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April 6, 1989

SPREADSHEET WARS: ACCESS DEMANDS THAT LOTUS EAT ITS WORDS

By CBR Staff Writer

A disgruntled Access Technology is the latest set-back for Lotus Development Corp, as it strives to convince users that the much delayed Release 3.0 of its 1-2-3 spreadsheet really is worth the wait. Access has taken exception to the Lotus claim, made on a pre-launch fact sheet, that Release 3.0 is the only spreadsheet which will be available in a range of environments. Although designed primarily for DEC VAX machines, the 20/20 spreadsheet, says Access, comes in versions that run on IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Wang, Prime, Data General and Unix hardware since inception. The point was made in a frosty letter from Access European manager Paul Lewis to Lotus UK’s Paul Bailey, demanding that Lotus withdraw both the claim and the fact sheet. At one level, Lotus says it acknowledges the Access counter-claim. However, the company also says it is confident that when Release 3.0 finally does arrive, specifically designed versions of the product will be available for a wider range of platforms than the one that 20/20 currently supports. On safer ground, a Lotus spokesman also argued that, all other issues aside, Release 3.0 is the only three-dimensional spreadsheet available for a range of environments. Lotus has no plans to withdraw the fact sheet, but concedes that in a new version, currently being prepared to coincide with the arrival of 1-2-3 Release 3.0, the offending paragraph has been altered. Meanwhile, in a red herring exercise, Lotus says it is happy to challenge Access to a performance comparison, and that it has no doubts about which product will come out tops.

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