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Technology / AI and automation

USERS OF 1-2-3 ARE “EXTRAORDINARILY WELL POSITIONED FOR FUTURE” – LOTUS CHIEF MANZI

According to Lotus Development Corp chief Jim Manzi, 1-2-3 spreadsheet users are extraordinarily well-positioned for the future. Mr Manzi, rumoured to be the second-highest paid executive in the world, was addressing customers and exhibitors on the third day of the Lotus World exhibition, Kensington, London. The remark gained some credibility from assurances that benchmark testing of Version 3.0, which runs under MS-DOS Version 3.0 and above, was on schedule at 5,000 US and 10 UK sites, and will ship in June. In addition, the company is now enriched with the knowledge that genius may only be a greater aptitude for patience – whatever that means. Over and above its much-touted three-dimensional capabilities, Version 3.0 exploits an MS-DOS extender or protected mode technology, licensed from Rational Systems Inc, of Natick, Massachusetts. According to Manzi, the technology will liberate the 1Mb of in-built memory on Intel 80286- and 80386-baced machines, without requiring any hardware changes. It also enables users to run 1-2-3 applications in extended memory, of which it supports up to 16Mb. Protected mode aside, Manzi drew attention to a number of Version 3.0 database enhancements including true relational capabilities, and the first implementation of Lotus’ Extended Applications Facility, LEAF, providing external links to Ashton-Tate’s dBase III. Network support has also been extended, to allow users to share applications. In strategic terms, Version 3.0 fits primarily into Lotus’ bridge environment – 286- and 386-based machines in an MS-DOS landscape, with long-term sights set on OS/2. Version 3.0 can run in both operating environments, a factor that Manzi believes will help to ease migration pains. However, despite a slow but steady migration to OS/2, Manzi predicts that MS-DOS and OS/2 sales will not reach parity before 1991, and even then, will go five-to-one in favour of MS-DOS. Turning to the future, Manzi reported that a Presentation Manager version of 1-2-3 is under development, and indicated that 1-2-3 integration would be provided for other Presentation Manager applications. Eventually, Lotus also hopes to offer 1-2-3 under MVS and Unix it seems years ago that the company made a joint announcement with IBM about an MVS version… Manzi also indicated that four development projects for the Apple Macintosh were underway – an area which the company now concedes it has screwed up more than any other. A London stop-over was clearly considered an appropriate occasion for a strong European pitch. Excluding Japan, reported Manzi, Lotus International now represents 40% of the company’s international business projections, and is tipped to overtake home market revenues in the 1990s. To this end, the company is setting up a new European head-quarters in Staines, and also plans to open a sales office in Scotland next year. Sophie Hanscombe

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CBR Staff Writer

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