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Old 25 May 2017, 21:57   #54
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: The Netherlands
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One problem with this whole Jack Tramiel discussion is the lack of sources and facts quoted here. So here's some stuff from Wikipedia (the Wikipedia page lists sources for each of those claims, if you want to check those be my guest - I see little reason to doubt the statements as is, they echo what I heard in magazines and news back in the day)

Note especially that some of the stuff mentioned here is from pre-Amiga Inc's existence and definitely not stated by (ex) Commodore employees.

So, some good first:
During a question and answer session at CommVEx v11 (July 18, 2015), Leonard Tramiel finally revealed to the crowd, what really transpired between Jack and Irving Gould during the 1984 C.E.S. show resulting in Tramiel leaving Commodore.[22]

On the 13th January 1984 during a meeting with Irving, Jack told Irving that treating the assets of the company as his own and using them for personal use was wrong. He said to Irving, "you can't do that while I'm still president" to which Irving responded by saying "Goodbye". Three days after the show, Jack announced to the public that he was resigning from the company. [23]
This is proper leadership, it is very much wrong to use company assets as if they are your personal assets. It is in fact illegal in many countries to do so.

Tramiel was a co-founder of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was opened in 1993. He was among many other survivors of the Ahlem labor camp who tracked down U.S. Army veteran Vernon Tott, who was among the 84th Division which rescued survivors from the camp and had taken and stored photographs of at least 16 of the survivors. Tott, who died of cancer in 2003, was personally commemorated by Tramiel with an inscription on one of the Holocaust Museum's walls saying "To Vernon W. Tott, My Liberator and Hero".[33]
Preserving history and honoring those who fought for your freedom is hardly a sign of being a bad person.

Some bad:
Gould had controlled the company since 1966. He and Tramiel often argued, but Gould usually let Tramiel run Commodore by himself. Tramiel was a micromanager who did not believe in budgets; he wanted to approve every expense greater than $1,000, which meant that operations stopped when Tramiel went on vacation
This is just a bad idea for a bigger company. Period.
It also shows off the person in question just wants too much control.

Adam Osborne wrote in 1981:[18]

The microcomputer industry abounds with horror stories describing the way Commodore treats its dealers and its customers. However, Jack Tramiel has built a large and profitable organization by offering a capable product. Tramiel definitely plays hardball, but he deserves credit for what he has been able to accomplish.
Outside 'proof' that Jack was not acting so nicely to those he dealt with.
Also note that this is from 1981, before any Amiga dealings so it was already known back then that he was not so nice.

Despite successfully shipping the ST, Tramiel's poor personal reputation hurt Atari. One retailer said in 1985 about the ST that because of its prior experience with Tramiel "Our interest in Atari is zero, zilch".[28] A software company executive said "Dealing with Commodore was like dealing with Attila the Hun. I don't know if Tramiel will be following his old habits ... I don't see a lot of people rushing to get software on the machine."[29] (One ex-Commodore employee said that to Tramiel "software wasn't tangible—you couldn't hold it, feel it, or touch it—so it wasn't worth spending money for".[30]) Steve Arnold of LucasArts said after meeting with Tramiel that he reminded him of Jabba the Hutt, while within Atari Darth Vader was often the comparison.[31] Another executive was more positive, stating "Jack Tramiel is a winner. I wouldn't bet against him."[32]
So his reputation with dealers was so poor, some refused to stock stuff he made. On top of that he was compared to the oh-so-nice Darth Vader by his own staff.

So no, the man was not a nice guy in business.
And as far as I can see, he did deal with his suppliers and his retail contacts poorly, if not outright hostile.

A store doesn't stop stocking successful products unless they really, really don't like the way they're being treated. Otherwise, money is money and they'd just sell on. Really, stores refusing to carry Atari ST's because of Tramiel tells you enough right there.

Note that this is just from one source (Wikipedia's Tramiel article), I'm sure that with more than five minutes of googling much more of the same can be found. Now, I couldn't find the newspaper clipping I remembered of a Tramiel interview in which he as much said he wanted to destroy Commodore by buying Atari, but I'm pretty sure that also exists.
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