LOTUS SOFTWARE (called LOTUS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION before its
IBM ) was an American software company based in
Massachusetts . Lotus is most commonly known for the Lotus 1-2-3
spreadsheet application, the first feature-heavy, user-friendly,
WYSIWYG -enabled product to become widely available in
the early days of the
IBM PC , when there was no graphical user
interface . Much later, in conjunction with
Ray Ozzie 's Iris
Associates , Lotus also released a groupware and email system, Lotus
IBM purchased the company in 1995 for
US$ 3.5 billion,
primarily to acquire
Lotus Notes and to establish a presence in the
increasingly important client–server computing segment, which was
rapidly making host-based products such as IBM\'s OfficeVision
* 1 History
* 1.1 Dominance
* 1.2 "Look and feel" lawsuits
* 1.3 Diversification and acquisition by
* 1.4 Assimilation of name, Web site, and branding
* 2 Corporate culture
* 2.1 Origins
* 3 Products
* 3.1 Current products
* 3.2 Products in maintenance mode
* 3.3 Discontinued products
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Lotus was founded in 1982 by partners
Mitch Kapor and Jonathan Sachs
with backing from Ben Rosen . Lotus's first product was presentation
software for the
Apple II known as Lotus Executive Briefing System.
Kapor founded Lotus after leaving his post as head of development at
VisiCorp , the distributors of the
VisiCalc spreadsheet , and selling
all his rights to Visi-Plot and Visi-Trend to Visi-Corp.
Shortly after Kapor left Visi-Corp, he and Sachs produced an
integrated spreadsheet and graphics program. Even though
VisiCorp had a collaboration agreement whereby Visi-Calc was being
shipped simultaneously with the PC, Lotus had a clearly superior
product. Lotus released
Lotus 1-2-3 on January 26, 1983. The name
referred to the three ways the product could be used, as a
spreadsheet, graphics package, and database manager . In practice the
latter two functions were less often used, but 1-2-3 was the most
powerful spreadsheet program available.
Lotus was almost immediately successful, becoming the world's third
largest microcomputer software company in 1983 with $53 million in
sales in its first year, compared to its business plan forecast of $1
million in sales. In 1982
Jim Manzi — a graduate of Colgate
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy — came to
Lotus as a management consultant with McKinsey ">
Richard Stallman ,
founder of the Free
Software Foundation , to found the League for
Programming Freedom (LPF) and hold protests outside Lotus Development
offices. Paperback and Mosaic lost and went out of business; Borland
won and survived. The LPF filed an amicus curiae brief in the Borland
DIVERSIFICATION AND ACQUISITION BY IBM
In the 1990s, to compete with Microsoft's Windows applications, Lotus
had to buy in products such as Ami Pro (word processor), Approach
(database), and Threadz, which became
Lotus Organizer . Several
applications (1-2-3, Freelance Graphics, Ami Pro, Approach, and Lotus
Organizer ) were bundled together under the name
Lotus SmartSuite .
Although SmartSuite was bundled cheaply with many PCs and may
initially have been more popular than
Microsoft Office , Lotus quickly
lost its dominance in the desktop applications market with the
transition from 16- to
32-bit applications running on
Windows 95 . In
large part due to its focusing much of its development resources on a
suite of applications for IBM's new (and eventually commercially
OS/2 operating system, Lotus was late in delivering its
32-bit products, and failed to capitalize on the transition
to the new version of Windows. It now has very little market share.
The last significant new release was the SmartSuite Millennium Edition
released in 1999. All new development of the suite was ended in 2000,
with ongoing maintenance being moved overseas.
Lotus began its diversification from the desktop software business
with its 1984 strategic founding investment in Ray Ozzie's Iris
Associates, the creator of its
Lotus Notes groupware platform. As a
result of this early speculative move, Lotus had gained significant
experience in network-based communications years before other
competitors in the PC world had even started thinking about networked
computing or the
Internet . Lotus initially brought
Lotus Notes to
market in 1989, and later reinforced its market presence with the
acquisition of cc:Mail in 1991. In 1994, Lotus acquired Iris
Associates. Lotus's dominant groupware position attracted IBM, which
needed to make a strategic move away from host-based messaging
products and to establish a stronger presence in client–server
computing, but it also soon attracted stiff competition from Microsoft
Exchange Server .
In the second quarter of 1995
IBM launched a hostile bid for Lotus
with a $60-per-share tender offer, when Lotus' stock was only trading
Jim Manzi looked for potential white knights, and forced IBM
to increase its bid to $64.50 per share, for a $3.5 billion buyout of
Lotus in July 1995. On October 11, 1995 Manzi announced his
resignation from what had become the Lotus Development division of
IBM; he left with stock worth $78 million.
ASSIMILATION OF NAME, WEB SITE, AND BRANDING
IBM allowed Lotus to develop, market and sell its products
under its own brand name, a restructuring in January 2001 brought it
more in line with its parent company, IBM. Also,
IBM moved key
marketing and management functions from Cambridge, Mass., to IBM's New
York office .
Gradually, the Lotus.com web site changed the "About us" section of
its web site to eliminate references to "Lotus Development
Corporation". The Lotus.com web page in 2001 clearly showed the
company as "Lotus Development Corporation" with "a word from its CEO"
by 2002 the "About us" section was removed from its site menu, and the
Lotus logo was replaced with the
IBM logo. By 2003 an "About Lotus"
link returned to the Lotus.com page on its sidebar, but this time
identifying the company as "Lotus software from IBM" and showing in
its contact information "Lotus Software,
Software Group" . By 2008
the Lotus.com domain name stopped showing a standalone site, instead
redirecting to www.ibm.com/software/lotus, and in 2012 the site
discontinued all reference to Lotus
Software in favor of IBM
IBM discontinued development of
IBM Lotus Symphony in 2012 with the
final release of version 3.0.1, moving future development effort to
Apache OpenOffice, and donating the source code to the Apache Software
Foundation. Later that year,
IBM announced it was discontinuing the
Lotus brand and on March 13, 2013,
IBM announced the availability of
IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition, replacing prior versions of
Lotus Notes and
IBM Lotus Domino and marking the end of Lotus as
an active brand.
Lotus's first employee was Janet Axelrod who created the Human
Resources organization and was the central figure in creating the
Lotus culture. As she continued to build her organization and play a
central role with senior management, she eventually hired Freada Klein
as the first Director of Employee Relations. Lotus was the first major
company to support an AIDS walk , in 1986. In 1990 Lotus opened a
daycare center for the children of its employees. In 1992 Lotus was
the first major company to offer full benefits to same-sex partners.
In 1998 Lotus was named one of the top 10 companies for working
mothers to work for by Working Mother magazine.
In 1995 Lotus had over 4,000 employees worldwide; IBM's acquisition
of Lotus was greeted with apprehension by many Lotus employees, who
feared that the corporate culture of "Big Blue" would smother their
creativity. To the surprise of many employees and journalists, IBM
initially adopted a very hands-off, laissez-faire attitude towards its
However, by 2000 the assimilation of Lotus was well underway. While
the mass employee defections that
IBM feared did not materialize, many
long-time Lotus employees did complain about the transition to IBM's
culture—IBM's employee benefits programs, in particular, were
singled out as inferior to Lotus's very progressive programs.
Lotus's headquarters in Cambridge were originally divided into two
buildings, the Lotus Development Building (LDB) on the banks of the
Charles River , and the Rogers Street building, adjacent to the
CambridgeSide Galleria. However, in 2001, then President and General
Manager, Al Zollar decided not to renew the lease of LDB. The
subsequent migration of employees across the street (and into home
offices) generally coincided with what was probably the final exodus
of employees from the company. Later, IBM's offices at 1 Rogers St
supported mobile employees, the Watson Research Center on User
interface , and
IBM DataPower .
The integration of Lotus into
IBM continued and eventually the Lotus
brand was discontinued, but many former Lotus employees still
identified with Lotus and saw themselves as part of the Lotus
community for a considerable period after the takeover.
Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from 'The Lotus Position' or
'Padmasana '. Kapor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation
technique as taught by
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi . Incidentally,
Borland code-named their
Quattro Pro software "Buddha", as
the software was meant to "assume the Lotus position" and take over
Lotus 1-2-3's market.
IBM sponsors the "Lotus Greenhouse", a community web site featuring
IBM and its business partners.
Lotus Domino Web Access
Lotus Notes Traveler
IBM Lotus Quickr , which replaces
IBM Lotus Web Content Management
PRODUCTS IN MAINTENANCE MODE
Lotus Word Pro
Lotus Freelance Graphics
Lotus Domino Document Manager (discontinued on 30-Sep-2012)
* Lotus cc:Mail
* Lotus HAL
* Lotus Symphony (DOS version)
IBM Lotus Symphony
* ^ Dunn, John E. (18 September 2007),
IBM takes fight to Microsoft
with Lotus Symphony, Techworld.com, retrieved 2007-12-10
* ^ Caruso, Denise (1984-04-02). "Company Strategies Boomerang".
InfoWorld. pp. 80–83. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
* ^ Moglen, Eben; Karlan, Pamela S. (1995), Brief of Amicus Curiae:
League for Programming Freedom in Support of Respondent, retrieved
* ^ Darrow, Barbara (12 December 2003), Jim Manzi, CRN.com
* ^ Gavin Clarke (July 14, 2011). "
IBM crams Lotus Symphony back
into OpenOffice". The Register. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
* ^ Darryl K. Taft (November 17, 2012). "
IBM Drops Lotus Brand,
Takes Notes and Domino Forward". Eweek. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
* ^ "
IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition puts you on a solid
path to becoming a social business".
United States Software
Announcement 213-085. IBM. March 12, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
* ^ Noyes, Katherine (27 January 2012). "Coming Soon: An \'IBM
Edition\' of Apache OpenOffice". PCWorld . Retrieved 11 April 2012.