Jazz (software)

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Jazz was the name of a fully-integrated software suite for the Apple Macintosh 512K introduced in 1985 between the earlier introduction of Appleworks and the later (1989) introduction of Microsoft Office. It was produced by the Lotus Development Corporation, Cambridge Mass., which has since become known for its Lotus Notes product. Jazz appeared shortly after the release of it's highly successful Lotus 1-2-3 product and was priced at $595. Jazz was advertised as five programs in one: Worksheet, Graphics program, Word Processor, Database and Communications (terminal emulator). One of the most distinctive features of the program were "Hot Views" in which spreadsheet tables, graphs and other documents could be embedded in word processing documents and would automatically reflect changes made in the original document!

Jazz was one of the legendary market failures of the early desktop/personal computing era in the early 1980s, and Lotus was never able to establish a presence in the smaller but intensely partisan Macintosh market. It was priced at $595, when consumer expectations had been groomed (by Apple and others) to expect software prices not to exceed $199. It was heavily copy-protected when most Mac software was not. John C. Dvorak, an industry pundit who has often lavished particularly blistering rhetoric and invective on Apple and the Macintosh, called Jazz "one of the great flopperoos in computing history".[1] Dvorak also reported (in an online publication no longer available) that due to piracy, more copies of the software were returned to the company unsold than had originally been produced! [2] Lotus publicly announced follow-up efforts code-named "Modern Jazz" and "Mac 1-2-3" (after Lotus' well-known product of the same name but these proved to be vaporware and no actual products by those names were released.

Because the market for the 512K was small, and Lotus software developers demonstrated no real understanding of the Macintosh GUI (graphic user interfact), Jazz was not a commercial success and Lotus eventually discontinued the product.[3]

  1. Dvorak's carefully cultivated public image of continuing antagonism toward Apple is legendary among more partisan Mac users. In March, 2007, for example, Dvorak opined that Apple should withdraw its iPhone before release and not risk further damage to its reputation.
  2. John C. Dvorak (2006-11-26). "Whatever Happened to Lotus Jazz?" (not available online on 8/27/8)
  3. Lotus 1-2-3 relied heavily on the arcane keyboard command sequences characteristic of PC software at the time.