Commodore 64/128

USA 1986

This ad is from 1986 and it is trying to push the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 to educators. While the Commodore 64 was by far the most popular 8-bit computer of all time, it never had the success that Apple did in education, at least in the U.S. This was probably at least in part do to the head-start that Apple had as the Apple II was released a number of years before the Commodore 64 and remained mostly backwards compatible throughout its various interations all the way through the early 1990s. Before the Commodore 64 Commodore had the VIC-20 and PET lines but these were not as compatible. The rest came down to marketing. Apple was better at it.

The Commodore 64 was far better than the Apple II for games and at least its equal for education but once schools had an investment in Apple software and hardware there was really no switching. Apple did a far better job marketing to schools and got there earlier than Commodore did for the most part. Having said that, the Commodore 64 was used in many school districts and was very popular in some other countries for education, including Canada. The Commodore 64 had the advantage of being quite a bit cheaper. Apple’s were overpriced then too.

However, while kids were more likely to have a Commodore 64 at home in the U.S., they were more likely to be using an Apple II in their school. My Middle School had a room full of Apple IIs while I had a Commodore 64C at home. By the time I was in high school it was mostly PCs but oddly there was one room with TRS-80 Model IIIs and IVs in which BASIC programming was taught.