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Atari Corporation

Overview

Atari Corporation was formed in 1984 when Jack Tramiel bought the home computing and game console divisions of Atari, Inc. from Warner Communications and merged it with his own company, Tramel Technology Ltd. (TTL).

Jack Tramiel was the former CEO of Commodore International which had been recently ousted. During this time, he stopped all of their game and console development and focused only on developing computers. Jack Tramiel hired many of the engineers from Commodore to join him, however these engineers were sued by Commodore for stealing computer designs that were used in Commodore computers, and Commodore won. Atari also sued Commodore and Amiga Corp. for breach of contract, which was eventually settled out of court.

Atari came up with the Atari ST computer, which stopped the net losses at Atari, the ST sold 4 million units, mostly in Europe, it did not fare as well in the USA.

This success gave Atari more financial leverage, so Atari got into marketing the handheld console, the Atari Lynx (which was developed by Epyx). The Lynx had very good technical abilities, however it drained the batteries required for it very quickly, and they had a shortage of parts when a person needed it repaired. It was also more expensive than the Nintendo Game Boy and had less aggressive marketing strategies that the Game Boy had and did not have the third party development that the Game Boy and the SEGA Game Gear had.

Atari then proceeded to develop a 64-bit CD Based console, the Atari Jaguar, which was expensive on the market. It did not fare well in the beginning of it's introduction, and after the SEGA Saturn, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 came out, the Jaguar was a complete failure because of its inability to compete with these systems. The Tramiel family eventually pulled out of the business and sold their stock to JTS Inc., but Atari does not exist anymore.

The name Atari is now used as a game publisher and subsidiary for Infogrames, which later re-branded its entire business to Atari. There are no plans on getting back into developing consoles.

Trivia

Atari Corporation was founded on a $250 investment by Nolan Bushnell. The name Atari comes from a move from the ancient Japanese board game called "Go", which happens to be a favorite of Nolan Bushnell. The Atari logo itself symbolizes two pong players separated by a play field line in the middle.

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