Atari Program Exchange

Atari Program Exchange

Atari Program Exchange

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Description:
Atari Program Exchange (APX) was a division of Atari, Inc. that distributed software for the Atari 8-bit family of home computers through a quarterly mail-order catalog. APX, the brain-child of Dale Yocam, started in February 1981 and guided by Fred Thorlin. APX published quarterly catalogs until 1984, when Atari CEO James J. Morgan closed down the mail-order division.

Details

When Atari first launched the 8-bit systems in late 1979, they kept most of the hardware details secret. They intended to be the primary supplier of software for the platform, as had been the case with the Atari 2600 console. By the end of the first year on the market, however, many of these details had "leaked out" and increasingly sophisticated applications were becoming available. However, there were a limited number of distribution channels at the time.

Dale Yocam approached Atari with the idea of setting up their own 3rd party publishing arm. With Atari's distribution capabilities the products would be seen by many more prospective customers, and at the same time, Atari would make money with every sale, money that would otherwise be lost. As Chris Crawford later put it:

<blockquote>The guy who cooked up the idea, Dale Yocam, was trying to explain to the management that there are a lot people out there that like to write programs and if we can publish these programs for them, it's a win-win. The management was not very interested in it. He put together a business plan for it and...
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