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Microsoft® Excel® Introduction

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program written and distributed by Microsoft for computers using the Microsoft Windows operating system and Apple Macintosh computers. It is overwhelmingly the dominant spreadsheet application available for these platforms and has been so since version 5 1993 and its bundling as part of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft originally marketed a spreadsheet program called Multiplan in 1982, which was very popular on CP/M systems, but on MS-DOS systems it lost popularity to Lotus 1-2-3. This promoted development of a new spreadsheet called Excel which started with the intention to, in the words of Doug Klunder, 'do everything 1-2-3 does and do it better' . The first version of Excel was released for the Mac in 1985 and the first Windows version (numbered 2.0 to line-up with the Mac and bundled with a run-time Windows environment) was released in November 1987. Lotus was slow to bring 1-2-3 to Windows and by 1988 Excel had started to outsell 1-2-3 and helped Microsoft achieve the position of leading PC software developer. This accomplishment, dethroning the king of the software world, solidified Microsoft as a valid competitor and showed its future of developing graphical software. Microsoft pushed its advantage with regular new releases, every two years or so. The current version is Excel 11, also called Microsoft Office Excel 2003.

Early in its life Excel became the target of a trademark lawsuit by another company already selling a software package named "Excel." As the result of the dispute Microsoft was required to refer to the program as "Microsoft Excel" in all of its formal press releases and legal documents. However, over time this practice has slipped.
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