Mitch Kapor on spreadsheets, Magellan, etc

Yesterday, a NYT tech column suggested that Mitch Kapor of Lotus was responsible for the fundamental innovation of the spreadsheet.

Today I said, quoting Dottie Hall, that actually Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston had invented the spreadsheet, with VisiCalc for the Apple II -- but Kapor had brought it to the PC world with Lotus 1-2-3.

Kapor writes to say that's wrong too!

As long as we're beating a dead frog, let me add my two Linden dollars*: Bill Gross was responsible for Lotus Magellan, not me. I had nothing to do with it.

Also, "and while he (me, that is) can be credited with introducing the spreadsheet for the PC," is not true either. Both VisiCalc and MultiPlan were available when the IBM PC shipped in October 1981. 1-2-3 didn't hit the market until January 1983.

As for Bill Gross: I've written a whole string of articles lauding him for the programs he has created. The only one of these articles I can find online right now is this. from my own days as a NYT tech columnist.** Gross was also the force behind a program I have praised so often I should be on its payroll, X1. (To spell it out: I'm not, and I paid for my copy of X1.) I had assumed that as Kapor was institutionally responsible for Lotus Magellan, but he should know.

And as for spreadsheet genealogy, I have already received so many accounts of how this happened that I have decided to quote only Kapor's for the moment, since the rest have so many variations on points large and small.

* For those embarrassed to ask: Linden dollars are the currency of Second Life.

** Back in my day as NYT tech columnist, the paper ran a correction when I made a mistake. I'm just saying.....