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Atari 800 Computer

computer system

According to pc-history.org: "Atari had gone into the home computer business producing a line of 8-bit machines based upon the 6502 CPU. The Atari Models 400 and 800, which were the company's first models, were excellent graphics computers, but had several problems in competing in the highly competitive home market. The Atari 400 had a plastic membrane keyboard and was overpriced at $600. The Model 800 was much better, but it was priced just below the Apple II, and it was perceived as more of a "home" computer while Apple was considered as a "serious" computer. Atari also produced peripherals for their computers, including the Model 1010 cassette program recorder, the Model 1025 printer, and a number of disk drives. Part of the problem was that Atari, hoping to repeat its success in the video game business, had played its game too close to the chest. They kept important programming information "secret" and disclosed them only to programmers who agreed to market through Atari. Serious application programming companies who were producing 6502 software for Apple refused to comply with Atari's demands and turned their backs on the products. The game programmers, however, seized the opportunity to use the excellent color graphics capabilities of the Atari machines to develop intricate games. By the time Atari recognized their error, lowered the prices of the machines, and tried to woo back the business program developers, it was too late. The software companies felt the potential sales would not justify their conversion costs. Another problem was Atari's identification with their video games. They had called their game machines "VCS" (Video Computer System,) and now potential buyers felt that their personal computers were merely advanced game machines." According to pc-history.org: "Atari had gone into the home computer business producing a line of 8-bit machines based upon the 6502 CPU. The Atari Models 400 and 800, which were the company's first models, were excellent graphics computers, but had several problems in competing in the highly competitive home market. The Atari 400 had a plastic membrane keyboard and was overpriced at $600. The Model 800 was much better, but it was priced just below the Apple II, and it was perceived as more of a "home" computer while Apple was considered as a "serious" computer. Atari also produced peripherals for their computers, including the Model 1010 cassette program recorder, the Model 1025 printer, and a number of disk drives. Part of the problem was that Atari, hoping to repeat its success in the video game business, had played its game too close to the chest. They kept important programming information "secret" and disclosed them only to programmers who agreed to market through Atari. Serious application programming companies who were producing 6502 software for Apple refused to comply with Atari's demands and turned their backs on the products. The game programmers, however, seized the opportunity to use the excellent color graphics capabilities of the Atari machines to develop intricate games. By the time Atari recognized their error, lowered the prices of the machines, and tried to woo back the business program developers, it was too late. The software companies felt the potential sales would not justify their conversion costs. Another problem was Atari's identification with their video games. They had called their game machines "VCS" (Video Computer System,) and now potential buyers felt that their personal computers were merely advanced game machines."

ManufacturerAtari, Inc.
OriginSunnyvale, CA
Object ID107.2076
Credit LineGift of the Berndt Family

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