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Atari 1200XL 105000 sold. Really?


R4ngerM4n
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Can someone please post how the selling figures I read in the FAQ at Atarimania (105.000) are computed? Just the sum of the highest serial numbers of both production lines? If so, how do you know if the serial numbers given by Atari are consecutive numbers? The list of post one in this thread does not contain any consecutive numbers (at least I couldn't locate any). I am pretty sure Atari tried everything to obfuscate the real sales figures. So I suppose there may be also some gaps - that even may vary on a daily or weekly basis - between serial numbers of computers that have been produced the same day. Any opinions?

 

I posted this in Karl Hellers Atari 1200XL serials thread before, but I think it should be a seperate thread.

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Sorry ... i had to count my own collection first.

 

when I was at 96.873 or so I was getting confused, so I could not continue counting.

 

So that 105.000 seems rather close.

 

I guess that those other 8127 are still in the wild somewhere... seems realistic to me!

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105,000 does seem pretty high for a machine at that time period, and that evidently sold poorly. But, some types of accounting create a "sale" as soon as an item is produced and available for sale. Not necessarily actually sold to another party, although could be "sold" to another division. So did they produce 105,000? Seems pretty realistic to me.

 

-Larry

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Sounds plausible the 1200XL overall sales weren't entirely high.

 

Despite the cost cutting it was still a fairly expensive machine. With the more closed architecture and perceived incompatabilities the market for the 800 actually surged late in it's life.

I can't remember the exact timeframe but wasn't it only a matter of months anyway between arrival on the shelves of the 1200XL and 800XL ?

Also I can remember 400/800 still being in ads in the Compute magazines well into the XL lifetime - seems Atari were notorious for over producing and also for reserves of old stock seemingly taking years to clear out.

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Well considering it was limited to the US I'd be guessing 105,000 was the production run, the 1200 and 1400 / XLD were gasps from an already dying company, which didn't even get the last two out so I'd say a huge production run would not have been on the cards.

 

I'd be stunned if they sold 105,000, produced serialised machines, yes, but sold, I very much doubt..

 

I'd be more inclined to think that the ST was more on their mind as a new cash cow...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Well considering it was limited to the US I'd be guessing 105,000 was the production run, the 1200 and 1400 / XLD were gasps from an already dying company, which didn't even get the last two out so I'd say a huge production run would not have been on the cards.

 

I'd be stunned if they sold 105,000, produced serialised machines, yes, but sold, I very much doubt..

 

I'd be more inclined to think that the ST was more on their mind as a new cash cow...

 

 

You've got your timelines a little confused. The 1200XL was produced for only about half a year, from prototype and initial production in December 1982 until around June 1983, but all accounts. It was planned to be the "big brother" to the 600XL, forming a pair to replace the 400/800 pair. Instead reception was so lukewarm, bordering on hostile, and people snapped up remaining 800's in droves as prices fell (including my brother and I at the time). As a result, Atari Corp. pushed a further cost-reduced and more compatible 800XL design into production and had them available in late '83 and early '84 in quantity.

Atari Inc., as such, died in early July 1984 and Tramiel's Atari Corp. took over the computer line. The Atari Corp. XE's and ST's didn't come to market until '85, well after Atari Inc.'s 1200XL had come and gone from the market.

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Yes, you are correct, skewed the time lines (old & senile :) ) but I'm still sure that the 1200 number isn't sales..

 

Bit annoyed I skewed it tho as I actually sold the whole range, broke my heart when we in the UK got the mini catalogue which included the 1450XLD which was going to be part of the Maplin range only for it to never happen :(

 

I'd even put a pre order in before we knew the prices, although even at trade I knew it was going to be pretty hefty!

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It was released not long before what were supposedly the best years for 8-bit sales, sheer numbers at least though not market share.

 

To me, even 200,000 would be believable though not much beyond that.

But if we assume serials representing actual production numbers then a decent amount of samples of what people here own would give a reasonably accurate figure.

 

 

ed - OK, http://atariage.com/forums/topic/107234-1200xl-owners-club-serial-tracker/page-13?do=findComment&comment=3427358

 

The samples owned by people here top out just under 80,000 in the spreadsheet in that post.

Edited by Rybags
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It was planned to be the "big brother" to the 600XL, forming a pair to replace the 400/800 pair.

 

That's not correct, I think. According to the book by Vendel / Goldberg the 1200XL was first. The product specifications of the 600XL were finished May 1983, i.e. several monthes later than specs of the 1200XL and even after the release of the 1200XL.

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That's not correct, I think. According to the book by Vendel / Goldberg the 1200XL was first. The product specifications of the 600XL were finished May 1983, i.e. several monthes later than specs of the 1200XL and even after the release of the 1200XL.

 

 

I've read Curt and Marty's book too. You misremember. From Curt's AtariMuseum site:

 

http://www.atarimuseum.com/computers/8BITS/1200xl/600.html

 

 

 

Work began on the 600XL in the spring of 1983, just a few months after the introduction of the 1200XL computer system. Meant to be a peer replacement for the Atari 400 computer system. To give it a peer model number, it was half of the 1200XL model number just as the 400 was half of what the Atari 800 model number was.

 

In other words, Atari's plan was a new pair of machines, 600XL and 1200XL, replacing the original 400/800 pair with new styling and simplified construction. It just happened that the 1200XL "flagship" was designed and introduced first, then then the 600XL was put into work to replace the 400. But by summer it was clear the 1200XL was tanking in the market, production was canceled, and the 800XL was rushed into design and production to form the upper half of the new pair of models.

Edited by DrVenkman
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You wrote the 1200XL was planned to be the big brother of the 600XL. Vendel / Goldberg wrote: 'Work began on the 600XL in the spring of 1983, just a few months after the introduction of the 1200XL computer system.' How can the 1200XL be planned big brother of something that didn't exist during the planning stage of the 1200XL? Logical fault.

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You wrote the 1200XL was planned to be the big brother of the 600XL. Vendel / Goldberg wrote: 'Work began on the 600XL in the spring of 1983, just a few months after the introduction of the 1200XL computer system.' How can the 1200XL be planned big brother of something that didn't exist during the planning stage of the 1200XL? Logical fault.

 

 

Because there was always planned to be two machines in the initial lineup, 1200XL and a putative 600XL, just as there was an original 800 and 400.

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I recall the only real complaints about the 1200xl at the time was it's price, compatibility issues with some 400/800 software, and the fact it wasn't perceived to be much of an upgrade over the 800 (and in some ways it was a downgrade). I thought it was an awesome looking machine though.Compounding the complaints, the real problem for the 1200xl was C= lowering the price of the 64 to $300 a couple of months after the $800 1200xl hit the market. Commodore really kicked Atari in the jumblies on that one. I don't think the 1200xl ever had a real chance of succeeding. Atari's misstep with the 1200xl and the subsequent delay of Atari being able to release a price-competitive machine was probably what opened the door for C= to dominate 8-bit sales virtually unchallenged for quite a while.

Edited by 917k
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Because there was always planned to be two machines in the initial lineup, 1200XL and a putative 600XL, just as there was an original 800 and 400.

 

If they planned to have two complimentary models it follows that the computers would be designed and released at the same, or similar times, like the 400/800. Given the timeline it looks like the 600XL (and 800XL) was a reactionary move to the public nose-wrinkling at the 1200XL, not a pre-planned action.

 

It still is entirely possible that the clueless management of Atari thought pre-planning sequential rather than simultaneous development of two computers in an unbelievably fast-changing market was a good idea. This would be more proof they were complete idiots.

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If they planned to have two complimentary models it follows that the computers would be designed and released at the same, or similar times, like the 400/800. Given the timeline it looks like the 600XL (and 800XL) was a reactionary move to the public nose-wrinkling at the 1200XL, not a pre-planned action.

 

I disagree but unless Curt finds info to the contrary or Kevin/Randy get hold of any then-current members of Atari Inc.'s Home Computer Division circa late 1982/early 1983 to provide recollections (preferably with old engineering notebooks with planning data), we'll never know for sure.

 

It still is entirely possible that the clueless management of Atari thought pre-planning sequential rather than simultaneous development of two computers in an unbelievably fast-changing market was a good idea. This would be more proof they were complete idiots.

 

This.

 

Warner's Atari Inc. was VERY slow-moving. The 400/800 line didn't change from 1979 through 1983, aside from more base RAM, minor changes like uncasing the 800 RAM/OS modules, and the switchover to GTIA (which wasn't a change so much as implementing something planned to be there all along but took too long). Look back on it objectively - the industry rate of change was much slower from the late 70's through the early 80's than it was from, say, 1984 through 1989. Atari Inc. always half-assed its computer products - they never had the marketing they needed to compete with Apple in the crazy-important educational markets and school systems. Retailer supply was always hit or miss outside of major cities. Product innovation just never really happened after the initial designs were frozen.

 

So yeah, there is no way Atari was planning to bring out the fancy new 1200XL in the cool 80's form factor and keep selling the staid, 1970's wedge-shaped 400 at the low-end, nor were they going to give up the bottom edge of that market segment to the VIC-20. They just tried to do the product line change-over slowly and on the cheap, they way they did everything else in Warner's computer division.

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It's totally logical that the 600XL was planned. Would have been somewhat ridiculous to have shiny new 1200XL selling alongside the by then ancient almost 4 yo 400.

 

1200XL I think was a matter of urgency. The C64 stormed onto the market and at lower cost to make than the 800. The obvious need for a cost reduced model with simpler manufacturing was there.

The 400, sure also somewhat complex but not to the extent of the 800.

 

Also we have to look at the overall culture of Atari at that time... concepts and prototypes were plentiful. Real machines not so much and usually late to market.

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  • 3 years later...

I remember seeing myself in person and trying out the 400, 600xl, 800xl, and 1200xl all for sale new and demo’d beside each other at the time at a large retail store in what must have been about 1983/84.  The 400 was on clearance, but the other 3 were being marketed as new.  The pricing on the 1200 was stupid expensive and it looked sexy.  But the 800xl was significantly cheaper and had better specs.  I remember thinking at the time (I was 12) the 600 just looked silly and the 400 looked like an alien toy. Lol. So we bought the 800xl. The expensive 1200 never had a chance and was only offered for a couple months in the marketplace before the 600/800xl showed up beside it. Come to think of it, I remember quite a few years before that seeing the lonely neglected 800 for sale on display at Sears and the price tag on it was very high.  If somebody wanted a home computer at that early time, the Apple was better value for the money.  Then Commodore showed up and stole the show.  Atari was always playing the wrong market at the wrong price, and it was too late when they finally figured it out. 

Edited by YSG2020
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