Computer Associates

SuperCalc

In 1980 a company called Sorcim launched their rival product to the best-selling spreadsheet on the market, VisiCalc. VisiCalc only ran on the CP/M operating system, and even then not on all versions. SuperCalc was designed with more flexibility to work on almost any system. With the introduction of the IBM PC it was ported to MS-DOS and Apple II in 1982.

SuperCalc 2 followed in 1983 with a split-screen option where you could view and edit cells on the left side of the screen, and view graphs on the right. It ran on MS-DOS 1.1 as well as CP/M-80 and -86.

In 1985, Sorcim was bought by Computer Associates, at one time the 2nd largest software company in the US and was 2nd behind Microsoft to reach over $1BN of sales. Their background was in IBM mainframe tools and utilities.

SuperCalc 3 was released that same year, and CA announced they had over a million users running the software. It was the first version of SuperCalc to make use of the Expanded Memory Specification (EMS) memory as well as EGA graphics.

 
SuperCalc3 running in EGA mode (left), and graphs in CGA mode (right)

SuperCalc 4 was released in July 1986, and introduced more enhanced graphics capabilities, though compared to its biggest rival as launch, Lotus 1-2-3, the Lotus product had more advanced macros. Over the past few years the two spreadsheet giants were in a continuous struggle with each other to add new functionality, with each one borrowing from the other every new release. In an aggressive move, CA gave SuperCalc 4 no copy protection (something Lotus had in all their software) and offered attractive site-licence plans for businesses. A standalone licensed PC version of SC4 was $495.


SuperCalc4 for DOS

SuperCalc 5 came along in 1989, though by this time Microsoft Excel was moving into the #1 spot for spreadsheet of choice for the PC owner.

SuperCalc 5.5 was the last release of the product

Original Boxes: