Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 3rd Oct 2016 22:48 UTC, submitted by Eric Hill
Hardware, Embedded Systems

So how do the Atari ST sales and marketshare actually stack up?

According to research by Reimer, who gathered his figures from various annual reports, International Data Corp (IDC) forecasts, Gartner Dataquest research, as well as a few magazine articles from the 1980s (most of which have gone dark online since originally compiled, unfortunately). The numbers were pretty grim for both platforms when looking at the larger overall marketshare picture.

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Comment by ataristuser
by ataristuser on Mon 3rd Oct 2016 23:37 UTC
ataristuser
Member since:
2016-10-03

All this is well and good. My only response.

We had Sundog: Frozen Legacy. Enough said.

Also my Atari ST got me through university. It is what I could afford at the time and did the job.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by ataristuser
by leech on Tue 4th Oct 2016 23:19 UTC in reply to "Comment by ataristuser"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

So there are certainly many lists of 'this game came out for this platform, or that game came out for that platform' but It's odd that such an awesome game as Sundog was only ever released on the ST. Another great game by FTL was Oids, and I believe it was only ever ported to the Mac many years later.

I also miss Phantasie 2 on the Amiga, it was only ever released on the ST as far as 16 bit systems go. (I don't count DOS, maybe it was released for that as well).

Reply Score: 2

Comment by jockm
by jockm on Tue 4th Oct 2016 02:00 UTC
jockm
Member since:
2012-12-22

The factoid I find most interesting is that the Atari ST market share was always below that of the Commodore 64

Reply Score: 3

Amiga
by timbit42 on Tue 4th Oct 2016 02:02 UTC
timbit42
Member since:
2013-03-22

Of the Mac, Atari ST and Amiga, the Amiga was certainly technically superior. I don't think the Atari ST had much of a chance as Jack wasn't a person who really understood the computer industry. This is why none of the Commodore 8-bit computers were backward compatible with each other. Jack could have been just as successful as he was selling the C64, if he had been selling bicycles.

Irving Gould didn't understand the computer industry either and hobbled Commodore to its death, and to his own financial detriment.

We don't have to speculate about the Apple Macintosh. It wasn't much when it arrived, and it almost didn't survive either, but with Apple's marketing, it did, although not much of the original product remains today.

If Amiga had survived to today I think it would be basically an IBM PC, as the Mac is, with an Amiga graphic card on par with AMD or Nvidia and available to purchase separately. I don't think Jack Tramiel would have done as well with the Amiga as Commodore did. Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

Would we still have AmigaOS today, or would we be running some variant of Unix on it? Perhaps it would not have survived the Windows onslaught, and all that would remain is the Commodore Amiga video card product.

Rest in peace Jay Miner. You changed the world with the Atari 2600, 800 and Commodore Amiga, the greatest systems of their respective times.

Rest in peace Jack Tramiel. You brought computing to the masses, not the classes, and your products changed the course of my life.

Rest in peace Steve Jobs. You thieving artist.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Amiga
by feamatar on Tue 4th Oct 2016 07:54 UTC in reply to "Amiga"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

I think Jack understood the computer industry better than one might think. Where he screwed up was the aggressive push on the retailers with the C64. Part of the reason the ST failed was the hate for Tramiel, and that failed Federated business.

Atari had the right idea, they wanted to have a 32-bit Unix capable computer by 1987, they failed to get one out on the market til 1991. They fought hard, they even got MS Word on the platform. And actually that MS Word is quite cool, the doc format is backward compatible, and you can use your old document from 1987, and open it in a modern Word with all the formatting and fonts.

Was the Amiga superior? Wasn't the original OS quite buggy? I think even in 1.3 you need the command line to do simple things like deleting files. Or you cannot lasso files. Or you don't have a standard file requester. Or that you cannot display files in list mode. Or that grid layout was still nonexistent. Also it did not have a proper flicker free high resolution mode... All available on the ST mind you.

The Amiga had some neat features for late 1985, I love DigiView from the early apps for example. But all other competitors had great stuff.

Apple got out of the trouble because they worked for it, not simply because marketing. They were the first to introduce affordable laser printing with postscript support. They delivered AppleTalk, so your printer could be available for a network of computers where the printer was an individual node of this network. One cannot overstate how cool it was that you can just send your print job to the Laserwriter and continue with your work instead of waiting for printing to be complete. It even had superb industry software like LabView.

For the PC, it was the king, Hercules cards had very good resolution, you can put it on your tokenring network, and it had stable HDD support at the time the first Amiga HDDs were just emerging. And by the proper Amiga, the A2000 was out, the Deskpro386 pushed business computing to a whole new level. The PC was used for CAD and spreadsheets for 4 years by the Amiga was out, and it had custom cards for business applications to integrate with factory instruments and robots. For example, I really love reading in old magazines when they show how it was used by big factories at the time as a diagnostic tool. Mind you, if you had the money you could by the IBM 5175 PGD which was the industry level graphics card at the time with awesome features like 640x480 in 256 colour. Yeah, it was twice the price of an Amiga, but cheaper than a CAD workstation.

So all in all, the Amiga was great, it had some neat features, but the competition had its own, albeit less interesting for the home user, innovations at the same time.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Amiga
by timbit42 on Tue 4th Oct 2016 12:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Amiga"
timbit42 Member since:
2013-03-22

> Wasn't the original OS quite buggy? I think even in 1.3 you need the command line to do simple things like deleting files. Or you cannot lasso files. Or you don't have a standard file requester.

The Amiga always had these features. The rest you mention are true.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Amiga
by JLF65 on Tue 4th Oct 2016 15:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Amiga"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

OS 1.0 and 1.1 were a LITTLE buggy, but 1.2+ were quite stable. Far more stable than a PC or Mac of the same period. My older brother had an ST, but he lived half-way across the US by then, so I didn't have much experience with one. My old Amiga 500 certainly did well - I added 1.3, then a kickstart selector so I could run either 1.3 or 2.0, added the FATTER AGNUS for 1M of chip ram, then a 68030 accelerator with 8MB of ram. I finally got an A4000 when it came out and retired the old A500.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Amiga
by feamatar on Tue 4th Oct 2016 19:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Amiga"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

Actually you can remove files I was incorrect about that. what you cannot do is to create a new one, what you can do is duplicate one. but i think this is the same in mac os 2 as well. new drawer, lasso and a standard file requester was not present until Amigaos2.0

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Amiga
by henderson101 on Wed 5th Oct 2016 08:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Amiga"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

But to be fair - the desktop for the ST was GEM, which was licensed by Atari and was already a fairly well designed environment by that point.

The problem with the ST desktop was multitasking. Or lack of it. With the Amiga, you could do more than one thing at a time. With the ST, it felt like each operation needed to complete before the next started.

I used a lot of computers in that generation, and for general computing, I'd rank the general consumer level machines in this order (best to worst): Amiga, Acorn, ST, Apple. Yes, RISCOS above STOS/GEM every time, and I've documented myself as quite a RISCOS hater on here.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Amiga
by feamatar on Wed 5th Oct 2016 20:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Amiga"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

Actually I would argue that the opposite is true. GEM was slow and the API was sometimes stupid and over-engineered. Like having that virtual device interface with its abstract palettes. And it took years to get vector fonts... and even if the copper was not that necessary, the lack of a blitter was hurting the st line very much in the early days.

The Amiga was more elegant, but also lacked polish in some critical area. Multitasking was cool, but I think the Amiga CLI was much more important.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Amiga
by henderson101 on Thu 6th Oct 2016 13:39 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Amiga"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Yeah, I think we agree. My point really was that it was unsurprising that GEM was more polished looking - it was a licensed product. Okay, it wasn't exactly "off the shelf" because every version of GEM for the various platforms it was ported to seems to look different, but Workbench was a lot rougher because it was new code.

Reply Score: 2

The ST rocked
by icicle on Tue 4th Oct 2016 03:41 UTC
icicle
Member since:
2013-12-07

Neochrome. Cyberpaint. Megaroids. Carrier Command. Star Trek Rebel Universe. GFA Basic. STOS. Bubble Bobble. Star Glider. Oids. Dungeon Master. Cad 3D. 1st Word. Star Raiders. Barbarian. Time Bandit. Super Sprint. Arkanoid. Sun Dog. Gauntlet. Outrun. Joust. Gold Runner. ST Speach. PC Ditto. Flash. Spectrum 512.

These are a few of my favorite (ST) things.

Reply Score: 3

yerverluvinunclebert
Member since:
2014-05-03

The ST was our choice of device given the in-built MIDI capabilities and decent desktop GUI.

For those of you who haven't had their fix of Colonial Conquest for 28 years, a developer by the pseudonym of Kroah has re-engineered a load of old titles and reimplemented them to run on the PC.

I still play Colonial Conquest almost daily, it still being one of the best strategy games out there. Just the right amount of graphics, good gameplay and tough AI to beat.

Kroah's stuff is here: http://bringerp.free.fr/RE/

Edited 2016-10-04 08:23 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

And you also have the now 10 years old GLFrontier reverse engineered from the ST version : https://tom.noflag.org.uk/glfrontier.html

Glorious days ;)

Reply Score: 2

Quality lost me
by whartung on Tue 4th Oct 2016 17:14 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

I had an 800, always enjoyed that machine, loved the chip set. Lots of clever stuff in there.

But after that, I went over to the Mac. I never cared for the look of the ST, or the Amiga.

The razor share, even though B&W, display on the mac was compelling. The blocky, garishly colored GUIs with mouse pointers akin to baseball bats on the ST and Amiga, turned me off.

A friend got a Amiga 500, I thought the build on it was kind of cheap.

The display on the mac, and the underlying toolbox that drove the OS: from quickdraw to the window manager, to resource forks and code segments I thought all of those were the bees knees.

I never really looked twice at the ST and Amiga after that.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Quality lost me
by mrroman on Tue 4th Oct 2016 17:37 UTC in reply to "Quality lost me"
mrroman Member since:
2014-11-20

Actually, Atari had better B&W mode then Macintosh (640x400 in 70Hz). The picture was really crisp and there were no "baseball bats pointers" ;) . Take a look at the Calamus or other Atari ST productivity software ( http://www.atarimagazines.com/st-log/issue31/085_1_REVIEW_CALAMUS.p... ).

The story of CAD 3D for the Atari ST isn't that popular too. There is a nice page about that ( http://doudoroff.com/atari/cad3d.html ). It was a predecessor of 3D Studio for PC. They developed support for early 3D glasses and 3D video productions. Few demos are available here http://doudoroff.com/atari/quicktimegallery.html .

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Quality lost me
by Earl C Pottinger on Wed 5th Oct 2016 00:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Quality lost me"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

While I loved my Amigas more, I always thought the Atari ST had some great CAD software.

What I could not understand was the ST screamed for a 4 Megabyte version.

The Amiga really needed the extra memory too but if you had the money a-side from the expansion hacks there were all sorts of expansion cards and modules available for it. I even saw a huge 8 Megabyte expansion for the Amiga that was created at the University of Toronto in 1986!


However, the Atari ST as far as I know needed a circuit hack to expand the memory since the R/W line did not connect to the ST's expansion port, and if that port had 44 pins instead of just 40 there would have been enough pins to support up to a 8 Megabyte expansion.


I think the Mac-LC which started with a 68020 and then later moved to a 68030 doomed both the Amiga and Atari since it came out a lot earlier than true 32 bit models on those machines and memory was easy to expand if you have problems/programs that needed that memory.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Quality lost me
by JLF65 on Wed 5th Oct 2016 18:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Quality lost me"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

The Amiga 3000 was out at the same time, and while it didn't expand the custom chipset, it had a full 32-bit architecture everywhere else, including the expansion bus (first instance of Zorro 3). Granted, the onboard ram used ZIP connectors rather than the more common SIM socket, but at the time, memory of any type was damned expensive. The A3000 was a 68030 based system.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Quality lost me
by Earl C Pottinger on Thu 6th Oct 2016 05:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Quality lost me"
Earl C Pottinger Member since:
2008-07-12

Checking WIKI you are right that the A3000 came out at the same time, yet my memory is that it did not show up for sale until two years after.

What we did sell at that time was the A2500.

I wonder why I did not see the A3000 sooner, we sold a lot of Amigas.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Quality lost me
by JLF65 on Thu 6th Oct 2016 18:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Quality lost me"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Probably because the early models booted the OS off the harddrive and had a "beta" version of OS 2.0. Many dealers were leery of that "beta" label and waited until the next rev put OS 2.0.4 in rom. That delayed many stores about a year, and then you had shortages as a lot of pros and schools were demanding the new A3000, with schools and some businesses in particular demanding the UNIX version A3000UX.

The A3000 had scan doubling on the video so that regular modes could be used on (then) prevalent VGA monitors, as well as the modest ECS enhancement to the chip set allowing for VGA modes without scan doubling. There were really only two complaints: the Video Toaster didn't fit without a little bit of "help", and you needed a plug-in card for 256 color or better graphics.

Our business had an A3000 with the memory expanded as far as it would go on the motherboard, a toaster, a video card (the Picasso IIRC), and a custom card we made ourselves.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

I didn't know about the Amiga in the 80s, but man I wanted an Atari ST. It looked like the future. Classic Macs always seemed child like to me. Maybe because I first used them in a grade school setting, with only access the paint program.

Reply Score: 2

leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I'd recommend Amibay and/or atari-forum.com, there is a for sale/wanted section there.

I recently have been spending a lot more time with my Atari Falcon than I have with my Amiga 4000. My Falcon only has 14mb of RAM and the stock 16Mhz 68030, yet it can play MP3s whereas my Amiga cannot, and it has a 68030 and around 200mb of ram. It's all in the DSP.

But I will say this, between the two platforms, it seems that the Amiga's OS improved a lot more over the years. Atari put their full OS in ROM, which is awesome and crappy at the same time. Bad; Back in the day it made upgrading it expensive, since you had to swap out your old ROMs for new ones. Good; Whole OS was in ROM so it booted fast as hell, and you could never completely hose your system by installing some library/patch that made it unusable.

I absolutely love being able to hold down the control key, and it'll load your hard drive driver, but won't load any AUTO programs. Managing the system is so much easier than a modern one, even with MiNT.

If you want to pick up an ST, depending on what you're planning to do with it, I'd probably recommend an STe, specifically like a 1040STe. While I love my MegaSTe, TT030 and Falcon, the 1040STe and earlier systems seem a bit more compatible.

Reply Score: 2