Before making home computers, Commodore produced other consumer electronics up until the 1977 release of the PET. The PET was more successful in education and business than with home users but established Commodore as a serious player. Sights were then set on the home market with the introduction of the VIC-20 in 1981. They aggressively marketed the VIC-20 towards home users, with Commodore investing in bigger budget TV advertising utilising William Shatner. Adding celebrity to the mix assisted with raising the profile of the VIC-20 in the developing home computer market.
In 1982, their timeless classic the Commodore 64 quickly followed, boasting significantly improved capabilities over the VIC-20. Also, it was priced markedly lower than many of its competitors, allowing them to market to the home user aggressively.
1984 brought a dramatic change to the company with Jack Tramiel resigning from the company he had founded. Relations between Gould and Tramiel had reached a low, resulting in a split. Without its founder, it needed to fight back with a plan for the future. Significantly, the acquisition of a small company called Amiga Corporation featured heavily in these plans. This would prove invaluable in the next phase of its life as a leader in home computing.
Where Are They Now?
Sadly Commodore finally declared itself bankrupt in 1994. Whilst they were a leading force throughout the 1980s, not investing in innovation led to their downfall. Continuing to push ageing Amiga technology meant they were not able to keep up with emerging PC technologies.