Scanned and posted a collection of press releases from Software Arts, Inc.
The Apple II’s “killer app”, VisiCalc was first published by Personal Software, Inc. The company later split into two semi-independent entities: VisiCorp, dedicated to publishing and marketing the world’s first electronic spreadsheet; and Software Arts, which was responsible for design and development.
The relationship between the two companies soon became contentious and eventually the former partners turned on each other, seeking to settle their differences in court. VisiCorp complained that the products they were receiving from SA were late, buggy and defective. SA countered that the software worked as advertised and that VisiCorp wasn’t living up to its end of the contract, failing to properly market VisiCalc and its supporting family of applications.
VisiCorp announced that it was revoking Software Arts’ license to develop VisiCalc; SA responded by announcing it would be developing and marketing new versions of the spreadsheet, independent of VisiCorp and that it had no intention to stop using the VisiCalc logos and titles.
The ugly legal battle cost both companies dearly, and the distraction contributed to VisiCalc’s rapidly eroding market share in its battle against the new IBM PC-based industry darling, Lotus 1-2-3. Both companies eventually declared bankruptcy and were sold off to other concerns.
None of that history is included in these press releases, some of which have little to do with the Apple II (Spotlight for the PC, for example), but what’s here still provides an interesting glimpse into the history of a company whose product was key to Apple’s efforts to shift the perception that they were just a bunch of long-haired electronics hobbyists, to a serious computer company with real value to corporate America.
Visit our new Press Releases page to download the PDF. It’s a little sparse there now, but I’ve got some neat Apple Computer Press Releases to add soon, and I’m always looking for donations and loans.