Lotus Development Corp shares plunged $4.25 to $24.50 in early trading on the Nasdaq national market yesterday after the company announced that its eagerly-awaited 1-2-3 Release 3, promised for mid-year, will not be available before the fourth quarter. The company blames the fact that 1-2-3-3 is the largest development project in its history, and needs more time for code shrinkage and optimisation to ensure it works well under both MS-DOS and OS/2. The impact on Lotus’ business of the delay is underlined by the fact that the new release will be the basis for the 1-2 3/M version for IBM mainframes, 1-2-3/G for OS/2 with Presentation Manager, and 1-2-3 for Apple’s Mac. David Readerman of Smith, Barney, Harris, Upham had been looking for $50m sales this year for Lotus from the new product alone. He had looked for $1.95 a share on sales of $465m against $1.58 a share on $395.6m last year, so the delay implies little growth this year for Lotus.