I watched the 8-bit generation: The Commodore Wars documentary (2016, Tomaso Walliser). An excellent time investment if you are a retro computer aficionado. We learn all about the Tramiel’s computer bets, business philosophy, greatest business coups, and mistakes.
The docu starts with the announced death of the calculator business, killed by Texas Instruments, to the departure of Jack from Commodore. ”We build computers for the masses, not the classes” is one of the strongest Tramiel taglines. The film has a plethora of quality witnesses: Chuck Peddle, Jack Tramiel, and Steve Wozniak to quote only a few of them.
I really enjoyed watching it and I learned a lot! At one point, there is a description of how Commodore has acquired almost for free a perpetual BASIC license from Microsoft. Jake’s son relates how his father answered to one of Bill Gates’ henchmen when Microsoft asked for the usual licensing fees. Jake answered apparently: “I am married, I already have a wife, let’s do serious business”. And he did! He bought a forever license for Microsoft BASIC for ~$50K. A steal! If you have the time, it really worth watching. Ah, last point. In a couple of shots of Commodore’s business line of computers, they staged a die-cast of an eagle from Space 1999. Excellent taste 🙂