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No matter how hard it strives to diversify, Lotus Development Corp seems fated to be dogged by the overwhelming success of 1-2-3 – still 70% of 1986 sales, 85% of profits – and the company has bowed to the inevitable and agreed to implement 1-2-3/M, a version that will run on IBM 370-type mainframes. IBM will have exclusive marketing rights to the product, which is due out early next year. The development is part of a broadbrush 10-year pact with Big Mother that also involves collaboration on a multi-user SQL database to be developed for the forthcoming OS/2 operating system on Personal System/2 with help from (unidentified) outsiders, and micro-to-mainframe link applications; Lotus’ only other joint venture on such links – with Cullinet Software – was aborted after about a year with nothing to show for it. Two other versions of 1-2-3 are planned by the Cambridge, Massachusetts company for next year, an enhanced version for existing Personals, and a 1-2-3/G version that will use the new OS/2 graphics when they are available. Lotus told its annual meeting on Tuesday that it intends to invade every major sector of the software industry which, coupled with the database plans, was enough to slice $1.75 off Ashton-Tate Inc’s share price to $21; Lotus shares added $2.50 to $28.50.

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CBR Staff Writer

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