IBM HAS DISCONTINUED support for its pioneering productivity package Lotus 1-2-3.
A notice on the IBM website confirms that there is to be no further support for the spreadsheet, database and diagram package that was first released to market 31 years ago.
The final supported edition, the Millennium Edition, reached end of life as on 30th September. It is unknown how many users, if any, it still had at that time.
Lotus Software, the original creators of Lotus 1-2-3 was the original dominant force in the PC productivity market. Its unique tiled interface (ring any bells?) was hugely popular and led to a $3.5bn takeover by IBM in 1995, as the company attempted to get a stranglehold on the email market with Lotus Notes, by integrating Lotus products as the default in IBM PCs.
At that time, Lotus 1-2-3 was so important that it was used as one of two compatibility benchmarks for IBM PC clones, the other being Microsoft Flight Simulator. But when version 3 was beset by technical hitches, it gave Microsoft's young upstart Excel a chance to catch up.
Eventually, Lotus 1-2-3 became part of Smartsuite, a Windows ported package to rival Microsoft Office. Support for Smartsuite as a whole came to an end last year, and the end of Lotus 123 marks the effective end of the Lotus brand. It is survived by Lotus Notes, now branded IBM Notes, and several other productivity products, increasingly focused on cloud based productivity.
In 2011, IBM gave away Lotus Symphony, the nominal successor to Lotus 1-2-3 to the Apache Foundation for open sourcing.
Today, IBM's ambitions lie in the cloud, with its supercomputer Watson recently rolled out to customers on a freemium basis for data analytics without the need for on premise hardware. µ
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