Publisher Arnoldo Mondadori – Mondadori’s Company Archive
Magazine…. Pc Week
Publication Date…. 14/07/1988
Publication Number…. 0026
Page Number…. 0029
Lotus 3.0 Delays, But Promises Are Good
Summary…. At the Italian branch they are convinced that the majority of users will migrate from 1-2-3 to the new version
Author …. Roberto Mazzoni
Topics …. Industry Computer
Type …. News
Subjects…. Lotus
Creation Date 19/11/1988




Features of Lotus version 3.0

Main Article Text

IMAG0240Lotus Development celebrated a few weeks ago, the achievement of selling its four hundred thousandth 1-2-3 package in the world, but at the same time is suffering from the image problems that the delay of version 3.0 deliveries are causing. After announcing availability of the product for the beginning of summer, the company has corrected the target date by affirming that developmental work is proceeding with a delay of six months and that the package will be released in the English version in November, while the 3.0 release will come riding into the Italian market between December and January. This gap between the date announced and the real date has created, from the beginning, some bewilderment in users. However from the very beginning, I had said that a delay would be possible, stated John Catalfamo, the man responsible for the Italian subsidiary, helping to contain the damage at least in terms of sales. In fact, companies have decided that it was not worth the wait and they have continued their investments in the current (2.01) version. Those that resent the delay more than others, are the retailers who, according to Catalfamo, are affected to a greater extent by this this wait because the retailers await the arrival of the enhanced graphic products, in order to sell more powerful workstations with greater profit margins. In fact it is more profitable to sell a personal computor with an advanced type of graphics card with a color monitor and so forth , rather than the simple monochromatic workstation with elementary graphics functions such as those currently marketed by Lotus. DSCF8095 In any case, Lotus is not uniquely in trouble: another illustrious victim in the race with time is Ashton-Tate, who is going through hard times with delays in the delivery of dBase IV. In Italy, the suffering in regard to waiting is, in a sense, anesthetized by a much more serious problem for both the company as well as for its distributors: the issue of pirated copies. The phenomenon is so widespread although at peak usage, because paradoxically the number of copies of Lotus 1-2-3 sold on the national market does not even reach the quantities registered in Switzerland, and is comparable to levels of diffusion found in Sweden and Finland. The phenomenon is drastically greater for 1-2-3 than for other Lotus products. There is talk of ten pirate copies for each copy sold regularly, whereas for Symphony and Freelance the ratio drops down to two to one, or one to one. Catalfamo justifies this gap with the phenomenon of parallel importation. Lotus 1-2-3 began to circulate in companies long before the Italian branch of Lotus they became operational, so the uncontrolled purchase of the product was the norm. Since the company has established a direct relationship with the medium and large users, it has managed to gain more control of edp or procurement departments that control the dissemination of packets, thus limiting the phenomenon of piracy. The advent of 1-2-3 version 3.0 should therefore be an opportunity to start from scratch, even for the spreadsheets, and create a supply channel that goes directly from the manufacturer to the user. Catalfamo, moreover, it is certain that the majority of current users of 1-2-3 will switch to the new edition, which represents a quantum leap forward in quality, after more than two years of stagnation (version 2.0 dates back to the beginning of 1986). Indeed, it will function under Ms-Dos below Os 2 and will offer, in addition to the well-known three-dimensional perspective of several linked sheets across multiple levels, several new functions (which are listed in the box at the bottom of this service). At the moment, Catalfamo has estimated that the legal users of 1-2-3 in Italy number about 35,000 and that the sales will reach the value of about 10,000 copies a year. However, he confides, that, with the new announcement that will level rise with an increase of 40-50% in the next three years. The growth would be much faster if the proposed law protecting the legal rights of software were approved without delay. This proposal was sponsored by IBM and other manufacturers, as well as from Assoft and the office monitoring data transmission and computer science from the President of the Council. In any case, the real trump card for the conquest of new markets would be to turn 1-2-3 from a closed program with limited programmability, to a platform that can interact much with external application programs (via the multi-interface Blueprint), customizable in detail, using the programming language Leaf, which presents structural characteristics very similar to those of Pascal. Some gaps have been filled specifically regarding the spreadsheet, which required the user to use several external modules to meet the needs for printing and graphical representation of data. Furthermore, the three-dimensional structural version of 3.0 with its ability to manage multiple files in connection with the spreadsheet will be used to streamline the user’s job setting by dividing, for example, the actual details with the final data and the macro programming.


Roberto Mazzoni