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A Company on the Edge


Paperback / softback

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Commodore by Brian Bagnall
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"Brilliant Insight Into Legendary Company"
4 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

A legendary personal computer company that brought computers to the masses. Commodore 64 is a testament to that.

Sadly this story is rarely told these days as Commodore folded in mid-1990s.

Excellent insight into the operations of Commodore under it's somewhat controversial management style of founder the late Jack Tramiel and what drove him.

Chuck Peddle was instrumental in persuading Jack to enter the microcomputer business, followed closely by Apple, Atari and Tandy.

My only complaint is the author's unpro­fessional tenancy to allow Peddle made extraordinary and often inaccurate claims against Apple Computer. For instance, his disk drives had higher capacities while true, but they're more prone to failure and reliability problems hence delaying the release of Commodore-brand 5.25" disk drives whereas Apple's whilst being the first 5.25" disk drive to the market had neither issues.


Filled with first-hand accounts of ambition, greed, and inspired engineering, this history of the personal computer revolution takes readers inside the cutthroat world of Commodore. Before Apple, IBM, or Dell, Commodore was the first computer manufacturer to market its machines to the public, selling an estimated 22 million Commodore 64s. Those halcyon days were tumultuous, however, owing to the expectations and unsparing tactics of founder Jack Tramiel. Engineers and managers with the company between 1976 and 1994 share their memories of the groundbreaking moments, soaring business highs, and stunning employee turnover that came with being on top in the early days of the microcomputer industry. This updated second edition includes additional interviews and first-hand material from major Commodore figures like marketing guru Kit Spencer, chip designer Bill Mensch, and Commodore co-founder Manfred Kapp.

Author Biography

Brian Bagnall is the author of numerous computer titles, including Core LEGO Mindstorms, On the Edge, and Maximum LEGO NXT. He is also a frequent contributor to, an online museum dedicated to recording and preserving computer history. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Release date Australia
January 6th, 2011
Country of Publication
2nd Revised edition
Variant Press
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