Definition of Commodore

The term “Commodore” primarily refers to the Commodore International, a company that was influential in the development of personal computers in the 1980s. They were known for producing popular models such as the Commodore 64, VIC-20, and the Amiga series. The company went bankrupt in 1994, but its legacy persisted in the form of its products and brand name.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Commodore” is: /ˈkɒmədɔːr/

Key Takeaways

  1. Commodore International was a leading electronics company in the 1970s and 1980s, best known for its popular home computers such as the Commodore 64, VIC-20, and Amiga series.
  2. The Commodore 64 remains one of the best-selling single computer models of all time, with approximately 17 million units sold worldwide, making it a significant and influential product in the history of personal computing.
  3. Despite achieving commercial success, Commodore faced financial difficulties in the early 1990s, ultimately filing for bankruptcy in 1994 and closing its doors, marking the end of a significant era in the evolution of computer technology.

Importance of Commodore

The technology term “Commodore” holds significant importance as it refers to the Commodore Business Machines (CBM), an influential American company that played a crucial role in shaping the home computer and video game industries during the 1970s and 1980s.

Founded by Jack Tramiel, the company pioneered technological advancements and affordability, producing a series of revolutionary computers such as the Commodore PET, VIC-20, and the famed Commodore 64.

The latter became the best-selling computer model of all time, owing to its unprecedented multimedia capabilities and broad availability.

The contributions of CBM have left a long-lasting impact and laid the foundation for personal computing and gaming, making the term “Commodore” synonymous with innovation and history in the tech industry.


Commodore, a name synonymous with early personal computing, played a significant role in introducing computers and related technology to the general public. Established in 1977, the Commodore International company rose to prominence for its innovative range of products, widely popular for a variety of uses across different sectors.

These uses encompassed education, gaming, programming, and even professional applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets. The key purpose of Commodore computers was to make computing accessible and affordable to the masses, paving the way for a digital revolution in households and workplaces worldwide.

One of the most notable products created by Commodore was the Commodore 64, which dominated the market in the early-to-mid 1980s. Recognized as the best-selling single computer model of all time, the Commodore 64 greatly contributed to the boom in personal computing.

Its affordability, paired with advanced specifications for that era, enabled millions of users to experience the benefits of computing in their daily lives. Whether it was for recreational pursuits, like gaming, or learning to program using BASIC language, the Commodore series undoubtedly played a pivotal role in shaping the technology landscape we encounter today.

Examples of Commodore

Commodore 64: Launched in 1982, the Commodore 64 is one of the best-selling home computers of all time. With 64 KB of RAM and a powerful 8-bit MOS Technology 6510 processor, it became a popular choice for gaming, programming, and everyday computer tasks. The C64 dominated the low-end computer market for most of the 1980s, due to its affordable price and ease of use. It had a user-friendly operating system, Commodore BASIC (a version of Microsoft BASIC), and could connect to a variety of peripherals, such as floppy drives, printers, and joysticks.

Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor): The Commodore PET was released in 1977, marking Commodore International’s entry into the burgeoning personal computer market. The all-in-one design, complete with keyboard and built-in monochrome monitor, made it an attractive choice for early computer enthusiasts, educators, and businesses. Powered by a MOS 6502 processor and featuring 4 KB or 8 KB of RAM, the PET ran a version of the BASIC programming language. It became a popular platform for many educational applications and launched the Commodore brand as a pioneer in the personal computing industry.

Commodore Amiga: Launching in 1985, the Amiga was the company’s flagship multimedia computer system, offering groundbreaking features and performance in gaming, graphics, music, and video production. With its advanced custom chipset and Motorola 68000 CPU, the Amiga delivered impressive capabilities in bitmap graphics, animation, and sound. The Amiga’s multitasking operating system, named AmigaOS, allowed users to run multiple applications simultaneously. The computer quickly gained a dedicated following among artists, musicians, and game developers, establishing the Amiga as a creative powerhouse in the 1980s and 1990s.

Commodore FAQ

What is Commodore?

Commodore International was an American home computer and electronics manufacturer founded by Jack Tramiel in 1954. The company developed and marketed some of the best-selling home computers of the 1980s and early 1990s, such as the Commodore 64, Commodore PET, and Commodore Amiga.

What was the Commodore 64?

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64 or C=64, was an 8-bit home computer introduced in 1982. It became the best-selling single personal computer model of all time, with over 17 million units sold worldwide. The C64 featured 64KB of RAM, a powerful sound chip, and impressive graphics capabilities, making it hugely popular among gamers and software developers.

What was the Commodore Amiga?

The Commodore Amiga was a family of personal computers introduced in 1985. It combined the power of a 16/32-bit processor, advanced graphics, and high-quality audio, which made it a popular choice for multimedia and creative professionals. The Amiga boasted a strong developer community and had a wide range of software and games available.

Why did Commodore go out of business?

Commodore International filed for bankruptcy in 1994, largely due to poor business decisions, mismanagement, and increased competition from other computer manufacturers. The decline of the home computer market, the rise of video game consoles, and the inability to adapt to the industry’s changes also contributed to its downfall.

Are there any modern Commodore computers or products?

Although Commodore International no longer exists, various companies have released products inspired by or bearing the Commodore brand. These include modern keyboards, smart devices, and even a Commodore 64 Mini, a miniaturized version of the original C64 with pre-installed games and USB ports. However, these products are not directly linked to the original company.

Related Technology Terms

  • Commodore 64
  • Commodore Amiga
  • Commodore VIC-20
  • Commodore PET
  • Commodore BASIC

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