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|Tramel Technology Ltd.|
|Fate||Merged into JT Storage; assets later acquired by Hasbro Interactive|
|Successor||Atari Interactive (division of Hasbro Interactive)|
|Founded||May 17, 1984|
|Defunct||July 30, 1996|
|Parent|| Warner Communications |
Atari Corporation was an American manufacturer of computers and video game consoles from 1984 to 1996. Atari was founded in July 1984 when Warner Communications sold the home computing and game console divisions of Atari, Inc. to Jack Tramiel. Its chief products were the Atari ST, Atari XE, Atari 7800, Atari Lynx and Atari Jaguar.
The company reverse-merged with JTS Inc. in 1996, becoming a small division, which itself closed after JTS sold its intellectual property to Hasbro Interactive in 1998.
The company was founded by Commodore International's founder Jack Tramiel soon after his resignation from Commodore in January 1984. Initially named Tramel Technology, Ltd. (TTL), the company's goal was to design and sell a next-generation home computer. On July 1, 1984, TTL bought the Consumer Division assets of Atari, Inc. from its owner Warner Communications, and TTL was renamed Atari Corporation. Warner sold the division for $240 million in stocks under the new company.
In order to halt the massive losses Atari, Inc. had been yielding under Warner's ownership, Tramiel shut down nearly all of their 80 domestic branches, laying off the staff and liquidating the inventory.Under Tramiel's ownership, Atari used the remaining stock of game console inventory to keep the company afloat while they finished the development of their 16-bit computer system, the Atari ST. In 1985, they released their update to the 8-bit computer line—the Atari XE series—as well as the 16-bit Atari ST line. Then in 1986, Atari Corp. launched two consoles designed when Atari was under Warner's control: Atari 2600 Jr and Atari 7800 (which had a limited release in 1984). Atari Corp. rebounded, producing a $25 million profit for 1986. The Atari ST line proved very successful (mostly in Europe, not the U.S. ), ultimately selling more than 5 million units. Its built-in MIDI ports made it especially popular among musicians. Still, its closest competitor in the marketplace, the Commodore Amiga, outsold it 3 to 2. Atari eventually released a line of inexpensive IBM PC compatibles as well as an MS-DOS compatible palm computer called the Atari Portfolio.
Atari, under Tramiel, had a poor reputation in the marketplace. In 1986 a columnist for Atari magazine ANALOG Computing warned that company executives seemed to emulate Tramiel's "'penny-pinching' [and] hard-nosed bargaining, sometimes at the risk of everything else," resulting in poor customer service and documentation, and product release dates that were "perhaps not the entire truth ... Pretty soon, you don't believe anything they say." He concluded, "I think Atari Corp. had better start considering how they're perceived by the non-Atari-using public." The company, however, was much more open to the press than its predecessor Atari Inc., which had refused to let Antic preview forthcoming announcements and even opposed the magazine printing the word "Atari" on its issues.
On August 23, 1987, Atari agreed to purchase the Federated Group for $67.3 million. October 4, 1987, Atari completed the acquisition and gained full control of its own retail stores. In the final quarter of 1987, Federated lost $6.4 million in day-to-day operations. A post-acquisition audit ended on February 15, 1988, and identified $43 million in adjustments to Federated's balance sheet, far more than Atari anticipated. The net worth of its acquisition was reduced by $33 million. Atari's CFO later claimed that they would never have done the deal had they known at the time.Federated's operational losses increased, reaching $67 million for its first full year under Atari in 1988. The FBI began an investigation of Atari in May of that same year for an ongoing scheme involving the profitable import and resale of Japanese DRAM chips in the US, "in violation of U.S. import laws and contrary to import agreements." In March 1989, Atari announced that it would treat Federated as a discontinued operation and took an additional one-time charge of $57 million. Federated was eventually sold to Silo in 1989.
In 1988, Stewart Alsop II said that Atari was among several companies that "have already been knocked out" of the GUI market by Apple, IBM/Microsoft, and others,but Atari's sales hit their peak that year, at $452 million.
In 1989, Atari released the Lynx, a handheld console with color graphics, to critical acclaim. However, a shortage of parts kept the system from being released nationwide for the 1989 Christmas season; the Lynx lost market share to Nintendo's Game Boy, which had only a monochrome display, but a much better battery life, and was widely available.
As the fortunes of Atari's computers faded, video games again became the company's main focus. In 1993, Atari released its last console, the Jaguar. The Jaguar was one of the first fifth generation gaming consoles, but due primarily to a games library which was low in both quantity and quality, it was unable to compete effectively against the incumbent fourth generation consoles as well as the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation later in its lifespan.
Atari sustained a net loss of $49.6 million for 1995, with $27.7 million in losses during the last quarter of the year alone.Attempting to hedge their bets, in January 1996, Atari announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Atari Interactive, which would be devoted to publishing games for PC. However, Atari would relinquish its interest in both the Jaguar and PC software within a few months.
By the end of January 1996, a series of successful lawsuits followed by profitable investments had left Atari with millions of dollars in the bank but, due to the Jaguar's commercial failure, no new products to sell at all. In addition, the Tramiel family wanted themselves out of business, resulting in a rapid succession of changes in ownership. On February 12, 1996, Atari agreed to reverse-merge with JTS Inc., a short-lived maker of hard disk drives, to form JTS Corporation;the merger was completed on July 30. Atari's role in the new company largely became a holder for the Atari properties; most Atari staff either were dismissed or resigned, and the remainder were relocated to JTS's headquarters.
On March 13, 1998, JTS Corporation sold the Atari name and all of its properties to HIAC XI, Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive, for $5 million,less than a fifth of what Warner Communications had paid 22 years earlier. The transaction primarily involved the brand and intellectual property rights which would then fall under Hasbro's Atari Interactive division; all the rights to the Jaguar, however, were released into the public domain on May 14, 1999. On January 29, 2001, Hasbro Interactive, along with Atari Interactive, was purchased by Infogrames Entertainment SA, renaming itself Infogrames Interactive and then took on its current name in 2003 after its merger with the Hasbro-established Atari Interactive; the present day Atari Interactive, through Atari SA, continues to hold and license all Atari trademarks as well as producing many new games, some based on Atari's original properties, to this day.
Atari is a brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA. The original Atari, Inc., founded in Sunnyvale, California in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, and home computers. The company's products, such as Pong and the Atari 2600, helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.
The Atari 2600, originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS for short until November 1982, is a home video game console from Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games stored on ROM cartridges instead of dedicated hardware with games physically built into the unit. The 2600 was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a game cartridge: initially Combat, and later Pac-Man.
The Atari 5200 SuperSystem, commonly known as the Atari 5200, is a home video game console that was introduced in 1982 by Atari Inc. as a higher-end complementary console for the popular Atari 2600. The 5200 was created to compete with the Intellivision, but wound up more directly competing with the ColecoVision shortly after its release.
The Atari 7800 ProSystem, or simply the Atari 7800, is a home video game console officially released by the Atari Corporation in 1986. It is almost fully backward-compatible with the Atari 2600, the first console to have backward compatibility without the use of additional modules. It was considered affordable at a price of US$140.
The Atari Jaguar is a home video game console that was developed by Atari Corporation and originally released in North America in November 1993.
The Atari Lynx is a 8/16-bit handheld game console that was released by Atari Corporation in September 1989 in North America, and in Europe and Japan in 1990.
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JT Storage, Inc. was a maker of inexpensive IDE hard drives for personal computers based in San Jose, California. It was founded in 1994 by "Jugi" Tandon—the inventor of the double-sided floppy disk drive and founder of Tandon Corporation—and Tom Mitchell, a co-founder of Seagate and former president and Chief Operating Officer of both Seagate and Conner Peripherals.
The Atari XE Video Game System is an industrial redesign of the Atari 65XE home computer and the final model in the Atari 8-bit family. It was released by Atari Corporation in 1987 and marketed as a home video game console alongside the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega's Master System, and Atari's own Atari 7800. The XEGS is compatible with existing Atari 8-bit family hardware and software. Without keyboard, the system operates as a stand-alone game console. With the keyboard, it boots identically to the Atari XE computers. Atari packaged the XEGS as a basic set consisting of only the console and joystick, and as a deluxe set consisting of the console, keyboard, CX40 joystick, and XG-1 light gun.
MicroProse is an American video game publisher and developer founded by Bill Stealey and Sid Meier in 1982. It developed and published numerous games, including starting the Civilization and X-COM series. Most of their internally developed titles were vehicle simulation and strategy games.
Atari Games Corporation was an American producer of arcade games. It was originally the coin-operated arcade game division of Atari, Inc. and was split off into its own company in 1984.
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Amiga Corporation was a United States computer company formed in the early 1980s as Hi-Toro. It is most famous for having developed the Amiga computer, code named Lorraine.
Electrocop is a 1989 action video game developed by Epyx and published by Atari Corporation in North America and Europe exclusively for the Atari Lynx. It was also released in Japan on November 25 of the same year, where it was instead distributed by Mumin Corporation. One of the first games written for the platform, it was one of the launch titles that were released along with the system in North America.
Humongous Entertainment, Inc. was an American video game developer based in Bothell, Washington. Founded in 1992, the company is best known for developing multiple edutainment franchises, most prominently Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Spy Fox, which, combined, sold over 15 million copies and earned more than 400 awards of excellence.
Atari, Inc. formerly known as GT Interactive Software Corp. is an American subsidiary and publishing arm of Atari, SA. Formed in 1993 as the video game publishing arm of GoodTimes Home Video, the company subsequently majority acquired by Infogrames in 1999, and later renaming it Infogrames, Inc. As part of Infogrames Entertainment's company-wide re-branding in May 2003, Infogrames, Inc. finally became known as Atari, Inc. On October 11, 2008, Infogrames completed its acquisition of Atari, Inc., making it a wholly owned subsidiary. On January 21, 2013, Atari, Inc. filed for bankruptcy, with President Jim Wilson stating plans to split off from parent Atari, SA.
Atari Interactive is a name used by several separate groups and corporations since the mid-1990s. In 1996, it was the name of Atari Corporation's PC publishing division, bringing games like the Atari Jaguar's Tempest 2000 to the PC platform. From 1998 to 2001, Atari Interactive, Inc. was the name of the corporate entity that held the Atari properties purchased from JTS by Hasbro in 1998, and functioned as the retro publishing subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive. It is currently the name of a wholly owned subsidiary of Atari, SA, who is the current owner of the Atari brand and various other properties formerly belonging to Hasbro Interactive. The current Atari Interactive was formed in 2001, when IESA acquired Hasbro Interactive and proceeded to rename it to Infogrames Interactive. In 2003, IESA then changed the company name entirely to Atari Interactive, Inc. as part of its worldwide reorganization to focus on use of the Atari brand.
Atari SA is a French video game holding company headquartered in Paris. Its subsidiaries include Atari Interactive and Atari, Inc. Because of continuing pressures upon the company, and difficulty finding investors, it sought bankruptcy protection under French law in January 2013; its subsidiaries in the United States have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as well. All three subsidiaries have since exited bankruptcy, and are all going through a vigorous turnaround campaign.
Beverly, MA (May 14, 1999) – Leading entertainment software publisher, Hasbro Interactive announced today it has released all rights that it may have to the vintage Atari hardware platform, the Jaguar.
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