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Inventor of the Commodore 64 passes away

Tramiel's company released the Commodore 64 in 1982, which went on to become one of the best-selling PCs ever, with sales exceeding 20 million units

Jack Tramiel died at the age of 83.
Jack Tramiel died at the age of 83.

Jack Tramiel, the father of the Commodore 64, passed away this Sunday at the age of 83. Tramiel was instrumental in creating and shaping the home-gaming industry in the 1980s.

Tramiel immigrated to the US in 1945, after being rescued from a Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.  He started work maintaining typewriters for the US army, however his entrepreneurial spirit drove him to move to Toronto in 1955 and start his own typewriter company, Commodore Business machines International. The company's base eventually shifted to Silicon Valley, California in the 1960s, where Commodore began producing calculators and eventually started manufacturing computers.

Tramiel's company first started selling the precursors to the Commodore 64 in 1977. This was the year that PET was released, followed by VIC-20 in 1980. However sales were abysmal and adoption poor. Little did he know that in 1982 with the arrival of the Commodore 64, this would all change. The Commodore 64 went on to become one of the most popular PCs ever built, and sold well over 20 million units. Its price tag of $595 attracted the tech savvy at first, and eventually the rest of the world.

Commodore's shareholders eventually removed Tramiel from his post of CEO of in 1984. Following this, he went on to buy the remainder of Atari's stock from Warner Communication after the home gaming market crash of 1984.  

Tramiel's influence on the home gaming and PC market was sensational. He was one of the pioneers and visionaries of the age of gaming, and we thank him for the C64, without which we may not have been able to enjoy the games we do today.