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Atari 8-Bit Computers: Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 11.1) What is the history of Atari's 8-bit computers platform?

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Information presented here has been collected by MC from public sources, such
as magazine and newspaper articles, press releases, corporate annual reports,
and SEC filings.  I have no special access to inside information.

For a broader Atari history may I suggest: http://mcurrent.name/atarihistory/

1973
With financial support from Atari, a group of engineers led by Larry Emmons
and Steve Mayer created the Cyan Engineering research and development group in
Grass Valley, CA.

1974
Winter: Atari started an exclusive relationship with Cyan Engineering, and the
facility became known as the "Grass Valley Think Tank."

1975
Summer: At Cyan Engineering, Ron Milner and Steve Mayer created the first
concept prototype of the home video game system that would become the Video
Computer System (VCS).  The hardware was built by Milner.

December: Joe Decuir was hired by Atari, initially to work with Ron Milner and
Steve Mayer at Cyan Engineering.  Decuir would help debug the existing concept
prototype of the VCS, and Decuir built the first gate-level prototype of the
VCS.

1976
March: As Atari VCS development continued, Joe Decuir moved to Los Gatos,
Calif. to apprentice for Jay Miner, who would become the lead chip designer
for the VCS.

The group who would turn out to be the key engineers of the Atari VCS had now
been assembled: Steve Mayer, Ron Milner, Joe Decuir, and Jay Miner.
Development work would continue into 1977.

Fall: Atari purchased Cyan Engineering outright, and the facility became more
formerly known as the Grass Valley Research Center.

1977
June: Atari introduced the Video Computer System (VCS) at the Summer CES in
Chicago.

Summer: Engineers Ron Milner, Steve Mayer, and Joe Decuir, veteran designers
of the VCS, began work on a next-generation home video game machine at Atari's
Grass Valley Research Center.  This project became known as "Oz" inside Atari.

1978
March: Manny Gerard at Warner Communications arranged for Raymond E. Kassar,
who had recently departed from his executive vice president position at fabric
maker Burlington Industries, to work with Atari as a consultant.

Gerard then had Kassar installed as president of Atari's Consumer Division.

Ray Kassar, directed that the video game technology already under development
as the "Oz" project would now form the basis for the development of a personal
computer system.  The newly-redefined project became known as "Colleen" inside
Atari.

The overall engineering plans for "Colleen" were conceived by:
Steve Mayer, Joe Decuir, and Jay Miner

The "Colleen" computer project evolved into two specific computer models:

  o "Colleen" - the full machine - would be released as the Atari 800.
  o "Candy" - a reduced-feature version - would be released as the Atari 400.

Fall: Atari pre-announced that the Atari computer would debut at the January
1979 CES.  [EVIDENCE NEEDED!]

September/October: Atari VCS game programmers David Crane, Larry Kaplan, and
Alan Miller were assigned to create an Operating System and BASIC for the
Atari computer, after Jay Miner, manager of both custom chip and OS software
development for the computer, had determined that both the existing work-in-
progress OS and the work-in-progress port of Microsoft BASIC could not meet
the January 1979 CES deadline.

October: Freeing Crane/Kaplan/Miller to focus on developing the core OS, Atari
contracted with Shepardson Microsystems, Inc. (SMI, headed by Bob Shepardson)
to create both a version of BASIC and a File Management System (FMS) for the
upcoming Atari personal computers.  The contract called for delivery by
April 6, 1979.  Atari planned to take an early, 8K Microsoft BASIC to the
CES (in Las Vegas) in January, 1979, and then switch BASICs later.

November: At the Warner Communications annual budget meeting in New York,
Atari chairman Nolan Bushnell warned against launching an Atari computer
division unless Warner was prepared to absorb extensive short-term financial
losses in establishing the new product line.  Bushnell also predicted that a
properly-funded Atari computer line would ultimately be profitable.

December: Manny Gerard at Warner Communications appointed Ray Kassar President
and CEO of Atari, and Joe Keenan replaced company founder Nolan Bushnell as
Chairman.

December 21: SMI delivered working versions of a BASIC and a FMS to Atari,
nearly four months early.

December 28: Actual date of Atari purchase order with SMI for a BASIC and a
FMS.  (They had already been delivered the week before.)

1979
January: Atari introduced the Atari 800 and Atari 400 Personal Computer
Systems at the Winter CES in Las Vegas.  The 800 would ship with 8K RAM (user-
expandable in 8K or 16K increments to 48K) and retail for US$1,000; the 400
would come standard with 8K RAM and retail for US$500.  The computers were
scheduled to ship in limited quantities in August 1979, with full availability
later in the fall.  Also introduced: the 410 program recorder, 810 disk drive,
and 820 printer.  Software introduced: Atari BASIC.  Coverage of the
introduction of the Atari 400/800 from Creative Computing magazine:
http://mcurrent.name/atari1979/

January: Atari ran an advertisement for the 400/800 on pp. 54-55 of
Merchandising, vol. 4, no. 1, January 1979.  See:
http://mcurrent.name/atariads/gallery.htm for these and other early Atari
computer print ads from 1979-1981.

April: Crane/Kaplan/Miller finished their work on the Operating System for
the Atari 400/800 computers.

May 11-13: At the 4th West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco Atari again
showed the Atari 400/800 computer systems, which were expected to ship within
months.

June: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari again showed the Atari 400/800
computers, which were expected to ship within weeks.  The retail price for the
400 system would be US$550 (up from US$500).  Also introduced: the Atari
Talk & Teach Educational System, including the Master Cartridge and 17
cassette packs in the Cassette Courseware series (4 tapes per pack; 4 lessons
per tape; developed by Dorsett Educational Systems for Atari).  More software
titles introduced: Basketball, Super Breakout, Computer Chess.
Peter N. Rosenthal was Director of Marketing, Personal Computer Systems.

Summer: Atari received FCC approval for the 400/800 computers.

August:
  "The first official small shipment of the 400/800 was on August 29th 1979.
  These were hand-built pilot run units to Sears that needed to be in stock by
  Sept. 1 so they could be placed in the big fall catalog.  The units were
  placed in the Sears warehouse and then immediately returned to Atari after
  the "in stock" requirement had been met."  --Jerry Jessop

September 4: The New York Times reported on p. D7, "Atari Inc., the maker of
home video games, will introduce two new personal computer systems in the
fall.  The inaugural ad campaign, created by Doyle Dane Bernbach, will break
in October in 12 national publications.  TV commercials will also be aired in
Los Angeles in November and December."

October: "Atari's production lines were stalled for about a week in October
due to yield problems at one of its chip suppliers, Synertek.  The low yields
at the semiconductor manufacturer resulted in significantly reduced delivery
of the MPU to Atari, resulting in about a 3-week delay in getting the
computers into the marketplace."  Electronic News, December 10, 1979, p. 83.

November:
  "The first "real" consumer units were shipped in Nov. of '79 and were 400s
  to Sears followed very shortly by 800s."  --Jerry Jessop

November: Michael J. Moone became president of the Consumer Division at Atari
(home video games and computers).

November/December: The initial Atari 400 personal computer package consisted
of the 400 computer (8K RAM), 400 Operator's Manual, power supply, TV switch
box, CXL4002 Atari BASIC (cartridge), Atari BASIC: A Self-Teaching Guide
(book, see http://www.atariarchives.org/basic/), 3-ring binder.  Package
retail: US$549.99.

November/December: The initial Atari 800 personal computer package consisted
of the 800 computer with 8K RAM module, 800 Operator's Manual, power supply,
TV switch box, 410 program recorder, CXL4001 Educational System Master
Cartridge, CXL4002 Atari BASIC (cartridge), CX-4101 An Invitation to
Programming 1: Fundamentals of Programming (cassette), Atari BASIC: A Self-
Teaching Guide (book, see http://www.atariarchives.org/basic/), 3-ring binder.
Package retail: US$999.99.

November/December: In addition to the $549.99 Atari 400 package, the Sears
catalog also listed the 410 program recorder for $85.00, the Educational
System Master Cartridge for $34.99, Basketball, Super Breakout, and Life
(released as Video Easel) for $49.99 each, Music Composer for $69.99,
Joystick pair for $19.99, Paddles pair for $19.99, and these 9 cassette titles
for use with the Educational System Master Cartridge for $39.99 each: 
Basic Sociology, Basic Psychology, Spelling, History of Western World, 
Great Classics of Eng Lit, Principles of Economics, U.S. History,
Principles of Accounting, Business Communications

December: "Atari is funneling large quantities of its 400 and 800 personal
computers and software to Sears, Roebuck, while retail computer stores have
been faced with late hardware deliveries and received very little, if any,
software.  Sears is offering the Atari 400, priced at $549.99, through its
catalog, and is spot-marketing the machine in its retail stores throughout
California and the Chicago area.  In addition, the firm is selling the Atari
800, priced at $999.99, in its California stores, but not through the catalog,
a Sears spokesman said."  Electronic News, December 10, 1979, p. 83.

1980
January: Atari introduced the 825 printer, 830 modem, and 850 interface at
the Winter CES in Las Vegas.  Also, list prices for the 400 and 800 packages
increased to US$630 and US$1,080 (up from US$550 and US$1,000).  Software
titles introduced: Assembler Editor, Video Easel, Music Composer,
3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Star Raiders, TeleLink 1

Winter: Atari shipped the 810 disk drive and the 820 printer (US$449.95).

March: Atari shipped Star Raiders.

June 15: Atari introduced the 815 dual disk drive, 822 printer, and CX70 light
pen at the Summer CES in Chicago.  Also introduced: the Atari Accountant
series of software programs (developed by Arthur Young & Co. for Atari):
General Accounting System, Accounts Receivable System, Inventory Control
Program.

Summer: Atari modified the 800 computer package.  The computer would now ship
with 16K RAM (up from 8K); the 410 program recorder and Educational System
Master Cartridge were removed from the package; the Atari BASIC Reference
Manual was added to the package.  The retail price remained US$1,080.

Summer/Fall: Atari shipped the 825 printer (US$999.95), 830 modem, and
850 interface (US$219.95).

Fall?: The Atari 800 arrived in the UK: 649 pounds for the 800 with 16K RAM,
39 pounds for Atari BASIC, 69 pounds for a 16K RAM module for the 800.
(Atari User May 1988)

October 21: Roger H. Badertscher was named president of the newly established
Computer Division at Atari.  He was previously vice president and general
manager of the microprocessor division of Signetics, an electronics
semiconductor manufacturer.

October: Visicorp introduced the Atari version of VisiCalc.

By the end of 1980, Atari had sold 35,000 computers.

1981
January 8-11: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari announced that the list
price for the 400 computer package with 8K RAM installed was reduced to
US$499.95 (previously: US$630), and that the list price for the 16K RAM
version of the 400 package would be US$630.  Also introduced: Asteroids,
Astrology (ultimately released via APX), Atari Word Processor,
An Invitation to Programming 2, An Invitation to Programming 3,
Missile Command, Personal Financial Management System,
Personal Fitness Program (ultimately released via APX), PILOT, 
SCRAM (A Nuclear Reactor Simulation)

Winter: Atari shipped the 822 printer.

Winter: The development rights to Atari BASIC, the Atari FMS (DOS) and the
Atari Assembler/Editor program were purchased from SMI by Bill Wilkinson for
his new company, Optimized Systems Software (OSS).

Spring: First issue of The Atari Connection, the glossy magazine published by
the Atari Computer Division in support of the 400/800.

April 3-5: Atari Software Acquisition Program (ASAP) staff attended the 6th
West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco, offering a grand prize of
US$25,000 in cash and US$75,000 in Atari products to runners-up for Atari
computer software authors.  In order to qualify for the awards, programs would
have to be accepted and sold through the soon-to-be-launched Atari Program
Exchange.

May 5: At the National Computer Conference in Chicago, Atari announced that
the 8K Atari 400 was being discontinued and that the price on the 16K version
was being reduced to US$399 (was US$630); also, the 400 would no longer be
sold with the Atari BASIC cartridge and the Atari BASIC: A Self-Teaching Guide
book.  Other price reductions: CX852 8K RAM module now US$49.95 (was
US$124.95), CX853 16K RAM module now US$99.95 (was US$199.95), 820 printer now
US$299.95 (was US$449.95).  Also introduced: Dow Jones Investment Evaluator,
Atari Microsoft BASIC, Macro Assembler and Program-Text Editor.

May: Atari launched the Atari Program Exchange (APX), a user-written software
distribution unit within the Atari Computer Division.  The APX concept had
been the brain-child of Dale Yocam, and APX was guided by Fred Thorlin since
its inception in February 1981.  See http://www.atariarchives.org/APX/

Summer?: Atari created the Atari Institute for Educational Action Research,
which began awarding major grants of Atari home computer products, cash
stipends, and/or consulting services to selected individuals and non-profit
institutions or organizations interested in developing new educational uses
for computers in schools, community programs, or in the home.  Founded and
directed by Dr. Ted M. Kahn, Ph.D.  More than US$250,000 would be awarded in
the program's first year.

August 26: Date of the internal Atari document "Z800 Product Specification,
Revision 1" reflecting Operating System work for the SWEET16 project to create
a new series of computers to replace the 400/800.  See:
http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8BITS/1200xl/1200xl.html

September: Ingersoll Electronics was the exclusive sales distributor for
Atari 400 and 800 computers in the UK.

Fall: Atari began shipping the 810 disk drive with DOS 2.0S (replacing
the original Atari DOS).  Developed by SMI/OSS for Atari.

October: Atari 810 disk drives began shipping with ROM C, supporting a more
efficient "C" sector layout (about 20% faster than the original "B" layout),
and the Data Separator Board, improving reliability.

Fall: Atari shipped the book, De Re Atari.

November: Atari 400/800's began shipping with the new GTIA chip in place of
CTIA, increasing the palette of simultaneously displayable colors to 256 and
adding 3 new graphics modes.  400/800's also began shipping with OS ROM
version B, improving peripheral I/O control routines.

December 30: Atari said that it would cut the retail price for the 800 home
computer (with 16K RAM) to US$899 from US$1,080.

1982
January 5: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced Pac-Man ($44.95),
Centipede ($44.95), Caverns of Mars ($39.95), The Bookkeeper, and The Home
Filing Manager.  Greg Christensen's Caverns of Mars would be the first APX
title to be transferred into Atari's standard product line.  Previewed at the
show: the Atari Video System X (would ship as the 5200).

January 6: Atari announced the publication, Atari Special Editions, a catalog
of more than 400 products for the Atari computers from 117 vendors.

January 16: At San Francisco's Maxwell's Plum restaurant in Ghiradelli
Square, Atari awarded the first annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to
Fernando Herrera for his APX title, My First Alphabet.  My First Alphabet
would ultimately be transferred into Atari's standard product line.

Winter: Ted Richards' name first appeared as editor of The Atari Connection
magazine.

June 8: Atari announced the 5200 Home Entertainment System.  Later dubbed the
SuperSystem, the cartridge-based 5200 would be marketed alongside the ultra-
popular Atari VCS (soon to be known as the 2600).  While the 5200 required
unique game cartridges and controllers, the internal hardware and operating
system were nearly identical to that of the 400/800 computers.  Suggested
retail price: US$299.95.

June 6-9: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari announced Atari Speed Reading
(US$74.95), Music Tutor (title never shipped. MC's speculation: this would
have been an Atari-branded re-release of the APX title, Musical Computer-The
Music Tutor), Juggles' House, Juggles' Rainbow, TeleLink II (US$79.95), and
the Communicator II kit (new 835 modem + Telelink II) (US$279.95).  Atari also
announced the new retail price for the 400 computer was US$349 (previously,
US$399). (CC Oct82 p180)  Keith Schaefer was vice-president of sales for
Atari's Home Computer division.

June: Roger Badertscher resigned from his position as president of Atari's
Home Computer Division.

Summer: First year of Atari Computer Camps, held in 3 locations: The
University of San Diego (CA), The Asheville School (Asheville, NC), and East
Stroudsburg State College (PA).  (Camp was cancelled at the fourth announced
site of Lakeland College (Sheboygan, WI).)  The camps were managed for Atari
by Specialty Camps, Inc.  Curriculum developed by Robert A. Kahn at Atari.
Program overseen by Linda Gordon, Atari vice president for special projects.

August 24: John C. Cavalier was named president of Atari's Home Computer
Division.  His most recent job was vice president and general manager of
American Can Company's Dixie and Dixie/Marathon unit, makers of consumer paper
products.

September: Steve Mayer resigned as senior vice president of engineering at
Atari to form, and serve as chairman and CEO of, WCI Labs, Inc.  The location
was previously known as the Atari NY Lab.  Like Atari, WCI Labs would be a
wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Communications.  With Gregg Squires as
project manager, WCI Labs would be responsible for the hardware engineering
for the Sweet-16 ("Elizabeth" or "Liz") computer project, which would lead to
the release of the 1200XL.

September 29: Date of the internal Atari document, "Sweet-16 Product
Specification".  As of this document, the Sweet-16 project had evolved into
two specific computer model designs, a 16K RAM version tentatively named
"1200" and a 64K RAM version tentatively named "1200X" (earlier: a 16K "600"
and a 64K "1200"), with both models now sharing the same case design.
However, also as of this document, plans called for manufacture of only the
64K version.  The project would soon lead to the release of the 1200XL.
http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8BITS/1200xl/1200xl.html

October: Atari shipped the 5200 SuperSystem.

Fall: The suggested retail price for the Atari 800 was US$679 with 48K RAM
standard (previously: US$899/16K).  The Atari 400 retail price was US$299
(previously, $349).

November: Atari began producing new 810 disk drives with the "center flip
door" drive mechanism by Tandon, instead of the "push button, sliding door"
mechanism by MPI used in the original design. (Antic May 83)

December: Atari shipped Galaxian, Defender, and Visicalc in time for the
holiday shopping season.

December 13: Atari introduced the 1200XL home computer at a press conference
at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  "We believe that the Atari 1200XL will
set the standard for a new generation in home computing and, once again,
positions Atari on the leading edge of electronic technology and creative
computing," Atari chairman Ray Kassar said.  The list price for the 1200XL
would be "well under $1,000."  The 1200XL was the first computer resulting
from the Sweet-16/"Elizabeth"/"Liz" project inside Atari.  Peripherals
introduced: the 1010 program recorder (US$99), 1020 printer/plotter (US$299),
and 1025 printer (US$549).

Atari sold 400,000 of its 400 and 800 computers in 1982, according to The
Yankee Group, a Boston-based computer consulting firm, accounting for 17
percent of all home computer sales.

1983
January: The retail price for the Atari 800 (with 48K RAM, without Atari
BASIC) was reduced from US$679 to US$499.  The retail price for the Atari 400
was reduced from US$299 to US$199.

Winter 82/83: First issue of I/O, later known as Atari Input/Output, the 
magazine of the Atari Home Computer Club (operated by Atari in the UK).

January 6-9: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari showed the 1200XL, 1010,
1020, and 1025, introduced Qix, E.T. Phone Home!, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong,
Family Finances, Timewise, and AtariWriter, and also announced the upcoming
Disney Educational Series.  The CX22 Trak-Ball was introduced, marketed for
the 2600 but compatible with the computers.  The retail price for the 1200XL
was announced to be US$899.

January 15: At San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel, Atari awarded the second
annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to David Buehler for his APX title,
Typo Attack.

January: Atari began production of the 1200XL (made in the USA).

Winter: Atari shipped the AtariWriter cartridge.  AtariWriter was programmed
by William V. Robinson (author of DataSoft's Text Wizard) with Mark Rieley for
DataSoft, for product manager Gary Furr at Atari.

Winter/Spring: "Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow" was an Atari-produced
assembly program for junior and senior high schools in the U.S., offering both
entertainment and computer education using films, slides, music, and a live
host to explore the role of computers in society.  (MC's note: I remember that
this came to my school!)

March: Atari shipped the 1200XL, suggested retail price US$899.

March 18-20: At the 8th Annual West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco,
Atari announced the 1050 disk drive, and introduced Atari Logo (developed by
Logo Computer Systems, Inc. (LCSI) for Atari).

April: Atari announced that Michael Moone would no longer serve as president
of the Consumer Electronics Division, as the division would be consolidated
with the Home Computer Division.

April/May: Production of the 1200XL shifted from the USA to Taiwan.

May: Production of Atari 400/800 computers and 810 disk drives ended.

May: The retail price for the Atari 400 was reduced from US$199 to US$100.

June 1: Atari consolidated the businesses of the Home Computer Division with
the Consumer Electronics (home video games) Division.  There would now be
three Divisions for both home computers and home video games:
  - Atari Products Company (development & marketing, John Cavalier, president)
  - Atari Sales and Distribution Company (Donald Kingsborough, president)
  - Atari Manufacturing Company (Paul Malloy, president)

June: Atari introduced the 600XL and 800XL home computers at the Summer CES in
Chicago.  The 400/800/1200XL would be discontinued.  (The 1400XL and 1450XLD
computers were also introduced, but these never made it into production.)
Peripherals introduced: the 1027 printer, 1030 modem, Light Pen +
AtariGraphics, Touch Tablet + AtariArtist, Remote Control Wireless Joysticks,
CX80 Trak-Ball, AtariLab Starter Set With Temperature Module, AtariLab Light
Module (AtariLab developed by Dickinson College).  Software introduced by
Atari: DOS 3, Microsoft BASIC II, Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong
Junior, Pengo, Robotron: 2084, Joust, Football, Tennis, Paint, AtariMusic I,
AtariMusic II, Mickey in the Great Outdoors, Battlezone. (Also shown but never
shipped: the 1060 CP/M Add-On Module, the 1090 XL Expansion System, Tempest,
Soccer, Peter Pan's Daring Journey, The Mysteries of Wonderland, and the
AtariLab Modules: Timekeeper, Lie Detector, Reaction time, Heartbeat,
Biofeedback, Mechanics)

The 600XL had been known as "Surely" and the 800XL had been known as
"Surely Plus" inside Atari.

June 11-Sept 10: Atari co-sponsored the Punta Cana Club Med/Atari Computer
vacation getaway on the island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic.

Summer: Atari Computer Camps expanded to seven sites nationwide (U.S.):
Greenfield MA, Faribault MN, East Stroudsburg PA, Asheville NC, Glencoe MD,
Danville CA, and San Diego CA.  It was the second and final year of the
program.

Summer: Atari released the Atari 400 Home Computer 48K RAM Expansion Kit,
compatible with both the 8K and 16K versions of the 400.

July 7: Warner Communications announced that Atari chairman Ray Kassar had
resigned, to be replaced by James J. Morgan.  Morgan was previously executive
vice president of Philip Morris USA, handling the company's US$4.3 billion
cigarette operations.  Until Morgan's arrival, Emanuel Gerard would serve as
interim chairman and CEO.

July: Production of the Atari 1200XL computer ended.

August: Atari Chairman-to-be James Morgan instituted another major management
reorganization at Atari.  Atari Sales and Distribution Company and Atari
Manufacturing Company were both dissolved, their functions to be merged into
the Atari Products Company division (home computers and home video game
systems), with 5 divisions of its own:
  - Atari Products Company (no division head)
  - - Management (marketing) (John Cavalier, president)
  - - Sales (Donald Kingsborough, president)
  - - Manufacturing (Paul Malloy, president)
  - - Engineering (John Farrand, president)
  - - International (Anton Bruehl, president)
The presidents of all Atari Products Co. divisions would report directly to
Morgan.

Sept83-June84: The "Catch On to Computers" program, a joint effort between
Atari and General Foods' Post Cereals, offered Atari computers, equipment, and
educational software to schools for collecting Post cereal proof-of-purchase
points over the 1983-1984 school year.

September: Ted Kahn stepped down as executive director of the Atari Institute
for Educational Action Research.  More than US$1 million worth of computers,
software, and cash stipends had been awarded to over 100 nonprofit
organizations since the program's founding in 1981.

September: The Atari 800 (with 48K RAM, without Atari BASIC) would now retail
for US$165 while supplies lasted.

Fall: Atari begin shipping the 1050 disk drive with DOS 3 (replacing DOS
2.0S).

Fall: The Atari 600XL/800XL both shipped, retail price US$199/$299.

Fall: Atari shipped the Communicator II package, containing the 835 modem.

October 7: John Cavalier departed from his position as president of the
Management (marketing) division of the Atari Products Company.

October: Atari launched Atari Learning Systems, a new division dedicated to
product development, sales, and support for K-12 educators in the U.S.
Directed by Linda Gordon.

October: Atari France launched the "L'Atarien" magazine, issue 0 (pilot ?),
the "magazine of the Atari Club".  In its first issues, the magazine was
mostly centered on the 2600 VCS and 400/800 computers, but the focus quickly
shifted to the XL computers in the next issues.  Officially the magazine was
issued by "Rive Ouest - Cato Johnson France" on behalf of "PECF Atari France"
(Issue #0, Page 3).  "PECF" was the nickname of the company "Productions et
Editions Cinematographiques Francaises", a company 100% owned by Warner
Communications.

October-December: "Catch on to Computers" computer literacy training programs
for children, adults, and teachers, sponsored by Atari and General Mills' Post
Cereals, ran in 10 cities across the U.S.

November: Atari announced that because of production snags in Hong Kong, it
would be able to fill only 60 per cent of its Christmas orders for the 600XL/
800XL.  Atari also said that the 1400XL and 1450XLD would not ship until 1984.

November: Atari opened the Atari Adventure center in St. Louis, MO.  The
concept combined a traditional video game arcade with a hands-on public
computer classroom/lab featuring Atari XL computers, along with a new
technology display area.

"Atari sold roughly 250,000 of its 800 series computers last year"
  - Time magazine, July 16, 1984

1984
January 1: Atari increased U.S. dealer prices for the Atari 600XL and 800XL
by US$40 each, to US$180 and US$280, respectively.

January 7-10: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced: the 1064 Memory
Module (for the 600XL), The Atari Translator, Typo Attack, Moon Patrol, 
Jungle Hunt, Millipede, Sky Writer, SynFile+, SynCalc, SynTrend, The Legacy
(shipped as Final Legacy), Player Maker, Screen Maker.  (Atari confirmed that
the unshipped 1400XL computer was canceled.  Atari CEO James Morgan said the
unshipped Atari 1450XLD was "exhibited only as a demonstration of the
company's intent to market a high-end computer in 1984, although the specifics
of such a product are currently under review." --Creative Computing May 1984.
Software introduced by Atari but never shipped: Atari Pascal 2.0,
Atari Super PILOT, Captain Hook's Revenge, Berserk, Pop'R Spell, Mario Bros.
(a completely rewritten Mario Bros. was ultimately released in 1989))

January 14: At San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel, Atari awarded the third
annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to Mark Reid for his APX title,
Getaway!.

January 23: Atari chairman and CEO James Morgan announced another management
reorganization at Atari.  John Farrand was promoted to president of Atari, and
would also now serve as president and COO of the Atari Products Company
(home computers, home video games, and now coin-operated arcade games).

February: Atari 5200 production ended.

March: Fred Thorlin, director of APX since 1982, left Atari.

Spring: Issue Five turned out to be the final issue of Atari Input/Output, the
magazine of the Atari Home Computer Club (Atari UK).

April: Atari shut down the APX operation.  Software rights were returned to
the original authors.

May 8: In an elaborate press event, Atari and Lucasfilm introduced Ballblazer
and Rescue on Fractalus!, developed by Lucasfilm, to be shipped by Atari on
cartridge for the 400/800 computers and the 5200 SuperSystem.  (The Atari
computer versions were finally shipped on disk by Epyx (USA) and Activision
(UK) in 1985.  The 5200 versions were finally released by Atari Corp. in
1986.)

May 21: Atari disclosed that the 5200 was no longer in production.  More than
1 million 5200's had been sold to date. (Washington Post, May 22, 1984, C3)

June 3: Atari motto at the Summer CES in Chicago: "June 3, 1984--The Day The
Future Began." (The previously announced then cancelled 1450XLD, or some new
model similar to it, was now to ship in time for Christmas 1984.  The 1090 XL
Expansion System was shown again, and Atari also offered specs for a new high-
end computer under development.  None of these shipped.)  Atari introduced:
Proofreader (for AtariWriter), Track and Field, Crystal Castles.  Atari also
introduced The Last Starfighter, which was ultimately re-worked and shipped as
Star Raiders II in 1986.  (Also introduced by Atari but never shipped:
MindLink hardware device, Jr. Pac-Man, Peek-A-Boo, Hobgoblin, This Is Ground
Control, Through the Starbridge, Find It!, Elevator Action, Yaacov Agam's
Interactive Painting, The ABC of CPR: First Aid, Wheeler-Dealer, Simulated
Computer, Telly Turtle, Word Tutor, Letter Tutor, Gremlins, Pole Position II)

June: Atari France announced the SECAM model of the 800XL.  (The SECAM 600XL
was also announced, but this never made it into production.)  List prices:
600XL PAL: 2200 FRF ; 600XL SECAM: 2500 FRF ; 800XL PAL: 3200 FRF ; 
800XL SECAM: 3500 FRF ; 1010: 890 FRF ; 1050: 3690 FRF ; 1020: 2590 FRF; 
1027: 3490 FRF ; Atari Touch Tablet: 890 FRF

July 1: Agreed on this date, effective June 30, the assets of the Atari home
computer and home video game businesses were sold by Warner Communications to
Tramel Technology Ltd., which had been formed on May 17, 1984 by its chairman
and CEO Jack Tramiel (pronounced truh-MELL), the founder and former president
of Commodore International.  The transaction included exclusive use of the
"Atari" name and "Fuji" logo in the home computer and home video game markets,
along with the intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, and
copyrights) owned by Atari in conjunction with its home computer and home
video game businesses.  The home computer and home video game rights to Atari
coin-operated arcade games developed to date were included as well.

Tramel Technology adopted the new name, Atari Corporation.  Jack Tramiel would
continue as chairman and CEO, and (son) Sam Tramiel would serve as president.

Summer: The new Atari Corp. halted all manufacturing, and dismissed most of
its inherited Silicon Valley workforce, roughly 1,000 people.

Upon a review of the existing product lines and inventories, it was
determined to resume production of the 800XL computer and the 2600 VCS.
The 600XL was discontinued, and further work on prototype new XL computer
models was halted.  There would be no new game releases for the already-
discontinued 5200.  (Atari would go on to release three 5200 titles in 1986).
An unannounced new cost-reduced design for the 2600 was also shelved.
(This "2600jr" would finally be released in 1986.)
Atari Connection magazine was shut down.

July 13: Warner Communications announced the sale of 78% of its WCI Labs
subsidiary (internal co-developer of the Atari XL computers) to WCI Labs'
management.  As a result of the transaction, which was made effective
retroactive to June 1, 1984, a new privately held company, the Take One
Company, was formed, with Steven T. Mayer as chairman and chief executive.
Warner Communications initially retained 22% ownership of Take One.

August: Atari engineers completed the prototype "800XLF" motherboard design,
to be used in new-production 800XL computers.  The new 800XL machines would
include the new FREDDIE memory management chip (previously developed at
Atari, Inc.), the new Revision C of Atari BASIC, and a reinstated chrominance
video signal on the Monitor port (missing on the 1200XL/600XL/800XL produced
by Atari, Inc.).  The new 800XL machines would be produced in PAL and (for
the first time, France-specific) SECAM versions, but not the NTSC version due
to ample existing supply of NTSC 800XL machines.

August: Atari reduced the retail price for the 800XL from US$250 to US$179.

November 13: Atari held a press conference at company headquarters in
Sunnyvale, CA in which they outlined their basic marketing strategy for 1985.
The U.S. price for the 800XL was reduced from US$179 to US$119.

December 6: It was reported that Atari would make an immediate 23 per cent
reduction to DM 499 (US$160) in the price of its 800XL home computer in West
Germany and similar cuts in the UK and Italy.  Atari estimated the company's
share of the West German home computer market at 8%, compared with 2% in 1983.
In the UK, the 800XL price cut was from 169 to 129 pounds.

December: Atari France announced the new prices of the XL computers range:
600XL PAL: 1599 FRF ; 800XL PAL: 2199 FRF ; 800XL SECAM: 2499 FRF; 
1010: 449 FRF ; 1050: 2699 FRF ; 1020: 899 FRF ; 1027: 3399 FRF;
Atari Touch Tablet: 649 FRF

December: Atari France resumed L'Atarien magazine with issue #5.  (It had been
on hold since issue #4, June 1984.)

December: Atari engineers completed the prototype "900XLF" motherboard design,
to be used in the forthcoming 65XE computer.

"The 800XL has sold almost 500,000 units through 1984" --Atari's Sigmund
Hartmann, Atari Explorer magazine, Summer 1985, p. 33.

"By the end of 1984, the Atari 800XL will have sold more than 600,000 units
since its introduction more than a year ago, according to Kenneth Lim of
Dataquest, a market research firm in San Jose." InfoWorld January 7/14, 1985

1985
January 5: Atari introduced the 65XE and 130XE home computers at the Winter
CES in Las Vegas.  (The 65XEP and 65XEM computers were announced, but these
never made it into production.)  The 800XL would be discontinued.  XE
peripherals introduced: the XMM801 and XDM121 printers and the XM301 modem.
XE Software introduced: AtariWriter Plus, Silent Butler, Song Painter (later
renamed Music Painter), The Learning Phone (PLATO).  (Also introduced but
never shipped: the XTM201 and XTC201 printers, the XC1411 and XM128 monitors,
and the XF521 disk drive. XE Software: Infinity (integrated word processor/
spreadsheet/database/telecomm software, developed for Atari by Matrix
Software / Vincent Garafolo), Shopkeeper, Atari Tutorial.
Epyx introduced Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus for the Atari 8-bit
computers, both announced but not shipped by the old Atari, Inc.

Winter: Atari shipped the The Learning Phone cartridge, designed at Atari by
Vincent Wu.  Atari access software for the PLATO Service Network (Control
Data Corporation) had been in development at Atari since 1981.

February: First issue of Atari Explorer magazine, the glossy published by
Atari (U.S.) Corp. in support of the XE and ST computers.  Headed by Neil
Harris.

February: The new "L'Atarien" magazine was now issued by "Pressimages" on
behalf of "PECF Atari France" (Issue #6, Page 3).

February: Retail prices from Atari France: 800XL SECAM: 1700 FRF ;
1050: 2600 FRF ; 1027: 2600 FRF

March 5: At the San Leandro Computer Club Atari announced that they had
"postponed plans to produce an 8-bit portable computer, due to lack of
interest."  Also, "plans for an XEM 8-bit music computer have been postponed
indefinitely due to problems with finalizing the AMY sound chip."  (The AMY
chip had been developed at Atari, Inc.  Atari Corp. now owned the technology,
but had not retained the original design team.  Thus, the new plan to
integrate AMY into the XE system, as the announced 65XEM computer, turned out
to be prohibitively expensive.  Atari ultimately sold the AMY chip and
technologies to a Milwaukee based audio design house called Sight & Sound.
See: http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8bits/xe/xe_protos/65xem.html )
John Skruch was introduced as software product manager for the 8-bit XE line.
(CN, Apr85, p. 19)

April: Atari shipped the 130XE, retail price US$149.95.
(The 65XE was held out of production due to ample supply of the 800XL.)

April: Atari France announced the availability of the Atari 1029 printer.  The
price was not announced.

April/May: Atari began shipping the 1050 disk drive with DOS 2.5 (replacing
DOS 3).

June: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari introduced Planetarium (prototypes
sometimes called Home Astronomer).  (Atari also introduced VIP Professional
and GEM Desktop for the XE, but these never shipped.)  DataSoft re-introduced
3 titles for the XE previously shipped by Atari: Pole Position, Pac-Man, and
Dig Dug.

June: Atari France retail price for the 130XE SECAM: 1990 FRF

Fall: Atari shipped the disk-based AtariWriter Plus.  Designed and
programmed from scratch by William Robinson (the core word processor),
Ron Rosen (Mail Merge module), and R. Stanley Kistler (Proofreader module) for
Micro Fantasy, for Atari.  Manual by Jeffrey D. Bass.  Package included a
version for 48K/64K Atari computers as well as a version supporting the 128K
RAM of the 130XE.

Fall: Atari shipped the XM301 modem.

November 15: Atari announced the creation of an electronic entertainment
division, to be headed by Michael V. Katz, formerly head of Epyx.

November: At the fall COMDEX in Las Vegas Atari again showed the XMM801,
The Silent Butler, and Atari Planetarium, each to ship by Christmas.

1986
January 9: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced Star Raiders II
for the XE, and also announced (but did not show) the XC11 program recorder.
A redesigned version of the 2600 (unofficially, "2600 Jr."; previously
designed by Atari, Inc.) was introduced.

February: Cover date of Issue #10, the final issue of L'Atarien magazine from
Atari France.

February: Atari France retail prices: 130XE SECAM: 1490 FRF ; 1010: 490 FRF ;
1050: 1490 FRF ; 1029: 1490 FRF

March: Database Exhibitions staged the first Atari User Show at the Novotel
in Hammersmith, London, UK.  (Atari User May 1988)

March: At the Hanover Fair, Germany, Atari introduced a working prototype of
what would ultimately ship as the XEP80 interface, and they also described a
new DOS, which was later named ADOS, and which ultimately shipped as DOS XE.
(Atari also introduced plans for a 3.5" disk drive (the XF351) but this never
shipped.)

Spring: Atari shipped the 65XE, retail price US$99.95.

April 28-May 1: Atari introduced a working prototype of what would ultimately
ship as the SX212 modem at the Spring COMDEX (Computer Dealer's Exhibition)
in Atlanta.  Atari also announced that the 80 Column Card would be out "late
this summer."  (Atari also reiterated plans for a 3.5" disk drive (the XF351)
but this never shipped.)

June 1: Atari announced that David H. Ahl was the new editor of Atari Explorer
magazine.

June 1-4: Atari introduced the XEP80 interface at the Summer CES in Chicago.

Summer: Bob Gleadow, previously of Commodore, became the new general manager
of Atari UK.  Max Bambridge, the outgoing head of Atari UK, was transferred
to the Far East to oversee Atari manufacturing. (Atari User May 1988)

Sept/Oct: First issue of Atari Explorer magazine produced by the new
subsidiary, Atari Explorer Publications Corp. of Mendham, NJ, headed by David
H. Ahl, founder and former editor of Creative Computing magazine.

1987
January 8: Atari previewed the XE game system at the Winter CES in Las Vegas.

February: Atari introduced the XE video game system at the American
International TOY FAIR in New York.

June: "Flying High" was Atari's motto at the Summer CES in Chicago.  Atari 
introduced the XF551 and ADOS (renamed DOS XE when shipped), AtariWriter 80,
and SX Express!.  Atari introduced the two pack-in games for the XE game
system, Bug Hunt (proto names had been Troubleshooter or Blast 'Em) and
Flight Simulator II.  Atari announced that they would be re-releasing many
of their own 400/800/XL/XE cartridge titles for the XE, including Battlezone,
Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and the former disk title, Star Raiders II.
Atari also announced many new Atari XE cartridge titles, including Crossbow,
Hardball!, Fight Night, One-On-One Basketball, Archon, Ballblazer,
Rescue on Fractalus, Lode Runner, Blue Max, David's Midnight Magic, Gato, and
Barnyard Blaster.

Summer: Atari shipped the XDM121 printer.

September: Atari shipped the XEP80 interface and the SX212 modem (SX Express!
disk software to be sold separately).

Fall: Atari shipped the XE game system in late September, and it reached most
dealer shelves by mid-October, retail price US$150.  Package included:
Missile Command and Atari BASIC on ROM, keyboard, Joystick, Light Gun,
Bug Hunt cartridge and Flight Simulator II cartridge.

December: Atari sold 100,000 XE Game Systems in the U.S. at Christmas and did
not meet demand (Antic magazine, May 1988, p. 39)

December 31: From the Atari Annual Report: "In Czechoslovakia, the German
Democratic Republic, and Poland the Atari 800XE and 65XE computers have gained
brand dominance and are among the most popular systems being sold in these
countries."

Atari game cartridges re-released by Atari in 1987:
Caverns of Mars, Centipede, Donkey Kong Jr., Eastern Front (1941),
Final Legacy, Football, Galaxian, Joust, Millipede, Moon Patrol, Ms. Pac-Man,
Pac-Man, Pole Position, Super Breakout, Tennis

1988
Winter: Atari shipped 12 new XE game cartridges: Archon, Ballblazer,
Barnyard Blaster, BattleZone, Blue Max, David's Midnight Magic, Fight Night,
HardBall, Lode Runner, One-On-One Basketball, Rescue on Fractalus,
Star Raiders II 

April: Atari shipped the XF551 disk drive (with DOS 2.5).

May: Sam Tramiel became CEO of Atari (replacing father Jack Tramiel).  Sam
Tramiel would also continue as president.  Jack Tramiel remained chairman.

June: Atari promoted the XE game system at the Summer CES in Chicago, under
their "Winning Package" theme.

Summer: Atari shipped the new XE game cartridge, Gato.

Fall: Atari opened an office of the Entertainment Electronics Division in
Chicago, headed by Larry Siegel, vice president of software development.
Mike Katz, based in Sunnyvale, remained president of the Entertainment
Electronics Division.

Fall?: Atari shipped the new XE game cartridge, Necromancer.

December 31: From the Atari Annual Report: "Our XE line of 8-bit computer
systems is extremely popular throughout Eastern Europe, and most recently, has
begun to appear on retail shelves in the Soviet Union."

Atari game cartridges re-released by Atari in 1988: 
Donkey Kong, Super Breakout.
Atari also re-released the AtariWriter cartridge in 1988.

1989
January: Atari shipped DOS XE, and also began shipping the XF551 disk drive
with DOS XE (replacing DOS 2.5).  Developed by Bill Wilkinson for Atari.

Winter: Atari shipped 3 new XE game cartridges: Ace of Aces, Desert Falcon,
Mario Bros.

February: Mike Katz departed from Atari as president of the Entertainment
Electronics division.

Spring: Atari shipped the new XE game cartridges: Food Fight, Karateka,
Crystal Castles, Dark Chambers, Crossbow, Thunderfox, Choplifter,
Into the Eagle's Nest, Crime Buster, Airball, Summer Games

May/June: Premier issue of Atarian magazine, "the official magazine of the
Atarian Video Game Club sponsored by Atari (U.S.) Corp."  Published by Atari
Explorer Publications, David H. Ahl, Publisher/Editor.

Summer: Atari shipped AtariWriter 80, programmed by William Robinson and Ron
Rosen for Micro Fantasy.  The package included Proofreader (programmed by
R. Stanley Kistler) and Mail Merge modules, and required the XEP80 interface.
Like AtariWriter Plus, the package included a version for 48K/64K Atari
computers as well as a version supporting the 128K RAM of the 130XE.

October: Third and final issue of Atarian magazine.

December 31: From the Atari Annual Report: "sales of games products such as
the 2600 and 7800 game systems and the range of older XE 8 bit computers
decreased by 35% to $101.6 million, or 24% of total net sales for the year
ended December 31, 1989, from $155.5 million, or 34%, of total net sales in
1988."  From the Atari 10-K: "The Company's traditional video game offerings
include the 2600 VCS, the 7800 ProSystem, and the XE Game System."

1990
March 15: Atari Explorer Publications was shut down, and Atari Explorer
magazine went on hiatus.

May?: At the Atari shareholders meeting, Atari stated that last year, 250,000
XE computers were sold.  In Poland, the XE sold 70,000 units, making it the
most popular computer in Poland. (Atari Interface, June/July 1990, p. 6)

1991
Jan/Feb: Return of Atari Explorer magazine, now headed by John Jainschigg and
published in-house at Atari.

May: "Atari Canada's General Manager Geoff Earle announces a new trade up
program for owners of Atari 8-bit computers to a 520STFM for $250.  The 8-bit
computer line is admitted to be discontinued."  (AtariUser Jan'92, p. 20)

May 14: At the Atari shareholders meeting, Atari stated that the XE was still
in production, being sold in South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle
East. (Atari Interface magazine, June 1991, p. 10)

November 23-24: Chicago Computerfest by Atari / Lake County Atari Computer
Enthusiasts (LCACE), Ramada Hotel O'Hare, Rosemont, Illinois.  Atari (U.S.)
brought substantially all of their remaining inventory of 8-bit computer
products for clearance sales.

December: "..as of Christmas 1991, Atari decided to discontinue the XEGS,
2600, and 7800 systems." --Tim Duarte, AtariUser magazine, July 1992, p. 22.

December 28: From the Atari 10-K SEC filing: "Atari's XE series computers are
targeted for the price conscious markets.  The 65XE and 130XE have 64k and
128k of internal RAM, and generally retail for less than $100 and $150,
respectively.  Both are supported by a variety of peripheral equipment and a
variety of software titles including entertainment software.  This computer
line retains compatibility with the Company's previous generation 8-bit
computer systems, i.e., the 400 and 800XL computers."

1992
Atari announced that support for all 8-bit products was discontinued as of the
beginning of this year, according to Atari Classics magazine. (Dec. 1992, p.4)

June 2: At the Atari stockholders meeting, Atari stated that the XE line of
computers was still being made.  Though not available in the U.S. market, XE
systems were being made for sale in Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe and
Germany. (Atari Interface magazine, Fall 1992, p. 19)

December 31: For the first time, the XE was not mentioned in Atari's Annual
Report to Shareholders.

1993
Jan/Feb: Final issue of Atari Explorer magazine.

1994
January 1: From the Atari Annual Report: "The Company also has some inventory
of its older 16-bit computer products and 8-bit game products, namely ST and
TT series of computers, 2600 and 7800 video games systems and XE computer and
Portfolio products.  As a result of these inventories being technologically
obsolete and noncompetitive, the Company has written off these inventories.
The Company is expecting minimal sales from these products in the future."

1996
July 30: Atari Corp. merged with JT Storage, Inc. into a new company,
JTS Acquisition Corp.  The merged company immediately adopted the new name,
JTS Corp.  The prior business of Atari would now be conducted through the
Atari Division of JTS; however "the Atari Division was not expected to
represent a significant portion of JTS business," JTS said.

1998
February 23: JTS sold substantially all of the assets of its Atari Division,
consisting primarily of the Atari intellectual property rights and license
agreements, to HIAC XI Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive
(itself a unit of toy company Hasbro, Inc.), for US$5 million.  HIAC XI was
then renamed Atari Interactive, Inc.

2001
January 29: Infogrames Entertainment announced completion of its acquisition
of Hasbro Interactive from Hasbro, renaming the subsidiary Infogrames
Interactive, Inc.  Atari Interactive was included in the transaction.

2003
May 7: Infogrames Entertainment folded its Infogrames Interactive (the former
Hasbro Interactive) subsidiary into its Atari Interactive subsidiary.

2009
May 29: The name of Infogrames Entertainment was changed to Atari.

TODAY: The Atari copyrights/trademarks/patents associated with the
400/800/XL/XE 8-bit Atari computer line are owned by Atari Interactive, Inc.,
a subsidiary of Atari, SA of Lyon, France.  http://corporate.atari.com/

===================================================================
End of atari-8-bit/faq
===================================================================

rinter, 830 modem, and 850 interface at
the Winter CES in Las Vegas.  Also, list prices for the 400 and 800 packages
increased to US$630 and US$1,080 (up from US$550 and US$1,000).  Software
titles introduced: Assembler Editor, Video Easel, Music Composer,
3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Star Raiders, TeleLink 1

Winter: Atari shipped the 810 disk drive (with DOS I) and the 820 printer
(US$449.95).

March: Atari shipped Star Raiders.

June 15: Atari introduced the 822 printer at the Summer CES in Chicago.
(The 815 dual disk drive with CX8201 DOS 2.0D Atari 815 Master Diskette and 
the CX70 light pen were also introduced, but these never made it to mass
production.)
Also introduced: the Atari Accountant series of software programs (developed
by Arthur Young & Co. for Atari): General Accounting System, 
Accounts Receivable System, Inventory Control Program.

Summer: Atari modified the 800 computer package.  The computer would now ship
with 16K RAM (up from 8K); the 410 program recorder and Educational System
Master Cartridge were removed from the package; the Atari BASIC Reference
Manual was added to the package.  The retail price remained US$1,080.

Summer/Fall: Atari shipped the 825 printer (US$999.95), 830 modem, and
850 interface (US$219.95).

Fall?: The Atari 800 arrived in the UK: 649 pounds for the 800 with 16K RAM,
39 pounds for Atari BASIC, 69 pounds for a 16K RAM module for the 800.
(Atari User May 1988)

October 21: Roger H. Badertscher was named president of the newly established
Computer Division at Atari.  He was previously vice president and general
manager of the microprocessor division of Signetics, an electronics
semiconductor manufacturer.

October: Visicorp introduced the Atari version of VisiCalc.

By the end of 1980, Atari had sold 35,000 computers.

1981
January 8-11: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari announced that the list
price for the 400 computer package with 8K RAM installed was reduced to
US$499.95 (previously: US$630), and that the list price for the 16K RAM
version of the 400 package would be US$630.  Also introduced: Asteroids,
Astrology (ultimately released via APX), Atari Word Processor,
An Invitation to Programming 2, An Invitation to Programming 3,
Missile Command, Personal Financial Management System,
Personal Fitness Program (ultimately released via APX), PILOT, 
SCRAM (A Nuclear Reactor Simulation)(by Chris Crawford)

Winter: Atari shipped the 822 printer, and released DOS II version 2.0S.

Winter: The development rights to Atari BASIC, the Atari FMS (DOS) and the
Atari Assembler/Editor program were purchased from SMI by Bill Wilkinson for
his new company, Optimized Systems Software (OSS).

Spring: First issue of The Atari Connection, the glossy magazine published by
the Atari Computer Division in support of the 400/800.

April 3-5: Atari Software Acquisition Program (ASAP) staff attended the 6th
West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco, offering a grand prize of
US$25,000 in cash and US$75,000 in Atari products to runners-up for Atari
computer software authors.  In order to qualify for the awards, programs would
have to be accepted and sold through the soon-to-be-launched Atari Program
Exchange.

May 4-7: At the National Computer Conference in Chicago, Atari announced that
the 8K Atari 400 was being discontinued and that the price on the 16K version
was being reduced to US$399 (was US$630); also, the 400 would no longer be
sold with the Atari BASIC cartridge and the Atari BASIC: A Self-Teaching Guide
book.  Other price reductions: CX852 8K RAM module now US$49.95 (was
US$124.95), CX853 16K RAM module now US$99.95 (was US$199.95), 820 printer now
US$299.95 (was US$449.95).  Also introduced: Dow Jones Investment Evaluator,
Atari Microsoft BASIC, Macro Assembler and Program-Text Editor

May: Atari launched the Atari Program Exchange (APX), a user-written software
distribution unit within the Atari Computer Division.  The APX concept had
been the brain-child of Dale Yocam, and APX was guided by Fred Thorlin since
its inception in February 1981.  See http://www.atariarchives.org/APX/

Summer?: Atari created the Atari Institute for Educational Action Research,
which began awarding major grants of Atari home computer products, cash
stipends, and/or consulting services to selected individuals and non-profit
institutions or organizations interested in developing new educational uses
for computers in schools, community programs, or in the home.  Founded and
directed by Dr. Ted M. Kahn, Ph.D.  More than US$250,000 would be awarded in
the program's first year.

August 26: Date of the internal Atari document "Z800 Product Specification,
Revision 1" reflecting Operating System work for the SWEET16 project to create
a new series of computers to replace the 400/800.  See:
http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8BITS/1200xl/1200xl.html

September: Ingersoll Electronics was the exclusive sales distributor for
Atari 400 and 800 computers in the UK.

October: Atari 810 disk drives began shipping with the Data Separator Board.
The enhancement "improves the drive's ability to distinguish between data
pulses and clock pulses on the disk.  This is necessary in part because of the
variations in the characteristics of different diskettes.  The data separator
lowers the chance of a misread from the disk." (Antic Oct.82)

November: The Atari 400/800 would now all ship with the GTIA chip rather than
CTIA as in earlier machines, increasing the palette of simultaneously
displayable colors to 256 and adding 3 new graphics modes. (Antic Oct.82)

November: The Atari 400/800 began shipping with OS ROM version B, improving
peripheral I/O control routines. (Antic Oct.82)

November: Atari 810 disk drives began shipping with ROM C and with DOS II 
version 2.0S (replacing the original Atari DOS I).  "ROM C causes diskettes to
be formatted with an improved sector layout which is more efficient than that
used by earlier 810 control ROM's." (Antic Oct.82)

December 30: Atari said that it would cut the retail price for the 800 home
computer (with 16K RAM) to US$899 from US$1,080.

December: The book, De Re Atari was published by Atari, distributed by APX.
De Re Atari was written by the Atari Software Development Support Group.
Chris Crawford wrote Sections 1-6 and Appendices A & B.  Lane Winner wrote
Section 10 and Appendix D with assistance from Jim Cox.  Amy Chen wrote
Appendix C.  Jim Dunion wrote Sections 8-9.  Kathleen Pitta wrote
Appendex E.  Box Fraser wrote Section 7.  Gus Makreas prepared the Glossary.

1982
January 7-10: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced Pac-Man
($44.95), Centipede ($44.95), The Bookkeeper, and The Home Filing Manager.
Space Invaders, previously released on cassette, was now re-released on
cartridge.  The APX title, Caverns of Mars would be the first APX title to be
transferred into Atari's standard product line ($39.95 disk).
Previewed at the show: the Atari Video System X (would ship as the 5200).

January 6: Atari announced the publication, Atari Special Editions, a catalog
of more than 400 products for the Atari computers from 117 vendors.

January 16: At San Francisco's Maxwell's Plum restaurant in Ghiradelli
Square, Atari awarded the first annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to
Fernando Herrera for his APX title, My First Alphabet.

Winter: Ted Richards' name first appeared as editor of The Atari Connection
magazine.

Spring?: Atari began producing 810 disk drives using the revised "Analog"
(later, "810M") design, including new Analog Board, new Power Supply board,
and new 10 pin flat cable connecting the two.  The 3 components were also
offered together as the CB101128 "Grass Valley Analog Board Set" for
"Pre-Analog" 810 drives.

June 8: Atari announced the 5200 Home Entertainment System.  Later dubbed the
SuperSystem, the cartridge-based 5200 would be marketed alongside the ultra-
popular Atari VCS (soon to be known as the 2600).  While the 5200 required
unique game cartridges and controllers, the internal hardware and operating
system were nearly identical to that of the 400/800 computers.  Suggested
retail price: US$299.95.

June 6-9: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari announced Atari Speed Reading
(US$74.95), Music Tutor (title never shipped. MC's speculation: this would
have been an Atari-branded re-release of the APX title, Musical Computer-The
Music Tutor), Juggles' House, Juggles' Rainbow, TeleLink II (US$79.95), and
the Communicator II kit (new 835 modem + Telelink II) (US$279.95).  The APX
title, My First Alphabet would be re-released as part of Atari's standard
product line.  Atari also announced the new retail price for the 400 computer
was US$349 (previously, US$399). (CC Oct82 p180)  Keith Schaefer was vice-
president of sales for Atari's Home Computer division.

June: Roger Badertscher resigned from his position as president of Atari's
Home Computer Division.

Summer: First year of Atari Computer Camps, held at 3 locations: The
University of San Diego (CA), The Asheville School (Asheville, NC), and East
Stroudsburg State College (PA).  (Camp was cancelled at the fourth announced
site of Lakeland College in Sheboygan WI.)  The camps were managed for Atari
by Specialty Camps, Inc.  Curriculum developed by Robert A. Kahn at Atari.
Program overseen by Linda Gordon, Atari vice president for special projects.

August 24: John C. Cavalier was named president of Atari's Home Computer
Division.  His most recent job was vice president and general manager of
American Can Company's Dixie and Dixie/Marathon unit, makers of consumer paper
products.

September: Steve Mayer resigned as senior vice president of engineering at
Atari to form, and serve as chairman and CEO of, WCI Labs, Inc.  The location
was previously known as the Atari NY Lab.  Like Atari, WCI Labs would be a
wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Communications.  With Gregg Squires as
project manager, WCI Labs would be responsible for the hardware engineering
for the Sweet-16 ("Elizabeth" or "Liz") computer project, which would lead to
the release of the 1200XL.

September 29: Date of the internal Atari document, "Sweet-16 Product
Specification".  As of this document, the Sweet-16 project had evolved into
two specific computer model designs, a 16K RAM version tentatively named
"1200" and a 64K RAM version tentatively named "1200X" (earlier: a 16K "600"
and a 64K "1200"), with both models now sharing the same case design.
However, also as of this document, plans called for manufacture of only the
64K version.  The project would soon lead to the release of the 1200XL.
http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8BITS/1200xl/1200xl.html

October: Atari shipped the 5200 SuperSystem.

Fall: The suggested retail price for the Atari 800 was US$679 with 48K RAM
standard (previously: US$899/16K).  The Atari 400 retail price was US$299
(previously, $349).

November: Atari began producing new 810 disk drives with the "center flip
door" drive mechanism by Tandon, instead of the "push button, sliding door"
mechanism by MPI used in the original design. (Antic May 83)  Technical
documentation would refer to the new design as the "810T".

December: Atari shipped Galaxian, Defender, and VisiCalc (by VisiCorp) in
time for the holiday shopping season.

December 13: Atari introduced the 1200XL home computer at a press conference
at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.  "We believe that the Atari 1200XL will
set the standard for a new generation in home computing and, once again,
positions Atari on the leading edge of electronic technology and creative
computing," Atari chairman Ray Kassar said.  The list price for the 1200XL
would be "well under $1,000."  The 1200XL was the first computer resulting
from the Sweet-16/"Elizabeth"/"Liz" project inside Atari.  Peripherals
introduced: the 1010 program recorder (US$99), 1020 printer/plotter (US$299),
and 1025 printer (US$549).

Atari sold 400,000 of its 400 and 800 computers in 1982, according to The
Yankee Group, a Boston-based computer consulting firm, accounting for 17
percent of all home computer sales.

1983
January: The retail price for the Atari 800 (with 48K RAM, without Atari
BASIC) was reduced from US$679 to US$499.  The retail price for the Atari 400
was reduced from US$299 to US$199.

Winter 82/83: First issue of I/O, later known as Atari Input/Output, the 
magazine of the Atari Home Computer Club (operated by Atari in the UK).

January 6-9: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari showed the 1200XL, 1010,
1020, and 1025, introduced Qix, E.T. Phone Home!, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong,
Family Finances, Timewise, and AtariWriter, and also announced the upcoming
Disney Educational Series.  Caverns of Mars would be re-released on cartrdige
(previously: disk), and the APX title, Eastern Front (1941) (by Chris
Crawford) would be be re-released in the main Atari product line, on
cartridge.  The CX22 Trak-Ball was introduced, marketed for the 2600 but
compatible with the computers.  The retail price for the 1200XL was announced
to be US$899.

January 15: At San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel, Atari awarded the second
annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to David Buehler for his APX title,
Typo Attack.

January: Atari began production of the 1200XL (made in the USA).

Winter: Atari shipped the AtariWriter cartridge.  AtariWriter was programmed
by William V. Robinson (author of DataSoft's Text Wizard) with Mark Rieley for
DataSoft, for product manager Gary Furr at Atari.

Winter/Spring: "Computers: Expressway to Tomorrow" was an Atari-produced
assembly program for junior and senior high schools in the U.S., offering both
entertainment and computer education using films, slides, music, and a live
host to explore the role of computers in society.  (MC's note: I remember that
this came to my school!)

March: Atari shipped the 1200XL, suggested retail price US$899.

March 18-20: At the 8th Annual West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco,
Atari announced the 1050 disk drive, and introduced Atari Logo (developed by
Logo Computer Systems, Inc. (LCSI) for Atari).

April: Atari announced that Michael Moone would no longer serve as president
of the Consumer Electronics Division, as the division would be consolidated
with the Home Computer Division.

April/May: Production of the 1200XL shifted from the USA to Taiwan.

May: Production of Atari 400/800 computers and 810 disk drives ended.

May: The retail price for the Atari 400 was reduced from US$199 to US$99.

June 1: Atari consolidated the businesses of the Home Computer Division with
the Consumer Electronics (home video games) Division.  There would now be
three Divisions for both home computers and home video games:
  - Atari Products Company (development & marketing, John Cavalier, president)
  - Atari Sales and Distribution Company (Donald Kingsborough, president)
  - Atari Manufacturing Company (Paul Malloy, president)

June: Atari introduced the 600XL and 800XL home computers at the Summer CES in
Chicago.  The 400/800/1200XL would be discontinued.  (The 1400XL and 1450XLD
computers were also introduced, but these never made it into production.)
Peripherals introduced: the 1027 printer, 1030 modem, Light Pen +
AtariGraphics, Touch Tablet + AtariArtist, Remote Control Wireless Joysticks,
CX80 Trak-Ball, AtariLab Starter Set With Temperature Module, AtariLab Light
Module (AtariLab developed by Dickinson College).  Software introduced by
Atari: DOS 3, Microsoft BASIC II, Pole Position, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong
Junior, Pengo, Robotron: 2084, Joust, Football, Tennis, Paint, AtariMusic I,
AtariMusic II, Mickey in the Great Outdoors, Battlezone. (Also shown but never
shipped: the 1060 CP/M Add-On Module, the 1090 XL Expansion System, Tempest,
Soccer, Peter Pan's Daring Journey, The Mysteries of Wonderland, and the
AtariLab Modules: Timekeeper, Lie Detector, Reaction time, Heartbeat,
Biofeedback, Mechanics)

The 600XL had been known as "Surely" and the 800XL had been known as
"Surely Plus" inside Atari.

June 11-Sept 10: Atari co-sponsored the Punta Cana Club Med/Atari Computer
vacation getaway on the island of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic.

Summer: Second year of Atari Computer Camps, held at seven sites nationwide
(U.S.): Greenfield MA, Faribault MN, East Stroudsburg PA, Asheville NC,
Glencoe MD, Danville CA, and San Diego CA.

Summer: Atari released the Atari 400 Home Computer 48K RAM Expansion Kit,
compatible with both the 8K and 16K versions of the 400.

July 7: Warner Communications announced that Atari chairman Ray Kassar had
resigned, to be replaced by James J. Morgan.  Morgan was previously executive
vice president of Philip Morris USA, handling the company's US$4.3 billion
cigarette operations.  Until Morgan's arrival, Emanuel Gerard would serve as
interim chairman and CEO.

July: Production of the Atari 1200XL computer ended.

August: Atari Chairman-to-be James Morgan instituted another major management
reorganization at Atari.  Atari Sales and Distribution Company and Atari
Manufacturing Company were both dissolved, their functions to be merged into
the Atari Products Company division (home computers and home video game
systems), with 5 divisions of its own:
  - Atari Products Company (no division head)
  - - Management (marketing) (John Cavalier, president)
  - - Sales (Donald Kingsborough, president)
  - - Manufacturing (Paul Malloy, president)
  - - Engineering (John Farrand, president)
  - - International (Anton Bruehl, president)
The presidents of all Atari Products Co. divisions would report directly to
Morgan.

Sept83-June84: The "Catch On to Computers" program, a joint effort between
Atari and General Foods' Post Cereals, offered Atari computers, equipment, and
educational software to schools for collecting Post cereal proof-of-purchase
points over the 1983-1984 school year.

September: Ted Kahn stepped down as executive director of the Atari Institute
for Educational Action Research.  More than US$1 million worth of computers,
software, and cash stipends had been awarded to over 100 nonprofit
organizations since the program's founding in 1981.

September: The Atari 800 (with 48K RAM, without Atari BASIC) would now retail
for US$165 while supplies lasted.

Fall: Atari begin shipping the 1050 disk drive with DOS 3 (replacing DOS
2.0S).

Fall: The Atari 600XL/800XL both shipped, retail price US$199/$299.

Fall: Atari shipped the Communicator II package, containing the 835 modem.

October 7: John Cavalier departed from his position as president of the
Management (marketing) division of the Atari Products Company.

October: Atari launched Atari Learning Systems, a new division dedicated to
product development, sales, and support for K-12 educators in the U.S.
Directed by Linda Gordon.

October: Atari France launched the "L'Atarien" magazine, issue 0 (pilot ?),
the "magazine of the Atari Club".  In its first issues, the magazine was
mostly centered on the 2600 VCS and 400/800 computers, but the focus quickly
shifted to the XL computers in the next issues.  Officially the magazine was
issued by "Rive Ouest - Cato Johnson France" on behalf of "PECF Atari France"
(Issue #0, Page 3).  "PECF" was the nickname of the company "Productions et
Editions Cinematographiques Francaises", a company 100% owned by Warner
Communications.

October-December: "Catch on to Computers" computer literacy training programs
for children, adults, and teachers, sponsored by Atari and General Mills' Post
Cereals, ran in 10 cities across the U.S.

November: Atari announced that because of production snags in Hong Kong, it
would be able to fill only 60 per cent of its Christmas orders for the 600XL/
800XL.  Atari also said that the 1400XL and 1450XLD would not ship until 1984.

November: Atari opened the Atari Adventure center in St. Louis, MO.  The
concept combined a traditional video game arcade with a hands-on public
computer classroom/lab featuring Atari XL computers, along with a new
technology display area.

"Atari sold roughly 250,000 of its 800 series computers last year"
  - Time magazine, July 16, 1984

1984
January 1: Atari increased U.S. dealer prices for the Atari 600XL and 800XL
by US$40 each, to US$180 and US$280, respectively.

January 7-10: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced: the 1064 Memory
Module (for the 600XL), The Atari Translator, Moon Patrol, Jungle Hunt,
Millipede, Sky Writer, SynFile+, SynCalc, SynTrend, The Legacy (shipped as
Final Legacy), Player Maker, Screen Maker.  The APX title, Typo Attack would
be re-released on cartridge as part of Atari's standard product line.
(Atari confirmed that the unshipped 1400XL computer was canceled.  Atari CEO
James Morgan said the unshipped Atari 1450XLD was "exhibited only as a
demonstration of the company's intent to market a high-end computer in 1984,
although the specifics of such a product are currently under review."
--Creative Computing May 1984.)
(Software introduced by Atari but never shipped: Atari Pascal 2.0,
Atari Super PILOT, Captain Hook's Revenge, Berserk, Pop'R Spell, Mario Bros.
(a completely rewritten Mario Bros. was ultimately released in 1989))

January 14: At San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel, Atari awarded the third
annual Atari Star Award and US$25,000 to Mark Reid for his APX title,
Getaway!.

January 23: Atari chairman and CEO James Morgan announced another management
reorganization at Atari.  John Farrand was promoted to president of Atari, and
would also now serve as president and COO of the Atari Products Company
(home computers, home video games, and now coin-operated arcade games).

February: Atari 5200 production ended.

March: Fred Thorlin, director of APX since its 1982 inception, left Atari.

March 22-25: At the 9th West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco Atari's
exhibit included the APX title, Equestrian. (ROM #6)

Spring: Issue Five turned out to be the final issue of Atari Input/Output, the
magazine of the Atari Home Computer Club (Atari UK).

April: Atari shut down the APX operation.  Software rights were returned to
the original authors.

May 8: In an elaborate press event, Atari and Lucasfilm introduced Ballblazer
and Rescue on Fractalus!, developed by Lucasfilm, to be shipped by Atari on
cartridge for the 400/800 computers and the 5200 SuperSystem.  (The Atari
computer versions were finally shipped on disk by Epyx (USA) and Activision
(UK) in 1985.  The 5200 versions were finally released by Atari Corp. in
1986.)

May 21: Atari disclosed that the 5200 was no longer in production.  More than
1 million 5200's had been sold to date. (Washington Post, May 22, 1984, C3)

June 3-6: Atari motto at the Summer CES in Chicago: "June 3, 1984--The Day The
Future Began." (The previously announced then cancelled 1450XLD, or some new
model similar to it, was now to ship in time for Christmas 1984.  The 1090 XL
Expansion System was shown again, and Atari also offered specs for a new high-
end computer under development.  None of these shipped.)  Atari introduced:
Proofreader (for AtariWriter), Track and Field, Crystal Castles.  Atari also
introduced The Last Starfighter, which was ultimately re-worked and shipped as
Star Raiders II in 1986.  (Also introduced by Atari but never shipped:
MindLink hardware device, Jr. Pac-Man, Peek-A-Boo, Hobgoblin, This Is Ground
Control, Through the Starbridge, Find It!, Elevator Action, Yaacov Agam's
Interactive Painting, The ABC of CPR: First Aid, Wheeler-Dealer, Simulated
Computer, Telly Turtle, Word Tutor, Letter Tutor, Gremlins, Pole Position II)

June: Atari France announced the SECAM model of the 800XL.  (The SECAM 600XL
was also announced, but this never made it into production.)  List prices:
600XL PAL: 2200 FRF ; 600XL SECAM: 2500 FRF ; 800XL PAL: 3200 FRF ; 
800XL SECAM: 3500 FRF ; 1010: 890 FRF ; 1050: 3690 FRF ; 1020: 2590 FRF; 
1027: 3490 FRF ; Atari Touch Tablet: 890 FRF

July 1-August 25: Third and final year of Atari Computer Camps.  Camps were
held at two locations: "Camp Atari-Poconos" (East Stroudsburg State College)
in East Stroudsburg PA, and "Camp Atari-New England" (Stoneleigh-Burnham 
School) in Greenfield MA.  Patricia Tubbs was Project Manager at Atari.

July 1: Agreed on this date, effective June 30, the assets of the Atari home
computer and home video game businesses were sold by Warner Communications to
Tramel Technology Ltd., which had been formed on May 17, 1984 by its chairman
and CEO Jack Tramiel (pronounced truh-MELL), the founder and former president
of Commodore International.  The transaction included exclusive use of the
"Atari" name and "Fuji" logo in the home computer and home video game markets,
along with the intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, and
copyrights) owned by Atari in conjunction with its home computer and home
video game businesses.  The home computer and home video game rights to Atari
coin-operated arcade games developed to date were included as well.

Tramel Technology adopted the new name, Atari Corporation.  Jack Tramiel would
continue as chairman and CEO, and (son) Sam Tramiel would serve as president.

July: The new Atari Corp. halted all manufacturing, and dismissed most of
its inherited Silicon Valley workforce, roughly 1,000 people.

Upon a review of the existing product lines and inventories, it was
determined to resume production of the 800XL computer and the 2600 VCS.
The 600XL was discontinued, and further work on prototype new XL computer
models was halted.  There would be no new game releases for the already-
discontinued 5200.  (Atari would go on to release three 5200 titles in 1986).
An unannounced new cost-reduced design for the 2600 was also shelved.
(This "2600jr" would finally be released in 1986.)
Atari Connection magazine was shut down.

July 13: Warner Communications announced the sale of 78% of its WCI Labs
subsidiary (internal co-developer of the Atari XL computers) to WCI Labs'
management.  As a result of the transaction, which was made effective
retroactive to June 1, 1984, a new privately held company, the Take One
Company, was formed, with Steven T. Mayer as chairman and chief executive.
Warner Communications initially retained 22% ownership of Take One.

August: Atari engineers completed the prototype "800XLF" motherboard design,
to be used in new-production 800XL computers.  The new 800XL machines would
include the new FREDDIE memory management chip (previously developed at
Atari, Inc.), the new Revision C of Atari BASIC, and a reinstated chrominance
video signal on the Monitor port (missing on the 1200XL/600XL/800XL produced
by Atari, Inc.).  The new 800XL machines would be produced in PAL and (for
the first time, France-specific) SECAM versions, but not the NTSC version due
to ample existing supply of NTSC 800XL machines.

August: Atari reduced the retail price for the 800XL from US$250 to US$179.

November 13: Atari held a press conference at company headquarters in
Sunnyvale, CA in which they outlined their basic marketing strategy for 1985.
The U.S. price for the 800XL was reduced from US$179 to US$119.

December 6: It was reported that Atari would make an immediate 23 per cent
reduction to DM 499 (US$160) in the price of its 800XL home computer in West
Germany and similar cuts in the UK and Italy.  Atari estimated the company's
share of the West German home computer market at 8%, compared with 2% in 1983.
In the UK, the 800XL price cut was from 169 to 129 pounds.

December: Atari France announced the new prices of the XL computers range:
600XL PAL: 1599 FRF ; 800XL PAL: 2199 FRF ; 800XL SECAM: 2499 FRF; 
1010: 449 FRF ; 1050: 2699 FRF ; 1020: 899 FRF ; 1027: 3399 FRF;
Atari Touch Tablet: 649 FRF

December: Atari France resumed L'Atarien magazine with issue #5.  (It had been
on hold since issue #4, June 1984.)

December: Atari engineers completed the prototype "900XLF" motherboard design,
to be used in the forthcoming 65XE computer.

"The 800XL has sold almost 500,000 units through 1984" --Atari's Sigmund
Hartmann, Atari Explorer magazine, Summer 1985, p. 33.

"By the end of 1984, the Atari 800XL will have sold more than 600,000 units
since its introduction more than a year ago, according to Kenneth Lim of
Dataquest, a market research firm in San Jose." InfoWorld January 7/14, 1985

1985
January 5-8: Atari introduced the 65XE and 130XE home computers at the Winter
CES in Las Vegas.  (The 65XEP and 65XEM computers were announced, but these
never made it into production.)  The 800XL would be discontinued.  XE
peripherals introduced: the XMM801 and XDM121 printers and the XM301 modem.
XE Software introduced: AtariWriter Plus, Silent Butler, Song Painter (later
renamed Music Painter), The Learning Phone (PLATO).  (Also introduced but
never shipped: the XTM201 and XTC201 printers, the XC1411 and XM128 monitors,
and the XF521 disk drive. XE Software: Infinity (integrated word processor/
spreadsheet/database/telecomm software, developed for Atari by Matrix
Software / Vincent Garafolo), Shopkeeper, Atari Tutorial).
Epyx introduced Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus for the Atari 8-bit
computers, both announced but not shipped by the old Atari, Inc.

Winter: Atari shipped the The Learning Phone cartridge, designed at Atari by
Vincent Wu.  Atari access software for the PLATO Service Network (Control
Data Corporation) had been in development at Atari since 1981.

February: First issue of Atari Explorer magazine, the glossy published by
Atari (U.S.) Corp. in support of the XE and ST computers.  Headed by Neil
Harris.

February: The new "L'Atarien" magazine was now issued by "Pressimages" on
behalf of "PECF Atari France" (Issue #6, Page 3).

February: Retail prices from Atari France: 800XL SECAM: 1700 FRF ;
1050: 2600 FRF ; 1027: 2600 FRF

March 5: At the San Leandro Computer Club Atari announced that they had
"postponed plans to produce an 8-bit portable computer, due to lack of
interest."  Also, "plans for an XEM 8-bit music computer have been postponed
indefinitely due to problems with finalizing the AMY sound chip."  (The AMY
chip had been developed at Atari, Inc.  Atari Corp. now owned the technology,
but had not retained the original design team.  Thus, the new plan to
integrate AMY into the XE system, as the announced 65XEM computer, turned out
to be prohibitively expensive.  Atari ultimately sold the AMY chip and
technologies to a Milwaukee based audio design house called Sight & Sound.
See: http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8bits/xe/xe_protos/65xem.html )
John Skruch was introduced as software product manager for the 8-bit XE line.
(CN, Apr85, p. 19)

April: Atari shipped the 130XE, retail price US$149.95.
(The 65XE was held out of the U.S. market due to ample supply of the 800XL.)

April: Atari France announced the availability of the Atari 1029 printer.  The
price was not announced.

April/May: Atari began shipping the 1050 disk drive with DOS 2.5 (replacing
DOS 3).

June: At the Summer CES in Chicago Atari introduced Planetarium (prototypes
sometimes called Home Astronomer).  (Atari also introduced VIP Professional
and GEM Desktop for the XE, but these never shipped.)  DataSoft re-introduced
3 titles for the XE previously shipped by Atari: Pole Position, Pac-Man, and
Dig Dug.

June: Atari France retail price for the 130XE SECAM: 1990 FRF

Fall: Atari shipped the disk-based AtariWriter Plus.  Designed and
programmed from scratch by William Robinson (the core word processor),
Ron Rosen (Mail Merge module), and R. Stanley Kistler (Proofreader module) for
Micro Fantasy, for Atari.  Manual by Jeffrey D. Bass.  Package included a
version for 48K/64K Atari computers as well as a version supporting the 128K
RAM of the 130XE.

Fall: Atari shipped the XM301 modem.

November 15: Atari announced the creation of an electronic entertainment
division, to be headed by Michael V. Katz, formerly head of Epyx.

November: At the fall COMDEX in Las Vegas Atari again showed the XMM801,
The Silent Butler, and Atari Planetarium, each to ship by Christmas.

1986
January 9: At the Winter CES in Las Vegas Atari introduced Star Raiders II
for the XE, and also announced (but did not show) the XC11 program recorder.
A redesigned version of the 2600 (unofficially, "2600 Jr."; previously
designed by Atari, Inc.) was introduced.

February: Cover date of Issue #10, the final issue of L'Atarien magazine from
Atari France.

February: Atari France retail prices: 130XE SECAM: 1490 FRF ; 1010: 490 FRF ;
1050: 1490 FRF ; 1029: 1490 FRF

March: Database Exhibitions staged the first Atari User Show at the Novotel
in Hammersmith, London, UK.  (Atari User May 1988)

March: At the Hanover Fair, Germany, Atari introduced a working prototype of
what would ultimately ship as the XEP80 interface, and they also described a
new DOS, which was later named ADOS, and which ultimately shipped as DOS XE.
(Atari also introduced plans for a 3.5" disk drive (the XF351) but this never
shipped.)

Spring: Atari shipped the 65XE, retail price US$99.95.

April 28-May 1: Atari introduced a working prototype of what would ultimately
ship as the SX212 modem at the Spring COMDEX (Computer Dealer's Exhibition)
in Atlanta.  Atari also announced that the 80 Column Card would be out "late
this summer."  (Atari also reiterated plans for a 3.5" disk drive (the XF351)
but this never shipped.)

June 1: Atari announced that David H. Ahl was the new editor of Atari Explorer
magazine.

June 1-4: Atari introduced the XEP80 interface at the Summer CES in Chicago.

Summer: Bob Gleadow, previously of Commodore, became the new general manager
of Atari UK.  Max Bambridge, the outgoing head of Atari UK, was transferred
to the Far East to oversee Atari manufacturing. (Atari User May 1988)

Sept/Oct: First issue of Atari Explorer magazine produced by the new
subsidiary, Atari Explorer Publications Corp. of Mendham, NJ, headed by David
H. Ahl, founder and former editor of Creative Computing magazine.

1987
January 8: Atari previewed the XE game system at the Winter CES in Las Vegas.

February: Atari introduced the XE video game system at the American
International TOY FAIR in New York.

June: "Flying High" was Atari's motto at the Summer CES in Chicago.  Atari 
introduced the XF551 and ADOS (renamed DOS XE when shipped), AtariWriter 80,
and SX Express!.  Atari introduced the two pack-in games for the XE game
system, Bug Hunt (proto names had been Troubleshooter or Blast 'Em) and
Flight Simulator II.  Atari announced that they would be re-releasing many
of their own 400/800/XL/XE cartridge titles for the XE, including Battlezone,
Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and the former disk title, Star Raiders II.
Atari also announced many new Atari XE cartridge titles, including Crossbow,
Hardball!, Fight Night, One-On-One Basketball, Archon, Ballblazer,
Rescue on Fractalus, Lode Runner, Blue Max, David's Midnight Magic, Gato, and
Barnyard Blaster.

Summer: Atari shipped the XDM121 printer.

September: Atari shipped the XEP80 interface and the SX212 modem (SX Express!
disk software to be sold separately).

Fall: Atari shipped the XE game system in late September, and it reached most
dealer shelves by mid-October, retail price US$150.  Package included:
Missile Command and Atari BASIC on ROM, keyboard, Joystick, Light Gun,
Bug Hunt cartridge and Flight Simulator II cartridge.

December: Atari sold 100,000 XE Game Systems in the U.S. at Christmas and did
not meet demand (Antic magazine, May 1988, p. 39)

December 31: From the Atari Annual Report: "In Czechoslovakia, the German
Democratic Republic, and Poland the Atari 800XE and 65XE computers have gained
brand dominance and are among the most popular systems being sold in these
countries."

Atari game cartridges re-released by Atari in 1987:
Caverns of Mars, Centipede, Donkey Kong Jr., Eastern Front (1941),
Final Legacy, Football, Galaxian, Joust, Millipede, Moon Patrol, Ms. Pac-Man,
Pac-Man, Pole Position, Super Breakout, Tennis

1988
January: Optimized Systems Software (OSS) was merged into ICD.

Winter: Atari shipped 12 new XE game cartridges: Archon, Ballblazer,
Barnyard Blaster, BattleZone, Blue Max, David's Midnight Magic, Fight Night,
HardBall, Lode Runner, One-On-One Basketball, Rescue on Fractalus,
Star Raiders II 

April: Atari shipped the XF551 disk drive (with DOS 2.5).

May: Sam Tramiel became CEO of Atari (replacing father Jack Tramiel).  Sam
Tramiel would also continue as president.  Jack Tramiel remained chairman.

June: Atari promoted the XE game system at the Summer CES in Chicago, under
their "Winning Package" theme.

Summer: Atari shipped the new XE game cartridge, Gato.

Fall: Atari opened an office of the Entertainment Electronics Division in
Chicago, headed by Larry Siegel, vice president of software development.
Mike Katz, based in Sunnyvale, remained president of the Entertainment
Electronics Division.

Fall?: Atari shipped the new XE game cartridge, Necromancer.

December 31: From the Atari Annual Report: "Our XE line of 8-bit computer
systems is extremely popular throughout Eastern Europe, and most recently, has
begun to appear on retail shelves in the Soviet Union."

Atari game cartridges re-released by Atari in 1988: 
Donkey Kong, Super Breakout.
Atari also re-released the AtariWriter cartridge in 1988.

1989
January: Atari shipped DOS XE, and also began shipping the XF551 disk drive
with DOS XE (replacing DOS 2.5).  Developed by Bill Wilkinson for Atari.

Winter: Atari shipped 3 new XE game cartridges: Ace of Aces, Desert Falcon,
Mario Bros.

February: Mike Katz departed from Atari as president of the Entertainment
Electronics division.

Spring: Atari shipped the new XE game cartridges: Food Fight, Karateka,
Crystal Castles, Dark Chambers, Crossbow, Thunderfox, Choplifter,
Into the Eagle's Nest, Crime Buster, Airball, Summer Games

May/June: Premier issue of Atarian magazine, "the official magazine of the
Atarian Video Game Club sponsored by Atari (U.S.) Corp."  Published by Atari
Explorer Publications, David H. Ahl, Publisher/Editor.

Summer: Atari shipped AtariWriter 80, programmed by William Robinson and Ron
Rosen for Micro Fantasy.  The package included Proofreader (programmed by
R. Stanley Kistler) and Mail Merge modules, and required the XEP80 interface.
Like AtariWriter Plus, the package included a version for 48K/64K Atari
computers as well as a version supporting the 128K RAM of the 130XE.

October: Third and final issue of Atarian magazine.

December 31: From the Atari Annual Report: "sales of games products such as
the 2600 and 7800 game systems and the range of older XE 8 bit computers
decreased by 35% to $101.6 million, or 24% of total net sales for the year
ended December 31, 1989, from $155.5 million, or 34%, of total net sales in
1988."  From the Atari 10-K: "The Company's traditional video game offerings
include the 2600 VCS, the 7800 ProSystem, and the XE Game System."

1990
March 15: Atari Explorer Publications was shut down, and Atari Explorer
magazine went on hiatus.

May?: At the Atari shareholders meeting, Atari stated that last year, 250,000
XE computers were sold.  In Poland, the XE sold 70,000 units, making it the
most popular computer in Poland. (Atari Interface, June/July 1990, p. 6)

1991
Jan/Feb: Return of Atari Explorer magazine, now headed by John Jainschigg and
published in-house at Atari.

May: "Atari Canada's General Manager Geoff Earle announces a new trade up
program for owners of Atari 8-bit computers to a 520STFM for $250.  The 8-bit
computer line is admitted to be discontinued."  (AtariUser Jan'92, p. 20)

May 14: At the Atari shareholders meeting, Atari stated that the XE was still
in production, being sold in South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle
East. (Atari Interface magazine, June 1991, p. 10)

November 23-24: Chicago Computerfest by Atari / Lake County Atari Computer
Enthusiasts (LCACE), Ramada Hotel O'Hare, Rosemont, Illinois.  Atari (U.S.)
brought substantially all of their remaining inventory of 8-bit computer
products for clearance sales.

December: "..as of Christmas 1991, Atari decided to discontinue the XEGS,
2600, and 7800 systems." --Tim Duarte, AtariUser magazine, July 1992, p. 22.

December 28: From the Atari 10-K SEC filing: "Atari's XE series computers are
targeted for the price conscious markets.  The 65XE and 130XE have 64k and
128k of internal RAM, and generally retail for less than $100 and $150,
respectively.  Both are supported by a variety of peripheral equipment and a
variety of software titles including entertainment software.  This computer
line retains compatibility with the Company's previous generation 8-bit
computer systems, i.e., the 400 and 800XL computers."

1992
Atari announced that support for all 8-bit products was discontinued as of the
beginning of this year, according to Atari Classics magazine. (Dec. 1992, p.4)

June 2: At the Atari stockholders meeting, Atari stated that the XE line of
computers was still being made.  Though not available in the U.S. market, XE
systems were being made for sale in Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe and
Germany. (Atari Interface magazine, Fall 1992, p. 19)

December 31: For the first time, the XE was not mentioned in Atari's Annual
Report to Shareholders.

1993
Jan/Feb: Final issue of Atari Explorer magazine.

November?: Rights to ICD (including OSS) products for the 8-bit Atari were
purchased by Fine Tooned Engineering (FTe / Mike Hohman)

1994
January 1: From the Atari Annual Report: "The Company also has some inventory
of its older 16-bit computer products and 8-bit game products, namely ST and
TT series of computers, 2600 and 7800 video games systems and XE computer and
Portfolio products.  As a result of these inventories being technologically
obsolete and noncompetitive, the Company has written off these inventories.
The Company is expecting minimal sales from these products in the future."

1996
July 30: Atari Corp. merged with JT Storage, Inc. into a new company,
JTS Acquisition Corp.  The merged company immediately adopted the new name,
JTS Corp.  The prior business of Atari would now be conducted through the
Atari Division of JTS; however "the Atari Division was not expected to
represent a significant portion of JTS business," JTS said.

1998
February 23: JTS sold substantially all of the assets of its Atari Division,
consisting primarily of the Atari intellectual property rights and license
agreements, to HIAC XI Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive
(itself a unit of toy company Hasbro, Inc.), for US$5 million.  HIAC XI was
then renamed Atari Interactive, Inc.

2001
January 29: Infogrames Entertainment announced completion of its acquisition
of Hasbro Interactive from Hasbro, renaming the subsidiary Infogrames
Interactive, Inc.  Atari Interactive was included in the transaction.

2003
May 7: Infogrames Entertainment folded its Infogrames Interactive (the former
Hasbro Interactive) subsidiary into its Atari Interactive subsidiary.

2009
May 29: The name of Infogrames Entertainment was changed to Atari.

TODAY: The Atari copyrights/trademarks/patents associated with the
400/800/XL/XE 8-bit Atari computer line are owned by Atari Interactive, Inc.,
a subsidiary of Atari, SA of Lyon, France.  http://corporate.atari.com/

===================================================================
End of atari-8-bit/faq
===================================================================

drive is not slowed down - these drives are spinning
     300 rotations per minute. To prevent troubles with read/write disks
     formatted and written on normal Atari drives (288 rot/min), the main
     crystal frequency for the floppy disk controller is 8.333 MHz
     (not 8 MHz, as in 1050, for example)."

2. If the PC drive is a 1.2M drive there is the additional problem of the
   track width.
   The following is generally true in the PC world:
    - disks written on 360k drives can be read on either drive
    - blank disk formatted and written on 1.2M drives can be read on
      either kind
    - disks written on a 360k drive, and overwritten on a 1.2M drive,
      can be read reliably only on a 1.2M drive.
    - disks previously formatted on a 360k drive, or formatted as 1.2MB,
      and then reformatted on a 1.2M drive to 360k, can be read reliably
      only on a 1.2M drive.
    (all this assumes you are using DD media, not HD).

   Solution: Use a 360k drive if you can.  If not, format disks on the
   Atari for Atari to PC transfers, format truly blank disks on the PC
   for PC to Atari transfers.

Jon D. Melbo sums it up this way:
   So a basic rule of thumb when sharing 360KB floppies among 360KB &
   1.2MB drives is: Never do any writes with a 1.2MB drive to a disk that
   has been previously written to in a 360KB drive....UNLESS... you only
   plan on ever using that disk in the 1.2Mb drive from then on out. Of
   course a disk can be reformatted in a particular drive any time for use
   in that drive.   As long as you follow that rule, you can utilize the
   backwards compatible 360KB modes that most 1.2MB drives offer.

AnaDisk + DeAna
===============
While the above mentioned utilities work with SS/DD 180K Atari-format disks or
SS/DD 180K SpartaDOS disks, the following combination of utilities has been
used successfully to read SS/SD 90K Atari-format disks.  So if you only have
standard Atari 810 and/or Atari 1050 drives, you could look into:

AnaDisk -- now a product of New Technoligies Inc. (NTI)
See: http://www.forensics-intl.com/anadisk.html
The current version is "not made available to the general public" (!)
Previously a product of Chuck Guzis @ Sydex, http://www.sydex.com/
Older versions available: http://ch.twi.tudelft.nl/~sidney/atari/
- Reads/Writes "any" 5.25" diskette

DeAna by Nate Monson
Available: http://ch.twi.tudelft.nl/~sidney/atari/
- converts AnaDisk dump files from Atari format

See http://ch.twi.tudelft.nl/~sidney/atari/ for tips on using this
combination of utilities.

Preston Crow writes:
  "As best as I can figure it out, if your PC drive happens to read
  FM disks (I'm not sure what the criteria for that is), then you
  can read single density disks on your PC by dumping the contents
  to a file with AnaDisk, and then using Deana.com to convert the
  dump file into a usable format.

  For enhanced density disks, Anadisk generally only reads the first
  portion of each sector, but it demonstrates that it is possible for
  a PC drive to read enhanced density disks."

FC5025 USB 5.25" floppy controller
==================================
 - by Device Side Data
 - Plugs into any computer's USB port and enables you to read data
   from an external 5.25" floppy drive. 
 - Sold as a controller board only without a drive mechanism.
   It has been tested to work well with the TEAC FD-55GFR drive and should
   also work with most other 5.25" drives.
 - The FC5025 is read-only.  It cannot write to floppies.
 - The FC5025 may be unable to read disks that are damaged or copy-protected.
 - The FC5025 is intended for 5.25" disks only, not 3.5" or 8" disks.
 - The FC5025 may be unable to read the second side of "flippy" disks,
   depending on the drive it is attached to.
 - The included software works on 32-bit Windows (not 64-bit Windows).
 - The included software supports reading Atari 810 disks.
 - Available: http://www.deviceside.com/

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