In The News

Computer pioneer Jack Tramiel passes away

Computer pioneer Jack Tramiel passes away

THE computer pioneer Jack Tramiel has passed away. He was 83.

Mr. Tramiel was the founder of Commodore computers and is regarded as having been one of the key pioneers in the development of personal computers.

Born in Poland, Mr. Tramiel was a survivor of Auschwitz where his parents were both murdered. Following the war he moved to New York to begin a new life.

After a spell in the US Army, during which time he learned how to repair office equipment, Mr. Tramiel set up a typewriter repair company. He then moved to Toronto to establish Commodore Business Machines which eventually became a stockmarket-listed manufacturer of office equipment.

By the 1970s the company was a successful manufacturer of calculators, but this side of the business was undermined when a supplier decided to produce their own calculators.

Mr. Tramiel reacted by buying a microchip manufacturer and began looking at the prospect of manufacturing computers. At first he considered buying a fledgling computer company in California by the name of Apple. However, when Apple’s Steve Jobs put a price tag of $100,000 on the business Mr. Tramiel decided that Commodore would go it alone. 

The firm’s first computer, the Commodore PET, was launched in January 1977 — and became the first mass-produced home computer since it was on the market months before Apple.

The VIC-20 and the Commodore 64 were to follow with the company enjoying massive sales. 

But a fall-out with a business partner saw Mr. Tramiel being ousted in January 1984 from company he had founded. However, he bounced back within months after buying the computer and game console divisions of Atari. 

Despite enjoying early success with his range of Atari ST computers, the firm eventually saw sales being outstripped by Windows-based machines. Stiff competition in the computer games console market also took their toll on Atari's market position.  Mr. Tramiel decided to sell the business and retire in 1996.

Mr. Tramiel is survived by his wife Helen and their three sons, Sam, Gary and Leonard.

To view an interview with Jack Tramiel, click here.


View previous In the News items: Character actor Luke Askew passes away, Hero of the French Resistance Raymond Aubrac passes away, Popular painter Thomas Kinkade passes away, Music world bids farewell to Banjo Barney, Music world pays tribute to guitar amp maker Jim Marshall, Pinball wizard Steve Kordek passes away, Funeral takes place of former politician Addie Morrow, Banjo player Earl Scruggs passes away, Former pirate radio DJ Tom Lodge passes away, Skateboard innovator Larry Stevenson passes away, Tributes are paid to Scottish darts legend Jocky Wilson, Former aerospace chief Sanford McDonnell passes away, Respected Northern Ireland journalist passes away, Tributes are paid to motorcycle expert Mick Walker, Actress Faith Brook passes away, Chemist who warned of global warming passes away, Illustrator behind the famous Ponderosa map passes away, Ashes of singer Davy Jones to be brought back to UK, Songwriter Robert Sherman passes away, Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie passes away, Bishop says Frank Carson was the prime minister of fun, Tributes are paid to Richard Carpenter of Catweazle fame, The actress Marion Mathie passes away, Actor Peter Halliday passes away, Fans pay tribute to comedy legend Frank Carson, Last of the buccaneers John Fairfax passes away, Tributes are paid to opera singer Elizabeth Connell, Rock musician Michael Davis passes away, Friends celebrate the life of Whitney Houston, Former royal commentator James Whitaker passes away, Tributes are paid to the actor David Kelly, Canadian adventurer Don Starkell passes away, Tributes are paid to race horse trainer Josh Gifford, Last surviving service member of World War I passes away, Science fiction writer John Christopher passes away, Actor Ben Gazzara passes away, Legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee passes away, Tributes are paid to opera singer Camilla Williams, Character actor Ian Abercrombie passes away, Jazz composer Clare Fischer passes away, Actor James Farentino passes away, Tributes are paid to the actor Nicol Williamson, Plan for new crematorium is given the green light, Former goalkeeper Ernie Gregory passes away, Tributes are paid to soul singer Etta James or Music therapist Clive Robbins passes away


If you have a relative or a friend who has passed away and feel they should be mentioned in our In the News section, then please email us.