Retrocomputing podcast about the Atari 8-bit line of personal computers
hosts: Randy Kindig, Kevin Savetz, Brad Arnold
email: antic@ataripodcast.com
twitter: @AtariPodcast

Bill Mensch, 6502 chip

Bill Mensch is co-creator of the 6502 chip, the microprocessor that’s the heart of the Atari 8-bit computers, the Apple ][, Commodore 64, and many other classic computers. 

This interview occurred August 6, 2015.

Teaser quotes:

“These guys at Motorola aren’t going to do the microprocessor that we need to do: that is a low-end microprocessor to complete with the Intel 4040 which sold for about $29.”

“I had a bet with Rod Orgle, and Rod Orgle said the 6501 would outsell the 6502.”

“I’m in empowerment technology. I want to empower people to do their idea. That’s what I did for Chuck [Peddle], that’s why he came to me.”

“Now, you’d think that I was a big fan of Apple, and I’m not. The reason why I’m not is they killed off the Apple II to make room for the Macintosh.”

“All of those old brands — Apple II, Commodore, Atari, and the old Nintendo — could all come back to life, with the right relationships. And we have the technology.”

Links:

Bill and Dianne Mensch Foundation: http://themenschfoundation.org

Western Design Center: http://www.westerndesigncenter.com

My interview with David Cramer, Western Design Center: http://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-29-david-cramer-western-design-center

Direct download: Bill_Mensch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT
Comments[4]

  • Fascinating interview! I've always been interested on 6502 how it became so popular in so short time period and what was behind it. Now I know. I too hope, that Bill's offer for follow-up interview would be taken. Though, it could have already happened as I'm going slowly through my backlog of episodes and interviews only when I need to drive to office (I usually telecommute).

    posted by: Jani Launonen on 2016-09-01 18:15:07

  • This interview is a great 6502 is 40 years old as of aug 2015, mentch by Bill Mensch. His emphasis of processes at the small level as being intelligence that is embedded but often ignored as it is invisibly buried in possibly everything and also sort of simple in a mathematical way, could be a revolution in explaining how processes in general work. His care for health with his engineering is a key element of his maintaining the relevance of this old processor in such modern possibilities. If ever a consistently available elementary computer were needed in all the computer schools, then his 6502 could be it. As a person interested in maintaining amateur radio clubs, I have a peculiarly strong feeling about it. As Dieter Mueller says, God Speed.

    posted by: John Gooch on 2015-12-16 13:57:46

  • Just finished listening to this interview with Bill Mensch today (December 2, 2015). What a great interview - it was thoroughly engaging and thought provoking. Bill shared so much about the 6502 history and the current potential of that processor today that I hadn't heard before. Great work, Kevin! I hope you take Bill up on the offer for follow-up interviews.

    posted by: David on 2015-12-02 19:42:17

  • It's great to see that he obviously has a very clear vision, and he's accomplishing what he wants. Still. Today.

    posted by: Garth Wilson on 2015-12-02 08:04:50

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