Microsoft introduces upgrades for Excel spreadsheet

January 10, 1991|By Seattle Times

SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft Corp. unveiled upgrades of its Excel spreadsheet program yesterday, a move analysts say could account for revenues of $200 million this year and boost the company's Windows-based marketing strategy for the '90s.

"This is the single most important applications announcement Microsoft will have for at least the next two years," said Karen Meredith, spokeswoman for the Seattle-area software-maker, who coordinated a Boston-San Francisco satellite-linked rollout on the eve of the Macworld Expo convention here.

Excel, which performs mathematical calculations on rows and columns of numbers, was developed for the Apple Macintosh in 1985 and for an earlier Windows version in 1987. The new version is meant to take full advantage of new features added last May to Windows, a graphical, Macintosh-like environment that usesicons, or small pictures, to represent programs and files.

Microsoft-watchers say the new versions of Excel -- for Windows 3.0 operating environment, OS/2 (Microsoft's new operating system) and the Macintosh -- are the newest linchpin in Microsoft's software strategy for the '90s.

Microsoft, the world's largest maker of software for personal computers, would not disclose projected sales figures for the new program, but analysts said it could account for $200 million in revenues this year.

The new upgrade puts pressure on Cambridge, Mass.-based Lotus Development Corp., the world's second-largest software company, to issue its own Windows version, which reportedly is nearing completion.

Lotus commands 52 percent of the overall spreadsheet market, although its share declined by about 6 percent last year, on analyst said. Excel and Quattro Pro from Borland International are vying for second place.

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