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Commodore 64 creator Jack Tramiel dies aged 83

Home computing pioneer and founder of Commodore Jack Tramiel died aged 83 last week.

One of the greatest pioneers of modern, home computing and the creator of the Commodore 64 Jack Tramiel died last week at the age of 83.

Born Idek Trzmiel on December 23rd 1928 in Poland, he had a tumultuous life that saw him survive the Holocaust and become one of the lucky few that made it out of the Auschwitz concentration camp alive.

After World War II he lived for two in Germany before starting a new life with a new name in New York City, with only $10 to his name.

He joined the US Army where he learnt the skills that he would develop to later pave his way into the world of home computing.

Commodore began as a typewriter manufacturing business in Toronto in the mid-1950s. This moved in to digital calculators in the early 1970s before investment from Irving Gould spurred the company in the direction of home computing with the purchase of microchip manufacturer MOS Technology.

After failing in a bid to buy Apple from Steve Jobs, Commodore began manufacturing its own computer, the Commodore PET, which came out in 1977.

The PET was a success but it was the system's follow-up, the VIC-20 that began to revolutionise home computing by being sold at a much lower price than competitors. This brought computers to the masses and laid the groundwork for the most famous hardware of his career, the Commodore 64.

It used the powerful MOS 6510 processor to successfully win the war of the 8-bit computer market. It launched in 1982 and sold around 17 million units, which makes it the best selling personal computer in history.

After falling out with those at Commodore he left in 1984 to start Tramiel Technology, which later became Atari. Through Atari, Tramiel never reached the success of the Commodore 64, losing out to Amiga and Amstrad in the home computing market and never managing to effectively compete with Nintendo or Sony in the console market with its ill-fated Jaguar.

Tramiel's lasting legacy will, however, be how he brought "computing for the masses and not the classes". Without his affordable systems the home computing market could be a vastly different place today.

He is survived by his wife Helen and their three sons Sam, Gary and Leonard.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801340608-ADNFCR