Cover by Joel Spolsky

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twenty-oneSTRATEGY LETTER VI

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2007

IBM just released an open source office suite called IBM Lotus Symphony. Sounds like Yet Another StarOffice distribution. But I suspect they're probably trying to wipe out the memory of the original Lotus Symphony, which had been hyped as the Second Coming and which fell totally flat. It was the software equivalent of Gigli.

In the late 1980s, Lotus was trying very hard to figure out what to do next with their flagship spreadsheet and graphics product, Lotus 1-2-3. There were two obvious ideas: first, they could add more features—word processing, say. This product was called Symphony. Another idea that seemed obvious was to make a 3-D spreadsheet. That became 1-2-3 version 3.0.

Both ideas ...

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