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Posted Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:45 pm

Sorry for intrusion :) but I just stumble on this data:

Commodore - Revenue vs Profit (Margin) per year ... ment-43536
btw looks like good site with lot of articles about Commodore company... I did not have time to look at sources but...

Quick look at data suggest that margin, after 1984. (Jack leave), fell 3-4 times !!!

My interpretation that happened exactly what Jack want to prevent: Irvin Gould spent Commodore money irrationally, on non-Commodore things. Jack Tramiel state* that this was the reason why he left Commodore and I would say that this numbers support this.
Please note that C64 keep selling for same price, in same pace (as in record 1984. year) until 1986. link so there is no reason, at quick look, for such free fall in profit.
Of course, we should look deeper in number to understand what really happened but I just want to give you a hint for site (I "discovered" only recently).

*Leonard Tramiel first told this at Commodore conference in Las Vegas after Jack death; Jack Tramiel said this in last interview for 8bit generation published on december 2016.

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Posted Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:54 pm

@intric8 regarding Mac: yes, mac have these nice details like Amiga 1000 had that special place for keyboard in case ;) I love that: attention to details!

There is so much things like this: when you delete text in textbox on Mac, you can see always last few characters left on cursor, on Windows will go far left to the textbox and you do not know what is character that you will delete next! (not sure if I manage do describe this correctly but I have a video :) but do not have time to put in on youtube. In mean time you can watch: explained core difference and values in 3 mintes! ;))

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:07 pm

Commodore - Revenue vs Profit (Margin) per year

btw looks like good site with lot of articles about Commodore company... I did not have time to look at sources but...
kovacm that is a very interesting article! Thanks for sharing. I will do a deeper dive into that for sure.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:12 pm


That sounds a lot like my experience with computers.

After Amiga I switched over to a Gateway 2000 486 SX-25 about 1993, when the handwriting for Commodore was already on the wall. It came with DOS 6.22 and WFW 3.11. I am a huge DOS fan because the era of early to late 90's had some beautiful games. When 256 color VGA was coming to the fore it was such an amazing quality. Never really had the smoothness of Amiga's scrolling and etc. but some titles did come close.

Around 1994 one of my close Amiga friends decided that Macintosh with System 7.5 was as close as he could get to Amiga joy so he bought the first PPC Mac, the Performa 6115CD flat old pizza box 60mhz PPC 601, which I rescued from his storage a few years back. I was very much into DOS games and BBSing by then. But then he showed me the BBS situation on the Mac in our area and they were using First Class System and Client which contained very graphically rich interfaces and icons and I was sold. He actually told me about the newly released PowerMac 7200/75 in 1995 that got hugely discounted to $499 via MacZone after only being on the market for a very short time. It was a flop. But I jumped on that price and that was my first Mac. What a great machine I had so much fun with it that it helped me heal the gaping wound left by Commodore's mismanagement and extinction.

Since then I have used a 7500, 7600, 8600, Beige G3, B&W G3, iMacG3 Graphite, iMacG3 Flower Power that my wife picked, several G4's and a G5DP, not including all the intel MacBooks and MBPs. Along the way I did what you did and built myself many, many PCs. Pentium II, Pentium III, 4, Core, i7 etc. Unfortunately I learned not to get rid of my old machines so I still have them all with exception of a P4 that i don't care much about. Not retro enough for me. But yeah I have a PIII with a Voodoo3 card and a PIII with a Voodoo5 5500 card so I hold onto those for period games. My Mac collection I think is even more ridiculous then my Commodore stuff. LOL. My wife does call me a hoarder but there is something magical about all these machines. So I use them all from time to time. I am going to be parting ways with at least a few Mac's because I just don't need all of them.

One of my favorites is the lowly Mac LC III that I recently recapped. What a neat little Mac. Released in 1993 it has a 68030 in a tiny little flat pizza box type case. No CD just a 160MB HD and a 1.44MB Floppy. It has 36MB RAM and the cool thing is the entire computer is tool-less. No screws. Everything snaps into place, including HD, Floppy, Logic board, Power Supply, etc. It is great for running old software from the 68k era. Another Mac I dig is the Performa 640CD DOS Mac. It has a 68040 and a PC card with 486DX66. There is something to be said about pressing a button and switching over to DOS 6.22 to play a VGA game. LOL. My 8600/300 has one of them long PCI PC cards with a Pentium 166 or something like that and that is also a machine I like. I know OS X is leaps and bounds ahead of classic but there are still several features of classic Mac os 7 - 9 that i just love. If I had to choose only one OS to use I would pick classic and say goodbye to OSX. Really when you think about it AmigaDOS was still technologically more advanced then Mac OS was until OS X. Amiga had Pre-emptive multi-tasking while Mac had inferior cooperative multi-tasking and other differences that made Amiga a bit more advanced.

I agree with you, Apple has indeed lost there way. They may be the richest company in the world but they have lost their soul. They lost it before Steve died though, IMHO. I too am typing this from a 2015 MB Pro 15" that I got a sweet deal on right before the long over due 2016 models came out. They are severely behind the times in technology with their computers. It will never change though as iOS is clearly their focus now which is sad.

The Atari ST is not a computer I owned but I did have a single friend that had one. Most of my other friends had Amiga. The ST was not very popular in the SF Bay Area computer scene that I was a part of in the 80's and 90's. Mostly Commodore, Amiga, Mac and of course IBM but most of the IBMers were business users until the early 90's when VGA gaming took off and everything else became niche.

Well I went way off target and rambled on far too much. :oops: Maybe we should have a separate Mac thread someplace on here. :D

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Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Mon Feb 06, 2017 6:45 pm

Regarding Apple/Jobs: Those were some wonderfully touching thoughts on your experiences with Apple and your thoughts on Jobs. I can't imagine anyone could flame anyone for those thoughts. In terms of historical discussion, while you may not be interested in his character, it actually is somewhat worthy of discussion... Because some of that goes into the company...

I never looked at them as another Commodore. While their operating systems deserved credit for "working", they also got unfair credit in terms of it being so super secure, can't get a virus on an Apple! - ummm... no.... The people who would make a virus would be the kind of people who HAD to have a Windows machine. Two factors there; the people making them are not on your platform and the market share is so low they can't be bothered with you.

Case in point? - Guess who can still go online with DOS... With Windows 3.1, and with Windows98? This guy. I've told the following to countless, and their reaction is always of shock... I run absolutely NO virus protection on those machines. They think I'm crazy... I think they haven't been running Windows 98 as long as I have! I have not had to worry about a virus for Windows98 since 2005! - Because nobody is making a virus for Windows 9x machines anymore!

Apple always got unfair credit when it came to that type of stuff... Once in awhile they'd piss off the hackers though and they indeed would lob something their way. But yes, the core operating system was always good. The core of NT was pretty good, still, NT mean anything until Microsoft forced it down everyone's throats. That was a very long and hard thing for them to do, going from DOS to NT. Why? Because the real computer nerds have no problem dealing with the blue screen once in awhile, they needed their operating system to be as fast as possible, have support for as much hardware as possible, the games they wished to play, and the applications they wish to run.

No power user would ever not run Windows as their main machine. I can throw just as much crap at Bill Gates and Microsoft as Steve Jobs and Apple, don't get me wrong... But in the end... Well... In terms of "Computers for the masses, not the classes" - the original Commodore moto there... Ummm... Microsoft may actually be closer to Commodore than Apple... Steve Jobs the presenter, the salesmen... Yes, the best of the best... But how many people out there like salesmen? When I enter a store and I see one I walk the other way... Because they are trying to sell you something, they pressure you, they lie to you, attempt to make you feel like you're getting a deal but rip you off, do their best to make you feel so smart for doing what they want you to do... and... Apple is all the worst you've come to think of car salesmen for me. Convince people to pay way more than they need to pay for the name, which is a strategy IBM also had, not Commodore. Pay more for less, convince you it's more, make you feel like you're better than everyone else.

Vision in some areas... Not so much in others... Should have ran with the Apple II GS in my eyes, not that 6 inch black and white mac... Although, again, I will point out I never hated any computer. I played the Oregon Trail on a monochrome Apple II like so many others... I remember the black/white Mac... In fact, believe it or not, my greatest retro regret is passing up a free Mac... I already had my DOS/Win98 machine running at that time, but the Amiga was still under emulation, as were the old consoles... My friend came to me first... I looked at it... I told him "ya know what? That is an incredibly historical machine... I just have no idea what I'd do with it..." - and he trashed it. Biggest regret of my retro years. Part of me at the time was even thinking to throw it in the closet... But I just could not foresee a point in time when I could make use of it. If I had the Mac right now, it would indeed find a corner somewhere!

Although never an IMac... I would have given him a hand in throwing that thing out! hahah... j/k... I'd send it on a train to Intric8... I truly did at the time... 14 years old... I started to look at what they were doing and thinking "Nobody is going to buy into this crap, are they?". I truly thought that was the final blow for them, in 2 years you could say goodbye! It was just... such a gimmick... A gimmick can be a very usable thing, but it's still a gimmick.

To me Steve's personality, how he indeed treated other people in real life, that can be seen in how he ran his business, how he treated his consumers. Just because the people who buy your products love you, does not necessarily mean they are not being taken advantage of. I would watch him take stage sometimes... For me it was always a mix between great ideas and presentation with some terrible ideas... You may look at apple getting rid of the headphone jack as terrible NOW.... - Apple sticking their own chord on everything is something I thought was terrible back then... Making the Ipod HAVE to use ITunes... I hate ITunes... It is the most bloated piece of crap music software I have ever had the misfortune of using. Forcing constant updates on its users... Making the entire computer slow to a crawl...

Quick Time? Remember that thing? Used to be the only way WINDOWS could play movies... That is what I regard as the very first "spam" install. To me, it was a virus... Every last program insisted on installing it, even if you already had it! It wanted updated all the time! - Now... A lot of people love Google Chrome... Lots of people... I shall always refuse to use it because every single freeware program I install attempts to force it on you. The fact that it ever took over is 100% due to forced installs, background installs... Just because it happened to be good, the ends does not justify the means to me. Every single time I'm forced to uninstall it I make sure to write back to google on "why did you uninstall?" - "STOP PUTTING THIS CRAP IN EVERY SINGLE INSTALLATION PROGRAM!"

Anyway, the headphone thing with Apple? - I have no doubt Steve Jobs would have done the same thing, but that most Apple people would have loved him for it! Because he's done the same type of b/s many times, crap that was just designed so Apple could sell you more crap. I don't think they're too different honestly... Steve would have been as eager to get rid of desktops in my mind. He wanted to get rid of the Apple II, their best selling computer... They are the same company in my eyes... But now they've lost their very likable salesmen... In fact, while people may hate salesmen, the bad ones... They can't help themselves from loving and buying from the good ones, no matter what they're selling.

Never to take away from his accomplishments, which are incredible, but these are all things I was thinking as my own free thinking individual as a 14 year old kid with no influence from anyone else... If Michael Jackson did what some say he did... Gary Glitter? Hell, something less controversial now, a gay Elton John... Should any of that taint the music? Make you not like it? No... Still, it's okay to be aware of it... Sometimes it's good thing, Elton John being gay might be a wonderful thing for his music. They say MJ would bring in Lama's to the studio... These things help to paint the picture of the genius behind the music. The being a star child thing... Never to make excuses, but I don't have to pick sides on what he did with kids to both be aware that might be something, but also still like his music.

I feel there is a danger with Apple fans... Similar to someone in certain religions, like Scientology. Where they kind of are taught to reject anything bad said about them and especially their creator... Bit of brainwashing there, cult kind of feel... I'd respect Apple people so much more if they at least sought out that information... If they liked Jobs enough to want to know his true self... Not their idea of him. Because people are never perfect, they are flawed... and history should never just record the best of someone. Nor the worst...

Whenever a Apple user would ask me (knowing I was into computers) about what I thought of Apple I would always say this; "From all I've ever seen, they make quality machines, with a stable operating system. The only thing that makes me not use them is that for better or worse, for someone as into computers as I am, I'm stuck with Windows"

That's not the entire truth of my opinion.... But that's always what I said... Because it's mostly true, I'm just leaving out the bad thoughts on Apple... Because here's the thing with people that have an Apple, and the one thing I agree makes them like Commodore; They love their machine.

I have loved no contemporary computer... I mean truly loved one... Since the Amiga... I now love the C64 too, even the VIC-20... I love the NES/Genesis/SNES.... I love "my" DOS computer.... But I mean I've got machines that are newer, some a little older but have been upgraded, a laptop that's 8 years old and running fine... I could never love any of these machines... I shall always envy the love Apple fans have for Apple products... It's just that for me, while as a kid growing up I feel we all would have loved any machine just as much... DOS... Apple II, Atari ST, Amiga.... We would have loved them, and we may have turned out pretty similar... I do know that once the 90's hit, and to this very day, I may have been an utterly different person if I had used an Apple. During the IMac years? 1999 is when my dad bought a new PC and he gave me the 1997 Gateway... Launching me into becoming a power user, because I i'd never want to mess with his computer before... Now I had my own... While Apple is not like Linux, in that nobody supports it, they've got great stuff... While I may not love any computer company or machine anymore, I am so in love with doing the things I do on them. Not saying I would not have found great things on Apple to love and do, but I know I would have been an utterly different person had I looked at the IMac and begged for one.

While I may not love Jobs, I'll tell you one great thing that has come from being interested in him enough to search things out... Woz... I fucking love that guy to death! I, in fact, have utterly changed my opinion on the early Apple just based on Woz... I never was fond of Jobs, but he introduced me to Woz, who in fact does give me some love for Apple. But I'm not a salesmen... We're all different... In your world, the graphic design world, that may have been your perfect marriage. I like to tinker, I needed Microsoft, as much as I hate them... I needed them... Because they destroyed the people I loved! hahah. But that's the one thing I don't understand... I'd never want to give up my PCs from the mid-90's to now... But this man has no love for Microsoft or Bill Gates.... Why do Apple fans actively run away from facts that may paint Jobs in a different light? Hell... Sometimes bad things can make you love someone more... I don't know if this is true, but at the end of the 2nd movie he's about to launch the IMac; Trying to talk his daughter into not running out because he's a terrible father... He tells her "Remember when I told everyone that the name LISA stood for (whatever the hell it stood for)? I lied..." - I think that's sort of true, that the Apple LISA stood for something... But there ya go, the asshole father redeems himself... and by the way, hollywood or not, that made me smile.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:56 pm

I never looked at Apple as a direct 1-1 comparison with Commodore, but I did from an underdog perspective and an ease-of-use perspective. In terms of computers marketshare, I don't think Apple has ever had over 10% (and if they did, it was very early days).

I had friends who would pimp their PCs out to an insane degree, costing thousands more than any Mac. But they also played a lot of very "expensive" games - games that required cutting edge video cards, RAM and CPUs, etc. Back then - hell, even now but not nearly as bad - the Apple market was ignored for gaming. "Serious" gaming. If it included a polygon or two, chances were it would never even be made for a Mac. New game out that everyone is talking about it? Just nod, and know it wasn't going to be on the Mac. But at that time, I was also entirely devoted to consoles, so I really didn't care. If I wanted polygons, I had my Nintendo 64 or Playstation. Those were far, far cheaper. It left my Macs for what I wanted them for: designing things, writing things, and communicating. That was it. If I wanted to play a game (with the exception of Diablo II) I would move over to my console at the time and fire it up. The only caveat to that was MS Office blew mighty chunks on the Mac back then. If you had a spreadsheet in Excel with any kind of depth, it would slow to a freaking crawl. I often wondered if it was done on purpose...

And I misspoke earlier - I did buy a couple of PCs along the way. When I was in art school a second time (2 art degrees, lots of debt, weeee!) I got a Dell that I relied on big time for 3D work. I think I still have that packed away in a box in the basement somewhere. It's probably running XP. I also bought my wife a Dell laptop at one stage around 2008 or so, which I upgraded off Vista to Windows 7. It's sluggish, but it works. It's my son's now, which he'll use for watching YouTube videos on Minecraft.

One of my best friends is a manager at Microsoft, so I get my Xbox and Win-fix every time I'm at his house. He's completely all-in. I used to be ages ago, but it wasn't really by choice. It was all there was for me, and I was fine with it. But I got tired of being mad at machines that I just wanted to work, and at the time I was so busy I didn't have a lot of time to tinker. I got so good at dealing with hardware issues, though, I sometimes wondered if I should have been an MS tech (one of my very close friends went that route and got certified). But I didn't want to do that for a living. I was laser focused on being a designer.

My close friend who is a manager at MS finally gave up on his giant yellow Nokia/Win phone and got an iPhone at the end of last year ("the camera - have you seen the camera?"). From what I've read and seen in person, Windows 10 is very pretty and clean, too. But most consumers seem to be sticking with Windows 7, as it simply meets their needs. Funny how things play out. "Where's the Start button?" I remember hearing. But I love how Google and MS helped usher in a whole new paradigm in design, even if it isn't quite as intuitive. It really shook things up for the better, I think.

When OS X became entirely free, changing the game on OS as a platform for growth rather than a profit center, the adoption of current OSX'es has been incredible to watch. Same for iOS. Marketshare is dwarfed by MS and Android, but whatever the current OS is, nearly everyone has it. You can't imagine how amazing that is for developers and designers, to not have to make every website and app backwards compatible for software that is older than 5 years.

Right now, the vast majority of Microsoft's revenue (and it is massive, don't be fooled) is coming from their cloud offerings. Windows doesn't hold the clout it once did on Redmond campus anymore in terms of bragging rights. And Office is still a vast treasure trove, but it's changing, too. Nadella is the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft, in my opinion. He's bringing the developers back, many of which had defected to Linux and OSX in the 00s. And those that haven't gone back are at least raising an eyebrow in respect, and waiting for more. I think he's fixing the culture, too, and that's no easy task for a company that size. By gaining the developer's respect back the consumers will follow - especially if they start to really own their own hardware, which they done with the Surface. It's pennies for them in the grand scheme of things, but very cool.

Anyway, I'm not anti-Microsoft by any means. It's literally 35 minutes from my house. What they have finally decided to do with the Surface line has gained my respect big time. And, to be honest, I won't be surprised if in 5-6 years I'm sitting behind one, tapping away on If Apple's current vision problems continue for a few more years, Microsoft's recent offerings to the design community may become too powerful to ignore as they are refined and made more reasonable for every day use. Some of the stuff they are doing is really, really interesting.

But I'm currently still content. And I hope (and think) my current setup should continue to rock and be relevant for a good amount of time.

Fingers crossed!

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Posted Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:22 am

As I suggested, best way to determine production numbers is to collect as much as possible serials numbers of machines (or tanks ).

I made web site where Atari users can enter their serial numbers of Atari computers and Atari peripherals (equipment). You can also add pictures of motherboards, cases, stickers...

please use it (if you have any Atari )! If we type enough serial numbers, we can make some conclusion regarding Atari computer production!

like Mark_G suggested, there is "German tank problem" calculation if you have enough serial numbers in database.


Is there any similar site/database for Commodore or Amiga computers?

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Maury Markowitz

Posted Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:33 am

Sorry to jump in here after all this time, but just a note about something I don't see covered in the thread. I have a concern about Jeremy Reimer's numbers for a different reason.

Reimer's Ars article states that Commodore only shipped 35,000 machines during 1985, which corresponds to their well-known production problems. He goes on to state that they sold only 10 to 15 thousand a week through early 1986.

Yet the numbers in that same article show something entirely different. You have reposted a table early in this thread where he states that they sold 100,000 Amigas in 1985, and 200,000 in 1986. These seem to be at odds with his own statements.

In fact, it seems like they were copied and pasted from the ST column. This was Atari's (brief) golden era for ST sales, so seeing the same number in both columns is very curious.

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Posted Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:26 pm

Wow I hadn't seen home computer fanboyism for decades until looking at the retro scene. I'm uk based.
I never knew much about the Amiga. Myself I learned machine code at age of 10 with Mk14. Then brother and I got Zx80 then Vic20. To see the change from blue meanies to Jeff minters games showed what someone who could make the hardware sing could do. I was never really into games. I got an Atari 400 (it had a lot of compilers etc) , my brother went C64, which had very good hardware for games.
After this I got into motorbikes. as a student I was working on embedded processors and repairing sun workstations.
I knew a bunch of younger students who gamed on Atari Sts. Then later people using them as cheap mac clones, I also borrowed a friend's St to write my Cv for jobs, my first experience of the mouse and windows. I never saw any Amigas until recently. So my anecdotal experience is that from what I read, Jack Tramiels legal case delayed Amiga by a couple of years during which Sts were sold for games. After this amiga started to beat it, but the Atari was popular for home office work (PC format disk helped) and then mac clone, and midi music. So they were really in different niches. I reckon something like 2 million each were sold, a far cry from the reach of the C64 with 27 million. Nothing touched that until say ps2 with 125 million or more.

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Posted Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:11 pm

Wow! This discussion got a bit heated!

Interesting points regarding Commodore vs Atari, I'm not too sure why some are getting so worked up considering we're talking about 30 - 40 years ago now! They're both dead and burred, no more than enthusiast communities now so who cares?

I'd love an original Atari 800.

I must say however that there is more countries than just Europe using the PAL standard, I find it amazing that we have people willing to defend a TV standard that most likely had more to do with the frequency of their mains power than any other factor.

As for MS vs Apple, I'm one of those people that says keep your proprietary solutions - Linux all the way and I'm not missing out on anything. In fact when it comes to technical usage as well as gaming I'd have to say that Linux has surpassed Apple considering Linux has full OGL support, Vulkan support and Nvidia driver support and is capable of running a great many Windows titles quickly and easily via Steamplay/Proton.

All tongue in cheek of course! Don't take things so literally, we're all like minded enthusiasts here..


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