Farewell, Lotus 1-2-3

By David Ringstrom, CPA

IBM recently announced that Lotus 1-2-3 will no longer be available for purchase. Most readers of this article will likely have one of two reactions: "What is Lotus 1-2-3?" or else an incredulous "Lotus 1-2-3 was still on the market?" If you're of a certain age, you may wistfully remember Lotus 1-2-3 as your first spreadsheet program.
Lotus 1-2-3 has had a suggested retail price of $352, but it soon will no longer be available for purchase. Although it wasn't the first spreadsheet – VisiCalc has that distinction – Lotus 1-2-3 owned the spreadsheet for a number of years. Although Lotus did outlast Quattro Pro, Microsoft Excel eventually won the spreadsheet wars.
Lotus was slow to innovate and clung valiantly to its DOS-based heritage by way of feeble desktop publishing efforts like WYSIWYG. That wacky acronym stood for "What You See Is What You Get" with regard to applying fonts, colors, and other formatting to data and getting the same output on paper as one saw on-screen. If you want a sense of how spreadsheets looked "back-in-the-day," you can download and run VisiCalc.
Lotus 1-2-3 was first released in 1983, so its discontinuance this year marks the end of a thirty-year run. IBM bought Lotus Corporation in 1995 and still sells Lotus Notes, among other offerings, but will soon be dropping the Lotus name entirely. Lotus Corporation had a storied past, including innovative spreadsheet alternatives such as Improv and Symphony that never gained traction in the marketplace.
IBM will still provide support for Lotus 1-2-3 until June 2014, so die-hard users have a bereavement period during which they can transition their spreadsheet affairs to Apple's Numbers, Google Docs, OpenOffice, or perhaps even Microsoft Excel.
Read more articles by David Ringstrom. 
About the author:
David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@acctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.


You may like these other stories...

Cybersecurity is no longer the domain of an organization's IT staff. It's moved to the boardroom, and in a big way. Accountants and financial managers may have been thinking it's just the province of the tech...
You probably don't want to think about how many times you access the File menu in Excel 2010 or 2013. Personally I think Excel 2010 has the best possible File menu arrangement, other than having Print Preview grafted...
Following other recent high-profile hacking events, investigators discovered yesterday that hackers broke into the draft work paper files of several famous CPA firms. Revealing images of the scantily clad documents have been...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 21
Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience's communication style.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.