Lotus Case Study

Topics: Lotus 1-2-3, Application software, Lotus software Pages: 5 (1608 words) Published: April 29, 2005
Executive Summary & Problems

In The Beginning
Lotus Development Corporation was created by Mitch Kapor, a software designer whose initial goal was to develop a sophisticated spreadsheet program. The company was founded in 1982 and its headquarters based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1983 Lotus created the first killer application, 1-2-3 DOS for the IBM PC, catapulting them into the largest software company in the world. Lotus was noted as being one of the finest franchises in their business sector.

The Rise and Fall
Up to 1983 Lotus operated in a largely college industry were only a handful of companies created killer apps such as WordPerfect. Between 1983-1986, Lotus had created Symphony and Jazz which were the first fully integrated application programs to combine word-processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and database management. However, the market responded negatively to the introduction of these products. During 1986, Imitation by Borland and the limited success of Symphony and Jazz prompted newly elected president Jim Manzi to approach product development in at a new angle. Jim Manzi began an acquisition program that would give Lotus, products in every applications category, ultimately resulting in Notes.


Competition Heats Up
Competition in the industry was intense during 1990. Borland and Microsoft had both emerged as large competitors of Lotus. Each had develop duplicate versions of Lotus¡¦s 1-2-3- program. The popularity of Microsoft surprised the industry when the company introduced a bundled ¡§suite¡¨ that included its spreadsheets, word processors, graphics package, and database manager. There strategic approach to software development and marketing led to a growing market share for the company. Initially Lotus did not write a version of 1-2-3 for Windows because they did not want to help Microsoft build their contribution margin and attain market acceptance. However, over time Lotus could not ignore the growing success of Microsoft so they eventually rushed a flawed a version of 1-2-3 for Windows to market in 1991. The release of the product caused Lotus great embarrassment, because they reacted to the situation instead pf being proactive in the beginning they made a decision and introduced a product that was not ready for market.

Lost Opportunity
In 1990 Lotus made an attempt to gain a significant share of the network application industry by initiating merger negotiations with Novell. The merger of the two companies would have created the largest computer software company in the world. The combined sales for Lotus and Novell in 1989 were $978 million, compared with Microsoft¡¦s $804 million during the same year. Novell would benefit from the merger by having access to Lotus¡¦s suite of desktop products and would increase their influence to shape networking environments Lotus would have benefited from Novell¡¦s expertise in NOSs and its dominant position in the $2.6 billion market. However, both companies could not discard their corporate ego¡¦s and politics in order to allow the merger to proceed. The deal was eventually abandoned due to an inability to compromising about a decision regarding the board. Different Direction

After the dissolve of the negations and a fall in the companies shares Manzi reverted back to Lotus¡¦s original network applications development plan instead of seeking new partners. Recruited a new management team and the company introduced a new strategy called ¡§Working Together¡¨, which signified a commitment to integrating PC applications and to writing versions for every major GUI and operating system. Lotus created a new version of 1-2-3 for Windows and tested and released it to favorable reviews. By 1992 the development group also standardized products that were also centrally coordinated and the products were bundled in to a ¡§SmartSuite¡¨ and priced to compete against Microsoft¡¦s ¡§Office¡¨ suite of products. Due to intense...
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