A tiny snippet of Commodore Corporate History . . . Nov 21, 2018 18:33:10 GMT
Post by jmpff3d on Nov 21, 2018 18:33:10 GMT
Looking for the source of this information .. possibly somewhere on USENET of course .. hoping there's more of it .. =)
More Commodore History
Under Tramiel's deliberate guidance, Commodore grew into a $1 billion
company, growing sevenfold from 1981 to 1984. It was one of the largest
suppliers of home computers in the world.
Tramiel flew on the face of the computer industry by enlisting mass
merchants (K-Mart, Toys "R" Us, Target and others) to sell the VIC-20,
and later the C=64. By doing so, he proved that computer buyers didn't
need to rely on the hand-holding of an elite class of computer-literate
sales people and their specialty store prices.
By 1984, about 4 million Commodore computers were in use around the world,
and 300,000 more being sold per month. However, Commodore's leadership
believed that market saturation was still a long way off, since only about
6% of U.S. households owned computers. This was far less than the 20-25%
that owned video game machines during the peak of the home video game
Tramiel had been known for his iron-fisted style of management. He was
involved with every aspect of the company and anything or anyone he
didn't like was changed or removed. This lead to a class action suit in
November of 1983, which charged that Commodore failed to disclose
information about its operations and did not build a strong management
According to a statement released in January of 1984, Tramiel said,
"personal reasons prevent my continuing on a full-time basis with
Commodore." Irving Gould, a Canadian venture capitalist who supplied the
company with $400,000 in exchange for 17% of the company and Tramiel's
pledge of all receivables, recruited Marshall F. Smith from
Thyssen-Bornemisza NV, a conglomerate based in the Netherlands Antilles,
to replace Tramiel.
At the time of Tramiel's departure, the home computer market was failing,
causing Mattel and Coleco to leave the business. Another company that
decided to leave the industry was Warner Communications, which sold Atari
to the newly unemployed Tramiel for a pittance. Shortly thereafter, a
stream of Commodore executives followed him.
In an effort to make Commodore profitable, Smith took to downsizing,
cutting the payroll by more than 45%. Though the company had an
impressive $339 million in 1985 Holiday revenues, it made only $1 million
for the quarter after paying off about 1/4 of its bank debt.
Commodore suffered through fiscal year 1985, losing $237 million, and
getting into trouble with its creditors. The banks granted a much needed
one-month extension on Commodore's loans, and, with the success of the
company's second-best Holiday sales ever behind them, Commodore defied the
gods of bankruptcy yet again.
The Rattigan Years
In March 1986, Thomas J. Rattigan replaced Smith as Commodore's CEO.
Rattigan was hired in April of 1985 with the understanding that he would
replace Smith, who remained on as a director. Rattigan's objective during
the first few months of his leadership was clear - cut costs in order to
stabilize Commodore's position, allowing it to rebuild. Once again, the
payroll was trimmed from top to bottom, and three plants were closed in
five months. New controls were added in the finance department to prevent
the sloppy reporting that had undermined Smith's leadership.
Commodore continued to sell respectable numbers of its $150 C=64
throughout 1986. The Commodore 128, a successor to and more powerful
machine than the C=64, was selling for $300 at the time, also helping to
keep the company afloat.
Rattigan's policies worked. By March of 1987, Commodore had caught up on
its loans and posted a $22 million earning in the quarter ending December
1986. It also had $46 million in the bank, the most cash since 1983, its
most profitable year.
Commodore's next move was to release the Amiga line of home computers.
Amiga was quickly dubbed the, "save-the-company machine."
The post-Rattigan Years
On April 22, 1987, Rattigan was replaced by Chairman Irving Gould. It is
unclear as to why Rattigan was replaced after turning the company around
and posting $28 million in profits over the four quarters ending in March
1987. Rattigan himself claimed that he was forced out by Gould due to
personality conflicts and that Gould was upset about Rattigan getting
credit for the company's turnaround. Gould argued that the comeback in
the U.S. was insufficient compared to its rebound in overseas markets,
which accounted for 70% of its sales. In fact, despite its profitability,
Commodore's U.S. revenues had declined by 54% in the same four quarters.
According to Gould's ideology, the North American operation was to be a
sales and marketing extension of the company, rather than the unwieldy,
semi-independent entity it had become. For the third time in Commodore's
history, a new leader began his term at the helm by drastically
downsizing. Under Gould's regin, the payroll was cut from 4,700 to 3,100,
including half of the North American headquarters' corporate staff, and
five plants were closed.
On April 29, 1994, Commodore International announced that it had been
unable to renegotiate terms of its outstanding loans and was closing down
the business. The liquidation process lasted for months, owing largely to
the far-reaching size of the corporation. In addition, the fact that the
company was incorporated in the Bahamas while a large share of the
creditors were from the United States made legal proceedings tense and
drawn out. On April 20, 1995, almost a full year later, Commodore was
sold to the German company ESCOM for approx. 10-25 million dollars.
During the summer of 1996, however, ESCOM also fell into recievership, so
the future of Commodore is currently unknown.