Z*Magazine: 9-Feb-89

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/18/93-05:05:33 PM Z

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
               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!



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.

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

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

     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

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

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

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."  

    MARCH 1985
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

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

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."

"Entire contents copyright (c) 1985 ANALOG Computing Magazine.  All rights

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

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

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!"


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

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

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

GEM is an extension of the operating system and supports overlapping
windows, pull-down menues, icons, mice and other advanced user-friendly

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 

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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