Commodore founder Jack Tramiel dies

Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International, manufacturer of the Commodore 64 and Amiga, has died aged 83.

Forbes reports that Tramiel, a Polish-born Auschwitz survivor who founded Commodore after emigrating to the US, passed away surrounded by family on Sunday.

Tramiel formed Commodore in 1954. After dealing first in typewriters, then in calculators, Tramiel's attention turned to personal computers and in 1977 the company released the Commodore Pet, with the VIC-20 making its debut in 1982.

The Commodore 64 was released the following year, and would go on to become the best-selling personal computer of all time. That success, however, came at a cost, with a long-running price war with TI and Atari sparking a power struggle at board level that led to Tramiel's resignation in 1984.

As Commodore acquired a small startup working on a 32-bit computer design and prepared for the release of the Amiga, Tramiel went fundraising and bought the consumer division of Atari – which under parent company Warner Communications was losing $10,000 a day – and released the Atari ST.

Martin Goldberg, a writer working on a book about Atari, told Forbes: "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 legend.

"His legacy is 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'."