Lotus Software for Traders Will Run on Sun's Systems
Lotus Development Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. announced this week a new version of the popular Lotus spreadsheet program that allows traders to automatically capture and analyze up-to-the-minute market data.
Chase Manhattan, several other commercial banks, and about 40 investment banks are said to be testing the software.
Lotus, based in Cambridge, Mass., dominates the market for personal computer-based financial spreadsheets with Lotus 1-2-3, and Sun Microsystems, Mountain View, Calif., leads in sales to the financial community of computer workstations running the Unix operating system.
The announcement could be a boon for banks that have come to rely on Lotus software running on personal computers, but that now require greater processing power and more sophisticated communications.
Available in July
The new product, which consists of several components, will be commercially available in early July, Lotus officials said.
The software allows foreign exchange and securities traders to feed digital market data directly into spreadsheets running on a single Sun workstation.
Bankers can identify trading opportunities and can view prices over a period of time. They can analyze risk using realtime information.
They can also retrieve "baskets" of foreign exchange or securities holdings from a data base and update the prices automatically.
The spreadsheet will indicate where prices on the updated version diverge from the original version.
Vendors Helped Development
Twelve vendors of on-line market data worked with Lotus to develop the product.
Lotus is not the first in the market for real-time analysis of financial information. Access Technology, based in Natick, Mass., recently announced a real-time version of its Access 2020 spreadsheet. And Informix Software Inc. is close to marketing one, having demonstrated a version at this week's Securities Industry Association conference in New York.
However, customers may prefer to stick with Lotus.
"People who couldn't wait for Lotus went with Access Technology," said Gary S. Budnick, software product manager for ERI, Hauppage, N.Y., a systems integrator that worked with Lotus at several of the bank test sites. But "Lotus is a de facto standard, and most banks would like to have the same look and feel" of Lotus 1-2-3.
Three Products Involved
Lotus and Sun announced three products. One is a new version of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet for Sun workstations. For new customers, version 1.1 costs $695 per license, but registered users of the earlier version for Sun workstations can upgrade for $180 per license.
A separate component, called Lotus Realtime, can receive real-time market feeds such as Reuters, Telerate, and Quotron. It lists at $1,600.
A software took kit, also available from Lotus at a list price of $25,000, enables large banks to develop their own modules to feed market data to the spreadsheet.