Lotus 1-2-3 is dead

IBM has decided to finally lay to rest the second killer app of the PC – the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.

In the early days of the Apple II, the reason for owning one was software called VisiCalc. The early spreedsheet gave companies a reason for installing the computer. However as software went it was not that great and IBM wanted something that would work with its much more serious Intel-based IBM PC and MS-DOS.

In early 1983, Lotus 1-2-3 put PCs on everyone’s desk. It was far faster than other attempts such as SuperCalc and Microsoft’s first spreadsheet, MultiPlan and with the opening of the Intel architecture and MS-DOS to IBM PC clones, Lotus 1-2-3 became the essential application for the 1980s PC revolution.

Its absolute dominance was short lived. Excel and Quatro Pro were giving it a good kicking by the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, 1-2-3 had fallen into third place in the eyes of spreadsheet users.

After Excel took over, Lotus was bought by IBM in a hostile takeover. It was expected that the ultra-liberal Lotus would not sit very well with the suits in IBM and nothing really happened to Lotus 1-2-3 after that point.

In 2012, IBM started retiring the Lotus brand. Now 1-2-3’s story is over. In a press release IBM tells us that effective from 11 June, 2013 IBM will withdraw from marketing part numbers from the following product releases licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement: Lotus 123 Millennium Edition V9.x, IBM Lotus SmartSuite 9.x V9.8.0, and Organizer V6.1.0.

Customers will no longer be able to receive support for these offerings after 30 September, 2014. No service extensions will be offered. There will be no replacement programs. It has passed on! This spreadsheet is no more! It has ceased to be! It has expired and gone to meet its maker!

“It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! It is pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! Its kicked the bucket, Its shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!” an IBM spokesperson did not say.

Lotus’ groupware client program Notes and its server component Domino will live on, although god knows why.  IBM will no longer be offering any Lotus-branded programs.