Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-89From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/18/93-05:05:33 PM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-89 Date: Sat Sep 18 17:05:33 1993 SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE "SPECIAL EDITION" February 9, 1989 ========================================================================= REPRINTS FROM THE SYNDICATE BBS ========================================================================= Published, Compiled and Edited by Ron Kovacs Editor Note: I have compiled news and information from the Syndicate BBS archives. This material appeared before the existance of ZMAG on our BBS. Since the system is no longer running, I decided to publish a special edition. What you will find here is reprints from a number of areas, (I can't even remember where ost of these articles came from). I am producing this issue to provide aplace as a "file", so that I can retreive it, if needed, at a later time. One addtional note, there is no specific order placed upon the articles, keep this in mind when you are reading. Thank you for your continued support! SYNDICATE BBS ATARI NEWS ATARI CORP APPOINTS NEW US GENERAL MANAGER Atari (US) Corp. named Sig Schreyer, former Vice President for Computer Peripherals at Silver Reed, as Vice President and General Manager. Schreyer, 51, was a principal in Schreyer Associates, Inc. of Salt Lake City, until 1984. SAI was the marketing representative for Atari products in the mountain states and one of the first rep firms to sell Atari consumer products. In SAI's first year they achieved sales of more than $40 million, primarily selling Pong games. As General Manager, Mr. Schreyer is responsible for the U.S. operation's sales, marketing, and general administration. Says Schreyer, "Everything but finance and tinkering with the machines. I am not an engineer. I know the marketplace and I am here to insure some continuity in our marketing and sales. Atari is a small company right now, and it will be a major force in this business before the end of 1985." Within months of acquiring Atari Corp. from Warner Communications, Inc., Tramiel slashed prices on the existing product lines including the 800XL 64K computer, which dropped from $249 to under $100. The new 130XE, a 128K 8-bit computer launched last month, is selling for under $200 and has been on dealer allocation due to high demand. Atari Corp.'s latest product, the ST computer series, is a powerful system that works like Apple's Macintosh -- with significant improvements including color graphics -- at an under-$1000 system price. The ST is scheduled to begin arriving at retail on July 8. ############################## SYNDICATE ATARI NEWS UPDATE January 1985 ############################## #: 96365 Sub-topic 5 - News From CES Sb: #96354-#CES and Commodore 06-Jan-85 05:43:24 Fm: Sheldon Leemon 76004,72 To: Mike Cane 70736,1500 (X) Maybe you should try some of those computers before ranting like this. I am writing this on a PCjr. Next to it is my trusty old Atari. And of course, I have written "Mapping the 64" for Compute Books. Having professionally programmed all kinds of systems, I think that a Commodore type calling the Atari computers junk is quite laughable. (1) Atari computers work out of the box. I have had 8 c-64's so far, in order to get 2 working models (some of my DOAs were sent to me by Commodore as part of their developers program!) (2) If an Atari computer breaks, youcan fix it!. I mean actually getting new parts, instead of a whole new computers. It can be serviced quickly locally. (3) It has a much faster clock speed than the 64. (4) Its screen output is 200 times more legible. It also has 16 shades of 16 colors, which allows much better contrast on all sorts of graphics programs. (5) It has more graphics modes, and more flexible. (6) It finally has a RELIABLE disk drive that works MUCH faster than the 1541. Without a reliable drive, no matter what softwear the 64 has is USELESS. Can you imagine somebody using a 64 for anything critical, without a LOT of disk drive backup? I wrote the Mapping book on my Atari with Atariwriter. The machine is cheaper, more capable, MUCH more reliable, etc. The BASIC is by FAR bettter than the Commodore one (its just a matter of what you are used to) and FULLY supports the graphics, sound and Operating system. Come to think of it, the C-64 OS is so primative that it does not even support autoboot disks. Calling the Atari computers 'junk' is a little silly. If you want to see junk, get one of the computers that have a 50% fail rate, that at won't run their own CPM software, that can't be used with a normal TV set. In otherwords, look down at that piece of junk you are using! P.S. And, to top it off, its its overpriced to boot! Love, Sheldon (Mapping the piece of junk) Leemon ############################## <*> HUDSON BBS ATARI NEWS JULY 1984 ############################## Warner Sells Atari to Tramiel NEW YORK (AP) -- Warner Communications Inc. said today it sold the main parts of its loss-plagued Atari Inc. consumer electronics unit to a company led by Jack Tramiel, the former head of Commodore International Ltd. As a result of the sale, Warner said it expects to post a $425 million loss for the second quarter. Warner sold the home-computer and home-video segments of Atari, but retained its coin-operated games unit and other assets. Warner said Tramiel and his associates had invested $75 million in their new company, which acquired warrants giving it the option to buy 1 million Warner common shares in addition to the Atari assets involved. In exchange, Warner received $240 million in various debts of Tramiel's group. Warner also received warrants to acquire common stock of the new company, Warner said. Meanwhile, Warner said it would incur the $425 million second-quarter loss because of operating losses by Atari and because Warner reduced on its books the value of the Atari assets being sold. Atari, bought by Warner in 1976 for $27 million, made its video game "Pac-Man" a household name as the company led the video-game craze of the early 1980s. It also moved heavily into home computers. In 1982, Atari earned $323.3 million on sales of $2 billion, making it one of Warner's key profit centers. But then the video-game business -- scarred by bulging inventories, price cutting and declining consumer enthusiasm -- stalled and Atari's fortunes skidded. Last year, Atari lost $538.6 million on revenue of $1.12 billion, resulting in a net loss for Warner Communications of $417.8 million on revenue of $3.43 billion. Tramiel turned Commodore from a typewriter importer 25 years ago into the nation's leading maker of home computers. The New York-based company is estimated to account for more than 30 percent of the home-computer market. Tramiel stunned the industry last January by abruptly resigning, saying Commodore needed a more "professional executive" to take it over the $1 billion sales mark. Last September, Warner hired James Morgan, a Philip Morris Inc. executive, to take over Atari in hopes of reversing its losses. Morgan responded by severely reducing the size of Atari -- cutting its worldwide workforce to less than 5,000 from 9,500 and moving its manufacturing facilities overseas. But Atari's red ink continued in the first quarter of this year -- its operating loss was $34.9 million, although Warner managed a profit of $30.9 million. Morgan's future was not immediately clear, but he issued a statement saying that "Atari's management and employees have in the past year made an enormous effort to deal with the convergence of very serious problems. My colleagues at Atari deserve recognition for their extraordinary dedication, and I am grateful for the progress they made in reshaping Atari into a leaner and better-focused business, a business which is now positioned to take advantage of any recovery of marketplace demand," Morgan said. Tramiel issued a statement today saying, "Both the home-computer and video -game marketplaces continue, in my view, to offer great opportunities." ############################## <*> ATARI MEETS BCS USER GROUP MARCH 1985 ############################## COPYRIGHT 1985 OLIVA COMPUTER SRVCS. NO. SHORE AMIS BBS 617-595-0211 REPRINTED BY PERMISSION. ATARI MEETS BCS USER GROUP - 3/27/85 EAST COAST UNVEILING OF 520ST By Brian Oliva, SysOp, No. Shore AMIS BOSTON, MA --The Boston Computer Society General Meeting tonight featured Leonard Tramiel of Atari, as well as Digital Research's Bruce Cohen, and Bill Bowman from Spinnaker, and marked the east coast unveiling of the new 520ST Computer. The meeting filled Boston's New England Life Hall to capacity. The meeting was kicked off with opening statements from BCS President Jonathan Rotenberg who indicated that he had received numerous complaints after the distribution of the newsletter announcing that the "incredible Atari ST" would be shown at the meeting. Furthur investigation indicated that the complaints were all coming from people who had just purchased MAC's! A show of hands later in the meeting confirmed that the vast majority of the people in attendance were IBM-PC and MAC owners. It was evident that the new ST's are making waves and getting attention. I think thats a good sign! Tramiel reiterated the specifications mentioned in previous reports. I won't repeat any more than I have to. It appears that Atari is still on schedule and is still predicting release of the new machines in late April. When asked what Atari's priorities were on good software, Tramiel replied, "Good software is all we're planning to put out." He went on to explain that many developers were working with the machines, and software would be available at or soon after the computer's release date. Tramiel was asked where the machines would go upon their release (geographic distribution) and replied that they would sell them to any one who would buy them. He avoided any answers regarding marketing strategy in general, and would not identify any potential retail outlets. Unfortunatly, Mr. Tramiel did not have a formal demo package available with him, so the actual demonstration of the machine was exceptionally weak, but Tremiel's enthusiasm, as well as the comments from the other guest speakers, left a good feeling with the dedicated Atarians. Tramiel described that the versatility of the ST's was enhanced by the multiple ports which include: * 128K ROM slot * Hard Disk DMA Port (10 Megabit/Sec!) * Floppy Disk Port (Daisy Chain) * Standard RS232C Port * Centronics Printer Port * Monitor Output * RF (TV) Output * (2)MIDI Ports (Musical Instrument Digital Interface, In/Out) * Joystick Port * Joystick/Mouse Port Bruce Cohen, from DRI explained the GEM operating system in detail, including how it was being developed in other applications. He indicated that the IBM PC would have a GEM system available in April. The most positive statments of confidence in the new Atari came from Spinnakers Bill Bowman. He was bubbling with ensuthiasm and projected that this was the onset of "new beginnings for the Home Computer Market." He explained that until now, computers didn't serve the home market. They were difficult to use, or were very expensive, and most people didn't NEED personal computers. He stated that the Atari ST's broke all these barriers and was the first exciting thing to happen in the Home Computer industry in over 3 years. Now, programmers had the ROOM to write easy to use programs at a reasonable price. He explained that until now, software developers in the home computer market were limited to 8K ROM, 64K maximum environments. Simply put, the ST=Freedom! Bowman indicated that Spinnaker would continue to support and expand their line for the Atari systems. He said that the first programs to be developed for the ST's by them would probably be adventure games, following later on with Educational and "Productivity" Software in time for Christmas. He said most software would be in the $49-$59 range, and was looking forward to "seeing the new beginning with the Atari ST's." ############################## <*> ATARI AT COMDEX MAY 1985 ############################## "Entire contents copyright (c) 1985 ANALOG Computing Magazine. All rights reserved" Atari Pursues Dealers, Software Developers at Comdex (May 7) Atari Corporation was in full force at Comdex this week, pursuing software developers and computer retailers with vigor. In attendance at the Atlanta, Georgia-based computer show were Jack Tramiel, James Copland, Sig Hartmann and several other Atari employees, spreading the gospel of the new Atari, "Power Without The Price." At a press conference, Atari officials answered numerous questions concerning both the XE and ST line of computers, future marketing plans, as well as current strategy. James Copland, Vice President of Marketing, kicked off the press conference by explaining that "Atari decided only five days before the show to attend Comdex." Copland stressed that Comdex was a show in which Atari could court specific distributors, both hardware and software, software developers, and mass marketers. In that regard, it made more sense for Atari to attend Comdex than to compete with stereo manufacturers at CES. After Copland's talk came Sig Hartmann, President of Software. Hartmann said that "around 230 companies" were developing software for both the 8-bit XE and the 16-bit ST computers. When quizzed about the number of packages available, Hartmann replied that he expects there to be "over 100 pieces of software" available for the STs by September. ST systems for software companies are now being shipped at list price, a substantial reduction from Atari's original (and unpopular) ST package price of around $5000. As per earlier announcements, the first STs are to be shipped to Atari user groups for beta testing in a week or two. BASIC and Logo will be included, although we hear conflicting reports as to whether GEM will be on ROM or disk. The first STs for the general public are to be shipped in July. Among the software being developed for both the XEs and STs are spreadsheets and other applications programs, from various manufacturers. VIP Technologies, of Goleta, CA has developed a package for the XE called VIP Professional. According to the company, VIP Professional combines all the features of Lotus 1-2-3 with some additional features, all for under $100. The program can be either mouse or keyboard-driven, and utilizes icons and "drop down" menus, similar to GEM on the ST. The program is slated for delivery in July. For the ST, Haba Systems of Van Nuys, CA has two programs: Haba Works, with a series of applications, such as WORD, FILE, CALC, GRAPH, COM, and HIPPO C COMPILER. Haba Solutions comes with such files as How to Start Your Own Business, How to Create Your Own Legal Will, Business Letters, Business Forms, and the Haba Check Minder. The programs retail for $59.95 and $49.95 respectively. In a joint announcement, Atari and Rising Star Industries, of North Hollywood, CA, intend to market Rising Star Software products for the ST. The products will be distributed through Atari's dealer/distributor network. According to Rising Star president Gale Carr, the company is converting its Valdocs line of integrated applications, to be made available on Atari hardware both as a complete package and in individual software modules. Sig Hartmann stated that "We knew from the start that the price/ performance advantage of our hardware would only be half the battle. The bottom line is the utility per dollar we're bringing to the buyer; that's why others have lacked in this market, and it's also why Rising Star's software tools are a valuable asset." Rising Star's integrated color graphics modules, Valdraw and Valpaint -- using Atari's high-resolution color display -- are marked for availability with early shipments of the computer. The company's electronic spreadsheet and other applications are scheduled to follow shortly therafter. The 520 ST keyboard may be configured to emulate the Valdocs HASCI format through programmable function keys, allowing single-key access to all Valdocs applications and primary system and file management functions. In hardware news, one of the most amazing announcements concerned Atari's marketing plans for the 520ST. Apparently, there will be two different versions of the ST: one for mass marketers and one for computer stores. Internally, the machines are to be identical -- only the cosmetics of the machine are to be altered. The mass market ST would be the original configuration, whereas the computer dealer version should have a different keyboard and case. Computer retailers will sell a package consisting of the modified ST, a monitor, and half-megabyte drive for $799. As far as future projects are concerned, Atari is working on a CD (compact disc) ROM, able to store 512K of memory, for under $500. This CD ROM, as well as a new 3 and 1/2 inch drive, are being developed in conjunction with North American Philips, the Netherlands-based electronics giant. Atari owners may recall that Philips' name was tossed around early last summer as a possible buyer of Atari, before Jack Tramiel and crew took Atari's reins. The subject of Atari's 32-bitcomputer was not ignored by the press, either. Atari's rumored "CAD/CAM" system was referred to as a "graphics workstation" by Jack Tramiel, who added that the machine should be released "late this year or possibly early 1986." This would make it just in time for the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The 32-bit machine will be sold only through computer stores. At a private dinner for members of the press last March, Leonard Tramiel told ANALOG Computing publisher Lee Pappas and managing editor Jon Bell that "the 32-bit machine is a reality." While Tramiel would not confirm what CPU chip the machine would have (either the Motorola 68020 or the National Semiconductor 32032) he did have an interesting anecdote about the machine. Apparently, Atari's engineers had hoped to get several prototypes of the 32-bit machine working specifically on developing chip designs for Atari computers, including the STs. Unfortunately, the engineers couldn't work on the 32-bit machine at the expense of working out any bugs on the ST. Instead, the engineers made use of a rather extensive amount of chip development and design equipment left over from the old Atari. And finally, Atari's decision not to have a display at the Consumer Electronics Show in June was met with negative publicity and rumors concerning the company's financial state. Jack Tramiel emphasized that Atari did not bow out of CES "simply to save $500,000", but that Atari would be represented by a private press conference in Chicago. It should be pointed out that a number of hardware and software companies (Infocom, Electronic Arts) are also not attending the show, but are instead having private press showings and parties to promote their products. Additionally, Atari officials "lack of comment" over the decision not to have a display at CES was due to said officials attending the Hanover, West Germany Computer Fair. According to sources at the Fair, the showing of Atari's ST computers was "a smash." Overseas dealers and computer owners are reportedly ecstatic over the ST, citing its power, the GEM operating system, and most importantly, its cost. Foreign buyers who have been looking at the Macintosh with envious eyes but can't afford its high price (especially considering the strength of the American dollar) are considering the Atari ST. Jack Tramiel said that he intends for fully half the ST market to be overseas. In conclusion, the message from Atari at Comdex was, "Today, the U.S. Tomorrow, the world!" ############################## <*> ANTIC SPECIAL REPORT 11/13/84 ############################## SUNNYVALE, CA--The new Atari Corp. today dropped the price of the Atari 800XL to "under $120" from $179 -- and hinted that some major retailers may drop the price to $99. Atari 1050 disk drives will be cut to below $200 for holiday shopping, and the 1010 data recorder and 1027 printer will also be reduced in price, according to Vice President for Marketing, James Copland. An Atari 800XL with disk drive, 1027 printer and key software should be available now for under $600, Copland said. Atari Christmas sales will be supported with a multi-million dollar print advertising campaign with the theme, "Even Scrooge would give one..." The ads will feature a quote about the 800XL from the December ANTIC Buyers Guide. At the January Consumer Electronics Show, Atari will show a line of three to five 8-bit machines compatible with the current 800XL and a new line of 16-bit machines. All products are to be on the market during the first quarter of 1985. True to their "Rock Bottom Pricing" strategy, Atari will also introduce a new modem and full-sized color printer at CES. In an exclusive interview with ANTIC following his press conference today, Tramiel underlined his commitment to Atari telecommunications and said that the 1985 modems will upload and download at 300 and 1200 baud and connect without any interface box. Telecommunications was emphasized by Sig Hartman, President Atari Software, who told ANTIC that the Plato cartridge was their number 1 new software product. Hartman had evidently been (unsuccesfully) trying to develop a Plato terminal emulator at Commodore for the C64 since 1983. Tramiel pledged to start a new program of support to user groups. "When a person buys a computer, he shouldn't be left out in the cold. We'll give him as much support as we can if he needs help," Tramiel said. The first look at the new 32-bit Atari computers will come in April at a computer show in Hanover, Germany. After the conference, Sam Tramiel privately confirmed that this machine would utilize the new National Semiconductor 32032 and would be a "VAX in a box." Copeland would only say that this new machine would be a "user-friendly reliable computer at rock-bottom prices." "We give the people what they want. Our work ethic is to constantly strive for improvement," Copland said, echoing Atari owner Jack Tramiel's philosophy of "computers for the masses, not the classes." "We always try to reduce the computer's cost to what's affordable for the customer," said Tramiel. "Our goal is to make the best computers at every meaningful price point between $100 and $1000." The new Atari Corp will not charge more than $49 for software, said Tramiel. Although he would not outline specifics, Tramiel said all the 8-bit machines will be compatible, at least one will offer 128K, and at least one will be a portable, luggable computer. The new 800XL will look almost exactly like the older machine, but will contain improved new design technology, acording to company president Sam Tramiel. The company's line of 16-bit and 32-bit microcomputers will use a proprietary operating system and VLSI custom graphics coprocessors developed by Atari in Sunnyvale, according to Sam Tramiel. These computers will also feature GEM, the Macintosh-like Graphics Environment Manager produced by Digital Research, according to Sam Tramiel. GEM is an extension of the operating system and supports overlapping windows, pull-down menues, icons, mice and other advanced user-friendly features. Meeting with the press en masse for the first time following their purchase of the company, Atari executives were almost astonishingly open about their confidence in the future. Atari Corp. is projecting $1 billion in sales during 1985, Copeland said. Copland said Atari expects to sell at least a half million 800XL's within the next five months, using a network of major mass retailers and distributors. Orders for the 800XL have exhausted Atari's current inventory, and the company is now manufacturing 150,000 new machines monthly at factories in Taiwan and Ireland. Another facility will be operating in Japan soon, according to Sam Tramiel. At test markets in Detroit and elsewhere, the newly low-priced 800XL sold out almost overnight, with no advertising, said Sam Tramiel. "Most people six to 26 know how to use computers. We don't have to educate them on how to use computers the way IBM does. I believe American parents wants to educate their children to the greatest possible degree," Jack Tramiel told ANTIC, adding that he intends to offer price incentives for schools to purchase Ataris. Tramiel's philosophy is very clear. "We sell products to individuals-- personal computers. We do not intend to compete in business computers." However, Tramiel also said he is prepared to knock out anyone who sells computers, including Apple and IBM, if they choose to compete with him. "After I left Commodore -- due to philosophical differences with the management -- I noticed business was becoming very dull. Everyone was sitting around, being very greedy and trying to get as much money as possible. There was a need for new life and excitement in the computer business," Tramiel said. "The end-user is intelligent. He knows what he wants," said Tramiel. He said he intends to support his customers by increasing the existing software base, working closely with third-party software developers. Tramiel said the new machines will be backed by a 90-day warranty, during which time a customer could obtain a new, replacement unit if problems develope with the computer. After that, customers could take their machines to any one of some 1,500 service centers around the country or mail it to Atari for service. "We like to convert proven products into personal use--for the lowest price," said Tramiel. His company, although it continues to design its own chips, will not conduct leading-edge research. The next step for Tramiel, after his current plans, is to "turn around mainframe technology for a hand-held computer." Executives hope to take Atari public in 1985, after raising $150 million through three $50 million private and stock-market placements. "In 1987, there will be 50 million personal computers sold worldwide, and over half of those will be below $200," Tramiel predicted. "Back when I was in the calculator business I correctly predicted that the price would drop to $9.95 (from over $1,000) within 10 years. Tramiel also said he would decide in January if Atari will continue producing and marketing the company's 2600 game machine. ========================================================================= Syndicate ZMagazine is Copyright 1989, Syndicate Publishing Company. This is a Special Edition =========================================================================
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