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Lotus position: IBM kills the name, but software and founders live on

Julie Sartain | Feb. 5, 2013
Thirty-one years ago, Massachusetts-based software developers Mitch Kapor and Jonathan Sachs created a program — an electronic spreadsheet — that would change the world. A year later, on Jan. 26, 1983, Lotus Development Corp. released Lotus 1-2-3 for the IBM PC and grossed $53 million in sales. The following year, sales tripled to more than $150 million.

"I have worked on a number of very different products since leaving the Notes team," says Beckhardt. "I worked two years for the Life Sciences group at IBM where I became an IBM Distinguished Engineer. Then I worked at several different startups, two of them working with RFID technology. Currently, I work in the software development team at Sonos, Inc. Sonos develops a highly-acclaimed wireless HiFi system and it's great fun working in consumer electronics on a product that all my friends and family can enjoy."

Before Sonos, Beckhardt was the executive director of systems architecture at Tego, an architectural design and software development company for a high memory radio-frequency identification chip (RFID) and related applications for storing maintenance information on high value flyable parts for the aviation industry.

From 2004 to 2007, he was the president of Red Brook Harbor Consulting, a software design and development company working in the areas of embedded and distributed systems. In 2003 and 2004, he was the vice president of software development at ThingMagic, LLC., in Cambridge, Mass., a company that develops RFID reader software and intelligent sensor systems. And from 2001 to 2003, he was a distinguished engineer at IBM Life Sciences and helped promote high-end IBM hardware and software to the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

Sheldon Laube

Sheldon Laube was not a Lotus Notes founder, developer, creator, or designer, but Ray Ozzie and Larry Moore both credit Laube and Price Waterhouse for Lotus Notes initial acceptance and success. Laube was Price Waterhouse's first CIO, responsible for improving client services through technology. He was the driving force behind standardizing desktop productivity applications on a global basis and solely responsible for the largest software acquisition ever made (at that time). The program was Lotus Notes and Price Waterhouse purchased 10,000 units the day before the official product release. Then, later, Bill Eisner ordered 10,000 copies for the CIA.

Until recently, Laube was the Chief Innovation Officer for the U.S. firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). His team was responsible for inspiring new ideas, reducing barriers that could block the implementation of these ideas, and accelerating these innovations. He continues this work now as a consultant for various large enterprises across the globe.

He left Price Waterhouse in 1995 to become the executive vice president and CTO of Novell where he was responsible for the technological direction of 4,000 plus professionals. In addition, he developed the firm's strategic vision and became the overseer of Novell's R&D labs.

Jim Manzi

Many Lotus players (including Kapor, Ozzie, Moore, and Halvorsen) have commented, in published interviews, that "from an overall Lotus growth perspective, especially as a public company, the most notable leader was Jim Manzi.'' Manzi was president of Lotus from October 1984 to 1995, and CEO from April 1986 until IBM's hostile takeover in 1995. During Manzi's tenure, Lotus 1-2-3 sold 750,000 copies in 1986 (three times its nearest competitor, Microsoft's Multiplan). At one point, Lotus sales represented 17.6% of all software sales in the business world.


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