As many of you are aware by now, we have become the eleventh operating division of ABC Publishing. What it means initially is that we'll have available resources and support that we've never enjoyed before as an independent company. In addition to the general strengths that our alliance with ABC provides, we'll have senior management expertise and skilled business support of a type that we've never had available. We're all quite pleased with this mutual blending of the styles and strengths of two healthy companies, one old, one young, but both very much committed to the future of our industry.
Best of all, COMPUTE! Publications will continue to operate as a separate division, without internal changes, and from exactly the same perspective of superior quality and leadership in personal, consumer publishing. I even expect to find more time for planning, research, and new product direction and development.
It seems appropriate, on the occasion of this announcement, to recount the current growth of COMPUTE! Publications. Our COMPUTE! Books Division will have over 16 titles in print by the end of July; COMPUTE!'s First Book of VIC is currently in its sixth printing. COMPUTE!'s Gazette for Commodore VIC-20 and 64 computers is premiering this month with an initial press run of 175,000 copies. An incredible feat given that COMPUTE! broke 100,000 in October of last year. Finally, our flagship, COMPUTE! Magazine, has achieved the significant 300,000 barrier. Our press run for this issue is 315,000. Need I add, "and growing..."?
The latest round of price cutting has reached a level defying the most aggressive predictions. Prices have dropped so fast that Texas Instruments was caught while delaying the planned introduction of the TI99/2. By the time the /2 series was scheduled to be introduced at $99, market moves had brought the price of the /4 down to $99. The Atari 1200, recently announced at the $1000 level, has rapidly dropped to the $600-700 range; the 400 is now below $150. And then there's Commodore, with the VIC-20 below $90 in many areas, and the 64 at $399, or $299, if you're able to take advantage of the trade-in offer (where you trade in your old computer or video game computer and receive a $100 rebate).
What's in the wind at Commodore? We've heard rumors of pending change with the new President of North American Operations bringing in selected new key personnel. We've also heard that some existing, previously key personnel are looking around for other opportunities in the industry. Is another famous Commodore shake-up on the way? Stay tuned, we'll try to keep you posted.
In another vein, the acknowledgment that software is a critical factor in the marketplace seems to be gaining strength on all manufacturers' strategy planning calendars. TI seems to be making progress with their licensing program for in-house sale of out-of-house developed programs. Commodore has established a new division to develop and promote the sale of Commodore software. And through it all, both established and newly formed software houses are pursuing the growth of the industry.
Next month: A superior special theme issue, our third on Games.