On Monday, July 2, 1984, Jack Tramiel, his three sons, and a core band of Tramiel loyalists stormed Atari Incorporated’s headquarters and took control of Warner Communications’ bleeding, teetering Atari subsidiary. A little over five months later, in January 1985, a radically restructured Atari Corporation publicly unveiled its new computer at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. During the following spring, they shipped approximately 100 custom ST units to third-party software developers. And in June of that year, against all odds and amid widespread, doomsaying prognostications from industry pundits, the first production model Atari 520 ST computers rolled off the assembly line in Taiwan.
It had been a wild, wild ride.
AN EXHILARATING FIRST YEAR
“I tell you, it was very exhilarating,” recalls Shiraz Shivji, Atari’s Vice President for Research and Development. “During those days, I used to get home at about ten o’clock at night, six days a week. Sunday was about the only day we took off–sometimes we couldn’t take off Sunday. I remember New Year’s Eve [as the company scrambled to meet its self-imposed January 1985 CES deadline]. I was working that night when the firecrackers started popping, then well on into the New Year.”