Respect For The Masters: "In Memoriam: 9 Tech Titans Who Died in 2012"

"We made machines for the masses," said Jack Tramiel, the founder of the company that gave the world the Commodore 64. Then he nodded to the man sitting beside him, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. "They made machines for the classes."
The year was 2007, and Tramiel was on stage at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Commodore 64, a machine that debuted in August 1982 with a price tag of $595 and was soon selling for a mere $199. That made it several hundred dollars cheaper than the Apple II offered by Wozniak and fellow Apple man Steve Jobs — not to mention the IBM PC — and according to Tramiel, Commodore sold nearly half a million machines a month before he left the company in 1984.
All told, Tramiel said that night, somewhere between 22 million and 30 million Commodore 64s were sold, which likely makes it the best-selling home computer of all time. "We sold half that many," said ex-IBM exec William Love, referring to the original IBM PC.
Tramiel passed away this past April at the age of 83, and though he may not have been a household name, the Commodore 64 certainly was.

He was just one of several tech titans who died over the past year. None had the name recognition of a Steve Jobs -- who passed in 2011 -- but they may have moved our world in bigger ways. Among those that passed in 2012 are the IBMer who invented the bar code and the Zenith engineer who devised the first wireless TV remote -- not to mention one of the physicist who helped built the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Click on the images above to remember them all.

Jack Tramiel, Founder of Commodore Computers

Jack Tramiel was born to a Jewish family in Poland in 1928, and during the war, he was sent to Auschwitz, before he was moved with his father to a labor camp in Germany. He was freed in 1945 and emigrated to the States two years later, and in the mid-1950's, he founded a business called Commodore.

At first, it dealt in typewriters, but then it moved to adding machines, calculators, and, yes, home computers. After he was forced out of Commodore in 1984, Tramiel bought the consumer division of game outfit Atari and reformed it as Atari Corporation, which he ran until the end of the decade.
 
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