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Multiplan
Multiplan on DOS.Multiplan on the C64.
Screenshots of Multiplan on DOS and the C64.
Developer(s) Doug Klunder[1] of Microsoft[1]
Initial release 1982
Written in P-code C
Operating system CP/M, Apple II, Macintosh, MS-DOS, Xenix, Commodore 64, CTOS, TI-99/4A
Development status Unmaintained since 1985
Type Spreadsheet

Multiplan was an early spreadsheet program developed by Microsoft. Known initially by the code name "EP" (for "Electronic Paper"), it was introduced in 1982 as a competitor for VisiCalc.

Multiplan was released first for computers running CP/M; it was developed using a Microsoft proprietary pseudo code C compiler[1] as part of a portability strategy that facilitated ports to systems such as MS-DOS, Xenix, Commodore 64, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Radio Shack Model II, Apple II, and Burroughs B-20 series.

Despite the release of Microsoft Chart, a graphics companion software, Multiplan continued to be outsold by Lotus 1-2-3. It was replaced by Microsoft Excel which followed some years later on both the Apple Macintosh (1985) and Microsoft Windows (1987).

Around 1983, during the development of the first release of Windows, Microsoft had plans to make a Windows version. However the plans changed a year later.

Contents

Macintosh version

Multiplan for the Apple Macintosh was Microsoft's first GUI spreadsheet; it was also the most successful spreadsheet for the early Mac.

Bill Gates was repeatedly heard in 1985 saying that Microsoft made more money on Multiplan for the Macintosh than any other platform. Multiplan for the Macintosh was in fact one of the few spreadsheets available for that platform. It was proficient at making graphs and charts and was often bundled with some Macs. However, Multiplan only lasted for about a year before being taken over by the more successful Excel.

Cell Addressing Differences

A fundamental difference between Muliplan and its competitors was Microsoft's decision to use R1C1 addressing instead of the A1 addressing introduced by Visicalc. Not unlike Reverse Polish notation, although R1C1-style formulas are more efficient than A1-style formulae[2] most spreadsheet users prefer Visicalc's A1 addressing style.

Microsoft carried Multiplan's R1C1 legacy forward into Microsoft Excel, which offers both addressing modes.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Microsoft: The Early Days from the personal website of Richard Brodie
  2. ^ "VBA and Macros for Microsoft Excel" by Bill Jelen & Tracy Syrstad.
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