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February 26, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:17pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The Mesa graphical spreadsheet, which has built up somewhat of a cult following over the last few years, could gain some advantage from Apple Computer Inc’s new operating system strategy. Following substantial redesigning of its product, UK company P & L Systems Ltd has launched the Mesa 2.0 spreadsheet for NextStep, claiming substantial gains in speed and efficiency. The Amersham, UK-based company has also developed a version of the product for Apple Computer Inc’s new operating system, Rhapsody which will be available for new hardware by the middle of this year. Mesa – which follows in the tradition of Informix Corp’s Wingz and Lotus Improv, products that were innovative but ultimately not big sellers – was originally developed by Dave Pollock at Athena Design Inc in 1991 for NextStep. Pollock later developed a version for the OS/2 system following a customer request. At the beginning of 1996 Pollock sold Mesa to two companies, the NextStep version going to P & L Systems and the OS/2 version to Seal Beach, California-based Sundial Systems Corp. The two firms operate separately, with Mesa effectively being two products. Mesa 2.0 was actually launched by Athena before it sold the product to P & L Systems and Sundial, but the NextStep version has been updated in a bid to boost performance, incorporating a new tool box, graphics in reports, a split screen formula bar and an improved formula builder, among other things. The NextStep version is priced at $375 for commercial users and $100 for academic users. P & L intends to upgrade Mesa 2.0 to enhance its workbooks and will release Mesa for OpenStep before the end of the year. Sundial, developer of Mesa for the OS/2 system, is currently working on a new release that should be available in April. Mesa 2.1.6 will have larger scalability and a greater customization on the user interface. Sundial’s president Randall Flint said that the new version will enable users to lock columns and blocks together, something that is available in spreadsheets such as Microsoft Corp’s Excel, but has never been an option in Mesa. Sundial’s other products include the Relish time management system and DBExpert relational database. Flint said that the Mesa market wasn’t really a growing concern, but a substantial existing customer base still needed to be catered for.

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