Never in the five-year-plus history of COMPUTE! have I written an editorial that could be interpreted to be as self-laudatory as this one. My apologies in advance. I assure you the topic is worthwhile. In early 1980, a fellow named Michael Tomczyk approached me with a desire to get involved in this budding industry of ours. He wanted to begin learning the ropes and building contacts in the rapidly expanding personal computer market. I gave him some sample assignments which he carried out well, and we began a relationship that has lasted through the years.
For a variety of reasons, the above being the foremost, I was aware that "someday" Michael wanted to write a book on Commodore and Jack Tramiel. He was aware (given our history of expertise in Commodore-relevant areas) of our interest in publishing such a book. When Michael left Commodore this past summer, he began work in earnest on his long-dreamed-of book. And we began work in earnest on agreeing on a contract. Both were finished at almost the same time, and we put a task force of senior editorial staff, notably Richard Mansfield and Juanita Lewis, immediately to work on it.
The result is a just-released COMPUTE! book, The Home Computer Wars. It's an exciting, enticing chronology of Commodore, the home/personal computer industry, and the impact of Jack Tramiel. As a firsthand observer of the time frame covered by the book, I can attest to its interest. It's also a well-written, well-edited book. I'll apologize again for such a syrupy editorial, but the book merits my comments. It is, after all, our first book division release in hardback, and our first non-applications book. We are quite pleased with it.
There seems to be some concern regarding the present state of the industry with all of the vendor and manufacturer consolidation that's presently occurring. Is the home/personal computer revolution over? Has the fad flagged? I think not. We argued some months ago that within any revolution there are companies that lead, companies that follow, companies that by age and evolution are "mature" growth companies, and companies that by different definition are "entrepreneurial" growth companies. It would seem to make sense that we've arrived at an evolutionary stage in our industry's development that's almost a pause to catch our collective breath. We're between buses. The dust is still settling from a rather massive industry shakeout that's been five years in the making; things have at last slowed down for a matter of months, and industry watchers are saying, "Ah-ha…that's it, I told you so…a fad."
Perhaps, instead, a better perspective would be that we're pausing between surges, and we fully expect this industry to again move rapidly ahead in the not too distant future. It might be sparked by a major coup on the part of a single manufacturer; it might be sparked by a single piece of software, but the march will resume. Commodore's Amiga Lorraine is just around the corner, and many argue that it represents the same quantum leap in personal computing technology and features that the VIC-20 did only three years ago when the notion of a $299 color and sound computer was hard to believe, never mind one selling for $200 or even $100. And not long before that, customers bought Apples because they wanted something, anything, that would run a revolutionary new program called VisiCalc.
So, we're confident we're not a fad, not a blip on a relatively minor time line in some future historian's textbook. Personal computing is here to stay, and we're sure of it. Until next time, enjoy your COMPUTE!.
Editor In Chief