Commodore brand to be relaunched

Tulip Computers NV, which owns the Commodore brand name, plans to relaunch the brand to take advantage in an upsurge of interest in the obsolete Commodore 64 (C64) computer and its 1980s-era games, the company said in a statement last Friday.

Tulip estimates that there are still 6 million Commodore users, who can choose from a range of 6,000 games which were developed for the system.

Tulip is working with Ironstone Partners Ltd., which will handle all sales of Commodore 64-related products worldwide and take over the main C64 Web portal. Enthusiasts have made over 10 million game downloads, the site owners have said.

Unauthorized use of the Commodore name by other organizations will be stopped, Tulip said in the statement.

Even if the Commodore 64 hardware is obsolete, enthusiasts have written emulators for Windows PCs, Apple Macintoshes and now PocketPC-based PDAs (personal digital assistants) to enable original Commodore games to run on those systems.

Commodore was one of the pioneers of the PC industry, entering the market in 1977 with its 8-bit PET (Personal Electronic Transactor). The C64 was launched in 1982, followed a few years later by the Amiga.

Slowly, the crucial graphics edge that these systems enjoyed was eroded by successive improvements in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows OS, and Commodore went into liquidation in 1994. Tulip, based in Amersfoort, Netherlands, bought the Commodore brand name and other assets in 1997.

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