentration camp survivor to captain of industry is the stuff of legends."

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