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End of the line

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Despite producing technologically advanced computers that were less expensive than both comparable Apple Macs and PC clones, both Atari and Commodore - two of the most venerable companies in the young personal computing industry - found themselves in trouble by the mid-'90s.

While both companies had capable 32-bit computers that were the equal of their competitors, Microsoft's dominance of the market made it difficult to convince software developers to write programs for their machines - hurting sales even more. Commodore was the first of the one-time P.C. giants to go out of business. Within a couple of years, Atari owner Sam Tramiel (who had founded Commodore decades earlier) folded Atari into a hard drive company.

Both names have survived, though. Atari's assets have been sold to a variety of software and arcade companies, which continue to release new titles under the Atari banner. Commodore sold its Amiga assets at auction; the Amiga name eventually wound up being owned by a firm that named itself after the computer.

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Copyright 2002 Computer Museum of America