Inventor of the Personal Computer, Chuck Peddle, Dead at 81

Chuck Peddle Inventor of the Personal Computer 1979The inventor of the Personal Computer, Chuck Peddle, died on December 15th 2019

Here is a quote we from stole from our friends at www.Team6502.org that originated with MOS Technology employee, Frank Slattery:

What a great bunch of guys the Motorola eight were. I was the manager of the layout people and it was my duty to make sure that the Motorola eight had every opportunity to do their design work with no problems. I was standing next to Chuck Peddle when he said to Jack Tramiel, the CEO of Commodore Business Machines, “With this chip we can build a personal computer.” It was the first time I ever heard the words, “Personal Computer.”   The rest, as they say, is history.

The first time I spoke with Chuck was in the late 1990’s and I remember being just stunned that:

  1. this 65ish year old was not just still involved in technology but truly excited about his new work with DRAM and storage
  2. this busy industry titan would spend hours talking to some random Canadian fan boy

I can’t claim to know the man very well but in the few times I interviewed him in person, he was always enthusiatic, interested and interesting.

Chuck Peddle Father of the Personal Computer 2017The first time we met in person was truly thrilling for me.  It was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas about 2006.  I was working the show for ‘new’ Dutch Commodore and he was… well he was just being Chuck.  He was there because he was facinated by all the new tech.  He took me to dinner and let me interview him for five or six hours until sometime between 1am and 2am.

He told me about how he cleverly manipulated Motorola into firing him for telling THEIR customers that a $25 6800 could not be built; then using that legal letter as the basis for the 6501 (which quickly became the 6502).  He told me about several visits to Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak in the ever so famous Apple garage; having to teach them how to connect and code the 6502 so it actually worked.  He told me about how his Personal Computer pitch to Radio Shack, Xerox and others that was rejected.  He told me about how he convinced Commodore’s Jack Tramiel to build the PET and beat everyone else to market with the worlds first PC.  He  told me about working for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and others.  This was where is now famour quote “There is nothing nice about Steve Jobs and nothing evil about Bill Gates” came from.  He told me about his own business grade PC company Victor/Sirius, why it failed and how Kidde (now famous for fire detection equipment) bought out the residue of his dream.  After all of this, he excitedly told me about his new work and how living in three countries (India, the US and Singapore I beleive) was not a problem for him.

I have always being curious about everything.  Electroncs, coding, cars, engines, computers, manufacturing, extraction, politics, the environment and practically everything else are interesting to me but not  to most others.   Everything I asked Chuck about, resulted in a sparked response and I remember how odd it was to talk to someone who seemed curious about everything.  He had skill, work ethic, tallent, showmanship (lots of showmanship), and ability to take calculated risks that few others have.

We at www.Commodore.ca are deeply saddened by this great loss.


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