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Mock Jack Tramiel Interview - The Atari Times

Mock Jack Tramiel Interview

This is what we think he might say today...
by Charles F. Gray

February 18, 2005
Pictures are from this site!

This interview is entirely fictional aside from myself, the interviewer (Charles Fraser Gray) asking the questions and the spirit in which I hoped to capture what Jack Tramiel would actually say given the same questions posed to him. In truth, I would love to interview Jack Tramiel as he is a both interesting and colourful figure in computer history. [So would we. If Jack would like to submit himself to a REAL interview, please let us know! - Ed]

For those of you who are not familiar with Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore Computers and former CEO of Atari, and his contribution towards the computer industry will need to do some reading. Just type in Jack Tramiel or Commodore and you'll read about the man who accomplished so much in the computer industry.

For those of you who would find fault with this fictional interview, relax, sit back, and enjoy the show. If you still find issue with what I have written, then let Jack know. Perhaps he will grant me an interview.

CFG: Hello Mr. Tramiel. I thank you for taking time out of your schedule to grant me this interview on such short notice.

JT: Not a problem. I am glad that there is still so much interest in myself and Commodore to warrant such an interview years or should I say decades after I left Commodore. Also, we are not in a board of directors meeting, so just call me Jack.

CFG: I have read other interviews with you and I am hopefully not going to repeat the same questions asked of you years ago.

JT: I'm glad for that. So what do you want to know?

CFG: Let's talk about the current situation in the still ongoing war between Microsoft and Apple.

JT: Well, I wouldn't really call it a war. Apple has a very small part of the market share compared to Microsoft and caters to a very different customer.

CFG: How so?

JT: I'll put it to you this way. Think of a Mac as a computer geared towards the professional, whether he or she be a Teacher, Doctor, Graphic design artist, or so on. The Mac is intended for serious applications that make money or to educate, not to say that it can't be used for games or music, but it's intended design is for high-level applications.

CFG: And the PC?

JT: The PC, although used in the same professional circles to a lesser extent, is still mainly an entertainment machine to play games on.

CFG: This reminds me of what you said about Coleco.

JT: That it's a toy?

CFG: Yes.

JT: In many respects, the PC is a toy but with more problems than the Coleco ever had. There is nothing wrong with using a computer to play games, but if it only used to play games, then it is toy. We saw what happened when Coleco was pushed out of the competition.

CFG: So do you feel the modern computer consumer wants more than a gaming machine?

JT: Yes. That's why things are changing again in the computer industry. People are getting smarter and looking for something more in a computer.

CFG: Then what are your personal thoughts on Microsoft products?

JT: Not much good I'm afraid. The operating system is taken from Xerox. Commodore did the same thing with the Geos system, but the Geos system was stable. Windows is not. There is no good reason to have an operating system as inefficient or as unreliable as the various versions of Windows are.

CFG: So I guess you don't have a PC or run Windows.

JT: No, I don't.

CFG: Then what do you use at home?

JT: It probably wouldn't be polite for me to say.

CFG: A Mac of some sort?

JT: Yes.

CFG: So then, how would you sum up what is happening in the computer industry today.

JT: On one end, you have Apple making hardware for the classes and on the other end you have Windows making software for the classes. They both forget about the masses who are actually buying the product. Their products are simply out of reach for the average consumer. People are more technologically savvy. People are getting smarter and looking for something else, something different, something better. If Commodore came out today, there would only be Commodore.

CFG: But you said that you mentioned that you have a Mac?

JT: Yes, I do, but I can afford it. Most people cannot easily afford a Mac so they go with a lesser machine.


JT: Exactly.

CFG: What about the Japanese?

JT: [Laughs] I see you have gotten into some old interviews I did back when I was with Atari. I was able to keep those people[The Japanese] out of the computer market for many years. Now we have to contend with Overpriced Apples and Broken Windows, and I can't think which is worse.

CFG: And what about Commodore.

JT: Both the Commodore 64 and the Commodore 128 are fully able to traverse the internet without worry about the next virus coming out. There were no holes in Commodore, unlike what you see in the PC world today.

CFG: Let's talk about Commodore a little later.

JT: Whatever you like.

CFG: What are your thoughts on software piracy today?

JT: Software piracy seems to be a big problem in today's computer industry, but not for the reason Apple or Microsoft think. People are willing to pay for software that is actually good, actually reliable and actually affordable. The rest of it, people copy as it is not worth buying. People lack confidence in the computer industry of today because of the lack of truly good software for their computers.

CFG: Software piracy didn't happen in Commodore's time.

JT: It did, but at a much lesser extent.

CFG: As you may have heard, Yeahronimo Media Ventures has purchased the Commodore brand and plans to release some new Commodore products in 2005. What are your thoughts on that?

JT: I'm not sure what to think. Commodore has changed hands a few times. I don't think Tulip knew really what to do with Commodore nor had the funds to do anything overly big with it. The new owner of Commodore is definitely a larger company with more assets to realize the revitalization of the Commodore name. The million-dollar question is what will they do with Commodore? I'd have to check my crystal ball (laughs). If I was running Commodore today, I know I could make Commodore a strong force in the computer market.

CFG: So what would be a perfect slogan for the new Commodore?

JT: If you want a toy, buy a game machine like the PC. If you want an office computer, buy a Mac, but if you want both but with the dependability you have come to know and even expect, then buy a Commodore.

CFG: Thank-you for talking with me today. This interview has been very informative.

JT: You're welcome.

[Reminder: This is a MOCK or FICTIONAL interview with Jack Tramiel. If he would like to provide a real one, we'd be very interested in talking with him. - Ed.]

Photos from: http://atariarea.histeria.pl/parties.php?akcja=pokaz_relke&id=40

Reader Comments for Mock Jack Tramiel Interview

NIcely Done by Joe Cassara on 2007-09-18 11:36:51
You've got his gracious style down perfectly. I can almost hear his voice in your text. As for his stance on a few issues ... Jack sure sounds like a changed man in your imaginations. ;)

Jack doesn't like doing interviews about his time at Commodore, so you're more likely to get ahold of one of his sons. Addresses can be found online (hint: the Tramiels donate to political candidates and parties...)

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