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TI99/8, what if?


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Given that a major nail in the TI home computing coffin was the price war with Commodore, would the TI99/8 have reversed the home computing divisions fortunes?

Apparently the CBM board were unhappy with Jack Tramiel-who was out of Commodore a couple of months after TI announced the end of the home computing division.

With this hind-sight(wonderful thing), if TI had continued with the TI99/8, could it have killed or slowed down the C64's eventual dominance?

I believe the initial price point of the TI99/8 would have compared favourably with the C64 and would still have allowed TI to maintain a profit margin on the costs of the machine(unlike the 4a).

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It's hard to know, as with all such things.. but I thought someone had posted that the current line of thinking on the 99/8 was that there was no way it was going to come in anywhere close to the intended price point, and that was part of the decision...?

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I read that one of the reasons the board let Jack Tramiel go was that even with the millions of C64 sold CBM wasn't making any money. Jack had became so obsessed with driving everyone else out of the home computer business that he had slashed the profit margin on the C64 to about zero.

The 99/8 would never had a chance against that.

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It would have made no difference against the C-64 considering no other competition on the low end ever made a dent in what the C-64 would eventually go on to sell. It was the right mix of power and incredibly low price. You can also look to how other super 8-bits fared, including the CoCo 3 and Commodore's own C-128. I think the 8-bit domain was the C-64s, and then everyone soon moved onto true 16-bit and beyond computers (I say true 16-bit because while platforms like the TI-99 series had 16-bit processors, they had 8-bit bottlenecks in the rest of the design). As a collector of everything, though, I would have LOVED for TI to have released the TI-99/8, much like I would have loved for Commodore to have released the C65.


With all the above in mind, it does beg the question what would have happened had TI doubled down on the TI-99/8, rather than pulling out (would have they have stuck around a few more years), but, let's face it, they pulled out of the low end market for a reason. It was a money sink where they could no longer compete on price.

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1st post here, but I have been lurking a bit since purchasing some TI994a consoles from ebay, just need a 110v to 240v converter (on order).


I was thinking about exactly the same thing last night, was TI premature in pulling out of the market especially as it looked as though the TI99/8 could blow Commodore away in terms of hardware specs.

Considering that the only thing Commodore came up with wasn't even their own design (Amiga), TI might have had a chance, but TI were also up against Commodore in terms of Corporate philosophies.

Commodore were very open about freely releasing hardware documentation on their machines, TI were not.

I just recently finished reading Brian Bagnalls "Commodore, a Company on the edge" 2nd edition, and it certainly look as though Jack Tramiel's Sons were the unresolvable problem with Irving Gould.

That also stacks up as later Tramiel bought Atari and His Sons were involved with that.


TI99/4a was my first computer (My Parents had $200, not $600 (c64)), unfortunately it died around 1986 or 1987 whilst loading in a Tunnels of Doom game from cassette, the characters on the screen all went funny and that was that.

Had I known that later as a Electronics technician I would be able to fix it one day I would have kept it, but in the early nineties without the WWW, that looked unlikely, so it got binned.


I have spent a while over the last Year purchasing and repairing a few dead c64's, and am quite impressed as far as what they are capable of technically, am now also looking forward to getting

back to the TI after a 27 Year forced break. I have pcbs and parts on order to create some 64k (512kbit) carts. I am going to internally upgrade one of them to 32k and also have ordered and received

some TMS9929ANL video chips for a PAL conversion, and don't see why the 5 pin DIN can't be converted with a homemade plug and cable for Component output. Some fun ahead indeed.

A nanoPEB is also on my shopping list.

Edited by Imperious
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