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Lotus 1-2-3 is a discontinued spreadsheet program from Lotus Software (later part of IBM). It was the first killer application of the IBM PC, was hugely popular in the 1980s, and significantly contributed to the success of IBM PC-compatibles in the business market.[1]

Quick facts: Developer(s), Initial release, Final release,...
Lotus 1-2-3
Developer(s)Lotus Software
Initial release26 January 1983; 39 years ago (1983-01-26)
Final release
9.8.2 / 2002; 20 years ago (2002)
Written inx86 assembly language, C
Operating systemDOS, Windows, OS/2, classic Mac OS, MVS, VM/CMS, OpenVMS, PC-98, Unix, Linux

The first spreadsheet, VisiCalc, had helped launch the Apple II as one of the earliest personal computers in business use. With IBM's entry into the market, VisiCalc was slow to respond, and when they did, they launched what was essentially a straight port of their existing system despite the greatly expanded hardware capabilities. Lotus's solution was marketed as a three-in-one integrated solution: it handled spreadsheet calculations, database functionality, and graphical charts, hence the name "1-2-3", though how much database capability the product actually had was debatable, given the sparse memory left over after launching 1-2-3. It quickly overtook VisiCalc, as well as Multiplan and SuperCalc, the two VisiCalc competitors.

Lotus 1-2-3 was the spreadsheet standard throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, part of an unofficial set of three stand-alone office automation products that included dBase and WordPerfect, to build a complete business platform. With the acceptance of Windows 3.0, the market for desktop software grew even more. None of the major spreadsheet developers had seriously considered the graphical user interface (GUI) to supplement their DOS offerings, and so they responded slowly to Microsoft's own GUI-based products Excel and Word. Lotus was surpassed by Microsoft in the early 1990s, and never recovered. IBM purchased Lotus in 1995, and continued to sell Lotus offerings, only officially ending sales in 2013.[2]

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