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Why did Atari computers not survive in the computing market?...

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Question by Stevo
Submitted on 1/26/2004
Related FAQ: Atari 8-Bit Computers: Frequently Asked Questions
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Why did Atari computers not survive in the computing market?

Answer by myndprober
Submitted on 4/17/2004
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Atari's demise in the home pc market began with the sale of the company to Sears.
Sears purchased Atari in order to gain a footing in the game console arena. Sears marketing strategy was to focus on the 2600 and later 7800 series. This strategy did not work out for sears due to the rise of fierce competition in this area and the unwillingness of Sears to let Atari run it's own business.
Sears became greedy in not allowing other software designers an easy way to port games onto the Atari systems.(license and legal crap). Atari would produce "vaporware" in hopes of gaining market share lost to Apple when Apple gave their 6502 based systems to schools. Vaporware is devices that where promised but never showed up, due to lack of corporate vision. (I waited patiently for some of these wonderful periphrials...still waiting)

To further ensure that Atari computers would fail, Atari computer owners ( a select few anyway ) had a hand in it's demise.
Software piracy was a factor that kept authors away from the Atari. The Atari was a powerful computer that was easy to learn the innermost "secrets" and many of us did. When "soft" protection failed to stem the ramped abuse of copying software for distribution.
Vendors devised ways of embedding the protection on the disk and in the software, which was quickly thwarted. A person could even buy modification chips to put in a disk drive that could duplicated any disk no matter what. (now called a disk image)

So in a nut shell Atari's failed due to these factors.

1. lack of promotion by sears as anything other than a game console.
2. lack of respect for copyrights, by the home users.
3. lack of vendors wanting their software pirated.

thats three strikes. apple and commodore 6502 based machines had a similar demise.

However Apple began to focus on the 68000 based mac and promoted it very well. Unlike sears who was advertisement shy with the ST and STE and the 286 based Atari PC compatible
which did more than IBM'srendition. Oh well
lessons never learned. Frog later purchased Atari and did little more than move furniture around.
Now in the hands of Infogrames maybe we can see some improvements...not likely...Anyone see Jack Trammel around?


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