25 Years Ago Commodore Filed For Bankruptcy

Heise news reports that around this time 25 years ago, Commodore, the company behind the legendary C64 and Amiga computers filed for bankruptcy. I still remember that day as I was sad on the one hand but on the other didn’t care very much anymore as well.

I was sad because the Commodore C64 and Amiga had been the first computers I owned. I loved them and they bootstrapped everything that came afterward. On the other hand I didn’t care too much anymore about Commodore going away as a company because in 1994, I had long moved on to the PC world. After Microsoft finally managed to get a usable and useful graphical operating system into the market by 1992 with Windows 3.1, the time had come to switch. When Commodore finally failed I already owned a Intel 486 based desktop PC and had already bought my first notebook, a Compaq Aero 4/25, both running Windows 3.1. By that time, PCs had so much caught up in terms of graphical user interface, usability and, very important as well, in terms of affordability, that Commodore and others in the home computer domain had completely lost their edge they once enjoyed. Also, the university world was very much centered on DOS/Windows PCs and Unix workstations, and I was working in a PC sales and repair shop while studying, so moving to PCs was inevitable from that point of view as well.

But Commodore didn’t fail all out of a sudden, it had been expected for some time. Working for Commodore must have been an intense experience at any time in the companies long history, as many books written about Commodore by different people over the years lay out pretty clearly. My favorite books on the topic are those by Brian Bagnall and the first hand account written by Michal Tomczyk.