The A500 was by far the best selling Commodore Amiga computer. It offered a good compromise between price and performance whilst being significantly more advanced than it's nearest rival (in fact, it's distant cousin) the Atari ST520.

Compared to the Atari, it had a slightly lower clock speed, 7.14MHz vs 8 MHz, but in it's favour it had custom graphics and sound hardware that Atari owners could only dream of. Most importantly, it had four channel, 8-bit stereo sound and a block image transfer unit (BLITTER) to move graphics around leaving the CPU free to do other things.

When the A500 was first released, it made a lot of IBM PCs look overpriced and outdated. Amiga users could suddenly do a lot of things that PC owners simply couldn't at that time- Low cost video editing, a pre-emptive multitasking operating system, multiple display resolutions overlaid on top of each other, low cost audio editing. To top it all, it was also an amazing games machine.

The world moved on, however. PCs got faster and cheaper, wheras the Amiga remained unchanged for too long.

Commodore, keen to at least give the impression that they were keeping up to date, made some changes in the form A500+, but in effect these changes were mostly cosmetic. They also introduced problems of their own- The A500+ simply replaced the A500 one day, but was incompatible with a lot of A500 hardware (All hard disc drives) and a significant amount of existing software. This must have put off a lot of potential A500 customers and is widely regarded as the beginning of the end for the Amiga.

Commodore appeared to respond by shooting themselves in the foot again- They ended production of the A500 range altogether and introduced the A600 in it's place. Again, this just made things worse- It was basically an A500 in a smaller package. The numeric keypad which made the A500 look businesslike was removed, the OS and Kernel were upgraded again bringing more incompatibilities, which again made people who would have bought an A500 think twice before buying what looked like a vaguely A500 compatible toy.

The final nail in the coffin was the release of the (actually quite advanced) A1200, which was no doubt what Commodore really wanted to release when they killed the A500 in the first place. It was clear that the A600 was simply meant to look like a 'cut down 1200' to fill a hole in the model/price lineup, and that the spirit of the A500 was gone forever...