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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.

In 2001, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Gerstner the rank and title of Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) for his services to education in the United Kingdom and his contributions to the Internet.

Gerstner was named chairman of The Carlyle Group, in Washington, DC. (a private equity firm) in January 2003 and, in 2008, he received the Legend in Leadership Award from the Yale School of Management. In addition, Gertsner has served as a board of director for many companies such as America-China Forum, American Express Company, AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., The Broad Center, The Business Council, Caterpillar Inc., Council on Foreign Relations, Daimler Chrysler, Jewel Companies, Melville Corporation, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The New York Times Company, RJR Nabisco Holdings Co., and Sony Corporation.

On May 9, 2013, (during its fourth annual Simon New York City Conference) the Simon School will present the Executive of the Year Award to Lou Gerstner for his landmark contributions in the field of information technologies.

Larry Moore

Larry Moore was another key executive in the Lotus line-up. He was vice president and general manager of the Communications Products Division/Lotus Notes from 1988-1992 and the motivating force behind the release of Lotus Notes, which has generated over $7 billion in sales; that is, about $450 million a year. His colleagues credit his management and marketing expertise for much of Notes initial success. One of his strategies included the creation of the Lotus Notes reseller channel, which had over 6,000 resellers of Notes during its high point. In addition, from 1992 to 1995, Moore managed the IBM/Lotus relationship through its acquisition.

Keeping his Lotus connections alive, Moore and Halvorsen are principals in the Clear Ballot Group, "a company focused on bringing a new class of tools to election officials that lowers the cost while improving the accuracy and transparency of elections in America," says Moore.

On the end of the Lotus name, he says, "Notes was a very special product. Introduced three years before the Internet began to take off and well before broadband, it answered a need that exists today: tools that help people communicate and share information routinely and more efficiently. As to how I feel: a little sad but, in reality, the acquisition was in 1994, so it's probably time," adds Moore.

Alan Lepofsky

Lepofsky worked for IBM/Lotus from 1993-2007. He helped run the Notes/Domino customer council, was part of the product marketing team, worked with the business partner organization, and worked on the strategy team that helped share the future software products. "I made my name within the Lotus community by running the Lotus Notes Hints and Tips blog which I started in January 2005," says Lepofsky.


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