by Clayton Walnum
It seems that Atari Corp. is going through a major reorganization these days. Most will agree that Atari needed to do something to focus their computer business, and it seems that Atari has come to the same conclusion. Recently, they set up a new computer division called—simply enough—Atari Computer. Whether this means that we'll see the employment of some new marketing strategies, no one is really sure, but the word "advertising" has been bandied about quite a lot lately, and it could be that—at last—ST computers will be getting the exposure they need to ensure success.
According to Atari's Neil Harris, the Sunnyvale company's marketing organization is getting revamped. Mentioned in a recent DELPHI conference were the formation of a telemarketing group and the taking on of a new public-relations agency, one that specializes in computers. Changes for the future also include a new advertising agency.
"Reading the tea leaves," commented Harris, "I have to think this means that corporate management is getting very serious about the USA. They would not be letting us spend the money to do all this, otherwise."
This statement, while providing hope for Atari's supporters in the U.S., concedes the fact that Atari has been sidestepping the U.S. market in favor of the higher European sales—something that we've all come to realize over the last couple of years. Of course, one can't blame Atari for going where the paper is greener. They are, after all, a small company with limited resources, able to spread themselves only so thinly before they cease to be able to function. The lack of attention granted the U.S., however, has made a great many people wary of the STs and has made others—people who have already purchased their STs and fear for the future of their investment—downright bitter.
While many past promises from Atari have come to naught, I have a feeling that this time we may see some change. Atari has to have realized by now that if they ignore it much longer, the U.S. market will slip away from them. They've played the waiting game long enough. It's time to tackle the U.S. with aggressive marketing strategies—time to grab every American contemplating a computer purchase and scream, "Power without the price!" into their faces so loudly that they have to respond. In this media-saturated society, the winners are those who scream the loudest.
You and I have known for a long time that the ST is something special, and it's only natural for us to want to share it with our fellow citizens. It's ST Log's hope that Atari is now ready to bring the rest of the U.S. in on our little secret, that they have at last realized that the time has come to display the ST to the American people in a way that cannot be ignored.