The Editor's Notes
Robert Lock, Publisher/Editor
Too Few Ataris
Such a problem ... We've been saying Atari sales are picking up, a more than gradual creep that's been in evidence since summer. The trickle has apparently turned into a roar: it seems the pipeline effectively ran dry in mid-December when dealers across the country were selling machines faster than they could get them. This translates, of course, into not selling machines, since many dealers were unable to obtain enough. We've heard from some who said they could have sold many more, given sufficient supply. Don't give up Santa; it would still be quite appropriate for Valentine's day. And I suspect Atari corporate won't be caught short again.
The International Commodore, Or, Bye Jack
We've been persisting in these pages with claims that Commodore's getting it together in marketing. With the help of Dr. Chip, we've been trying to track the rapid changes in mid to upper level management. Commodore has been growing up as a corporate entity, and such growth is invariably replete with problems in working out directions, helmsmen/women, and the like.
Jack Tramiel, President and founder of Commodore, has stepped out of the position of President. He will become Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. We suspect Jack's skills will be more directed to the long-range growth of the company, and less to the day to day operations and intermediate planning. In short, the move looks like a logical, progressive step in the growth of the company.
The new President appears to be exceptionally well qualified to head a company such as Commodore. His name is James Finke, and he comes to Commodore with a background that seems ideally suited. You have to understand that Commodore is truly an international company. The US has, in the past, made up a small portion of their overall market. Thus, they're relatively unique at the moment among the competitive 6502 machine vendors.
Their strength outside the US places them at number one in installed machines in Canada, England, Germany, and so on. In the US they've been running number three behind Tandy and Apple. In spite of efforts to the contrary, their steps for improving the marketing channels in the US have been slow going, with problems with dealer support and supply being foremost.
The point of all this is that the new President, for corporate stability, will have to be able to get things rolling in the US, while maintaining the superiority in Europe. Mr. Finke appears to have such a background. A 1951 Physics graduate of Williams College, a Masters Degree in International Economics from Oxford University, and a Harvard Law degree. A history of experience leading from Vice President and General Manager of Motorola's communication division European Operations to General Manager of General Electric Medical Divisions International Operations to Vice President and General Manager-Europe for Data General Corporation. We applaud Jack and the rest of the Commodore board, and wish Mr. Finke much success in his new position. We hope this move portends a new stability in product relations with customers and dealers.
A Major CAPUTE!
Remember that annual awkwardness when you have to change from one year to the next? You write checks with the wrong year on them, etc.? COMPUTE! is apparently no exception to the year-end transition oops. Our January issue proudly claimed it was 1980. Hopefully the cover on this one matches. And, oh yes...missile is not spelled missle. I don't suppose we could claim we wanted to see if you were on your toes?