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Shiraz Shivji
Born1947 (age 76–77)
Alma materUniversity of Southampton
Stanford University
Known forDesigning the numerous computers such as the Commodore 64 and Atari ST

Shiraz Shivji (born 1947 in what is now Tanzania) was the primary designer of the 1985 Atari ST computer, and one of the engineers of the Commodore 64.


Shiraz Shivji, born 1947 in what is now Tanzania, was of Indian Ismaili heritage.[1][2] He was interested in electronics from an early age in what is now Tanzania. He was educated in the United Kingdom, where he obtained a first-class honours degree at the University of Southampton. He then moved to the United States, where he obtained a master's degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University during 1969–1973.


Shivji began work at Silicon Valley, and found work at Commodore International, where he was one of the engineers that helped build the Commodore 64.[2] By 1984, he had been promoted to being the director of engineering at Commodore.[3][4]

In 1984, Shivji was involved in a scandal related to his work on the Commodore 900. He was one of three systems engineers on the project since its inception in 1983.[5] He was sued by Commodore in mid-July 1984 for disclosing confidential research information connected to this project and disk drive design plans as he was beginning to transfer to Atari Corporation with Jack Tramiel.[1] He was acquitted of all charges in court alongside several other engineers.[6]

Atari Corporation

When Jack Tramiel took over Atari in 1984, with a number of Commodore engineers, the company was in bad shape, and Shivji's proposed cheap, powerful home computer, codenamed 'Rock Bottom Price,' was seen as a solution to financial woes.[3][7] While working for the newly founded Atari Corporation, Shivji was the primary designer of the Atari ST computer, among other projects.[8]

Shivji became Atari's Vice President of Research and Development, and led a team of six engineers who designed the Atari 520ST computer.[9] This work was completed in five months (July to December 1984).[10][11] The prototype presentation at the January 1985 Las Vegas CES was successful for Atari, and the product revived the company.

Shivji later led the design of the Atari TT before leaving Atari in 1990.[12]


Kamran Elahian recruited Shivji for his 1989[13] startup company, Momenta.[8][14] While there Shivji designed the Momenta Pen Computer, the first pentop computer and one of the first full sized tablet computers.[2][15]

Shivji received seven patents between the years of 2000 and 2007.[16]


  1. ^ a b Tomczyk, Michael S. (1984). The home computer wars : an insider's account of Commodore and Jack Tramiel. Greensboro, N.C. : Compute! Publications. ISBN 978-0-942386-75-2.
  2. ^ a b c "Shiraz Shivji". September 15, 2017. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  3. ^ a b Classic Videogame Hardware Genius Guide. Imagine Publishing. ISBN 978-1-908222-22-0.
  4. ^ Lendino, Jamie (2019-06-17). Faster Than Light: The Atari ST and the 16-Bit Revolution. Steel Gear Press. ISBN 978-1-7323552-1-7.
  5. ^ Bagnall, Brian (2006). On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore. Variant Press. ISBN 978-0-9738649-0-8.
  6. ^ "U.S. judge clears four in trial". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  7. ^ Sanger, David E. (1984-07-03). "WARNER SELLS ATARI TO TRAMIEL". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  8. ^ a b Parker, Rachel (1989-10-16). Elahian Looks for Financing for Firm Devoted to Building Small Laptop PCs. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. p. 44.
  9. ^ Daniels, Jeffrey (1988). "Three Years with the ST: An exclusive look inside Tramiel's Atari". Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  10. ^ FRIEDLAND, NAT. "First Antic Awards". Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  11. ^ "Atari vs. Commodore: der Heimcomputer-Krieg (PCGH-Retro, 2. Juli)". PC Games Hardware (in German). 2020-07-02. Retrieved 2021-05-30.
  12. ^ BARTEL, RAINER (2017-01-09). "Computerhelden (2): Shiraz Shivji - der Mann, der uns den Atari ST schenkte". Der Digisaurier (in German). Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  13. ^ "Momenta | Kamran Elahian". Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  14. ^ Oviatt, Benjamin M.; McDougall, Patricia Phillips (1995-05-01). "Global start-ups: Entrepreneurs on a worldwide stage". Academy of Management Perspectives. 9 (2): 30–43. doi:10.5465/ame.1995.9506273269. ISSN 1558-9080.
  15. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Momenta to Show 'Pentop' Computer". The New York Times. 1991-10-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-31.
  16. ^ "Shiraz Shivji Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications - Justia Patents Search". Retrieved 2021-05-31.