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Commodore 64

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Commodore 64

 

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Before the PCs took over the market in the 90s, other computer models would dominate the market during the 80s; the Commodore 64, the Spectrum (UK), Amiga, Macintosh and Atari ST.

The Commodore 64 was released in 1982 and it is the best-selling single personal computer of all times (The PC actually is a modular computer made up of an array of various compatible computers produced by different companies); during its lifetime, C64 sales totaled 30 million units. In the1983–1986 period, the C64 dominated the market with between 30% and 40% share and 2 million units sold per year, outselling all the other competitors. It is also considered as the computer that brought computers technology to middle-class households via creative mass-production, low prices and great functionality. It was also the favorite computer for gaming, about 10,000 commercial software titles were made for the Commodore 64 including games, development tools and office applications.

The Commodore 64 had a 1.023 MHz MOS 6510 microprocessor (a close derivative to the MOS 6502), a video chip VIC-II with a resolution of 320 × 200, 16 colors and a 40-column screen. It had a music synthesizer chip (SID chip). It had 64KB of RAM at a time when Apple had a maximum of 48KB. It also featured a 5 1/4'' floppy drive, the 1541 drive.

Then, in the summer of 1982 the home computer prices struggle started between Texas Instruments and Commodore, with Texas Instruments issuing a $100 rebate on the TI 99/4A, bringing the price down to $200. C-64's initial price was $595 but soon it was moved from the computer stores to mass merchants such as K-mart for $400, meanwhile Atari joined the competition with a $55 rebate on the Atari 400 and dropped the price on the Atari 800 to under $500. Commodore moved the C-64 from the computer stores to mass merchants such as K-mart for $400.

In 1983, Texas Instruments again cut the dealer's price of the TI 99/4A by $48 making the retail price $150. Commodore responded with a massive "trade-in" offer. They would give a $100 trade-in on any video game, or computer, against the purchase of a Commodore 64. Thus, people changed their old computers and turned them in on Commodore 64's for $100. So the retail price with a "trade-in" was $300.

Things were difficult for some companies; Texas Instruments was losing millions of dollars due to the high costs of production and low retail prices while Commodore's costs were so low that even at the depressed prices they actually made money on their computers. So Texas Instruments quit the home computer business after the big losses caused by the prices competition. By 1983 Commodore hit one billion dollars in sales and became the most popular computer of the 80s.

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