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A podcast about home computers of the late 70's through the 80's. NEW SPONSORSHIPS! 8-Bit Classics is a great place to get video cables, power supplies and more for a wide variety of vintage computer platforms. Arcade Shopper has a wide variety of hard-to-find items for a large number of platforms.

May 26, 2023

Floppy Days 126 - Interview with Bob Frankston, Co-developer of Visicalc



Hello, everyone!  Welcome to episode 126 of the Floppy Days Podcast, with yours truly, Randy Kindig, as the host.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, listening to this podcast has surely heard of the ground-breaking application (for its time) Visicalc.  Visicalc was the first spreadsheet computer program for personal computers, originally released for the Apple II by VisiCorp on October 17, 1979.  It is considered the killer application for the Apple II, turning the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool, and then prompting IBM to introduce the IBM PC two years later.  More than 700,000 copies were sold in six years, and up to 1 million copies over its history.  

Initially developed for the Apple II computer, VisiCalc was ported to numerous platforms, both 8-bit and some of the early 16-bit systems, such as the Commodore PET, Atari 8-bit, TRS-80 (TRSDOS), CP/M, MS-DOS, and even the HP Series 80.

VisiCalc was later replaced in the market by Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually by Microsoft’s Excel, which is the dominant spreadsheet today.  Spreadsheets, along with word processors, and presentation tools are still today considered one of the key applications for computing.

Bob Frankston, along with Dan Bricklin, are the co-inventors of VisiCalc.  This month, we have an interview with the aforementioned Bob Frankston.  Bob was kind enough to take time to talk with me about what it was like to create such a ground-breaking tool.

Before doing that, I have a few new acquisitions to discuss and I’ll tell you about upcoming computer shows.

New Acquisitions/What I’ve Been Up To

Upcoming Shows