Jack Tramiel, the founder of Commodore International, passed away on Sunday at the age of 83.
Tramiel – a Holocaust survivor – immigrated to the US from Poland in 1947. He joined the army, learned how to repair typewriters and founded Commodore in the 1950s. Starting with typewriters and calculators, the company would eventually roll out some of the first home computers such as the VIC-20 and Commodore 64.
Tramiel purchased Atari Inc’s consumer division in 1984 and formed Atari Corporation, overseeing development of the Atari 2600jr, the Atari 7800, Atari Lynx and the 64-bit Jaguar console.
“Jack Tramiel was an immense influence in the consumer electronics and computing industries. A name once uttered in the same vein as Steve Jobs is today, his journey from concentration camp survivor to captain of industry is the stuff of legends,” Martin Goldberg, a writer working on a book about Atari told Forbes.
“His legacy are the generations upon generations of computer scientists, engineers, and gamers who had their first exposure to high technology because of his affordable computers – ‘for the masses and not the classes.’
Indeed, Tramiel’s so-called “aggressive business practices” are believed to have been responsible for driving down prices in the home computer market during the 1980s, which made PCs more accessible for the average consumer.
Tramiel is survived by his wife Helen, their three sons, Gary, Sam and Leonard, and their extended families.