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February 5, 2023

Belated #TBT: VisiCalc, the First Spreadsheet Program

I wrote this yesterday and didn't publish it. Go figure.

Anyway, VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program, hitting the market in 1979. It was developed by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston, originally running on the Apple II and was consider its "killer app."  

In a 1980 review, BYTE stated: "The most exciting and influential piece of software that has been written for any microcomputer application is VisiCalc," and that is was the first program "responsible for sales of entire systems."

VisiCalc initially sold for under $100 but in 1982 the price went up to $250 as competitors hit the market with products that fixed some of the problems; the decline didn't really begin until '83 when Lotus 1-2-3 came on the scene.  

The end finally came when Lotus acquired Bricklin and Frankston's company, Software Arts, and stopped producing Visicalc in August 1985. The first version of Microsoft Excel was released the next month.



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