LOTUS Development has launched the fifth Windows verion of 1-2-3, its flagship spreadsheet program. The launch coincided with the announcement that Lotus Approach version 3.0, the company's end-user database product, will ship in a bundle with Lotus 1-2-3 for a limited time. The new version of Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows opens the way for the soon-to-be-released 1-2-3 version 4 for DOS, which the company also previewed last week. ''1-2-3 will always be the heart and soul of Lotus,'' said Steve King, regional vice-president and general manager for Lotus' Asia operations. ''It's important to us that 1-2-3 be a successful product.'' Verion 5 for Windows highlights Lotus' increasing focus on the Windows market as the arena for future software development. ''This is a platform that is really taking off right now,'' said Jeffery Anderholm, the company's director of spreadsheet product marketing. But Mr Anderholm said this did not represent an abandonment of the large DOS market for Lotus. ''DOS is the largest portion of actual users and in North America 35 per cent of 1-2-3 for DOS users want an upgrade,'' he said. ''Lotus is pretty much the sole provider of a DOS spreadsheet.'' The new Windows version provides improved workgroup integration, particularly with Lotus Notes. Integration with the popular Lotus Notes is through support for the Lotus Notes/FX 1.1 standard, which allows developers to create applications that automatically pass information between Notes fields and 1-2-3 ranges within worksheets. Version 5 is also designed to work with Lotus Approach, allowing users to create forms, reports, crosstabs and mailing labels without leaving 1-2-3. The new version also adds Lotus Maps for integrated mapping and analysis of geographical data. Other new or enhanced features include a collection of 12 SmartMasters for common business tasks and dialogue box-based Assistants to guide users through tasks. The upcoming version 4 for DOS version will sport a highly graphical interface, while retaining backward file compatibility and the ability to turn off individual elements of the graphical interface to allow easy migration from previous, less-graphical versions. Lotus is targeting the new DOS version at companies that have a mix of DOS and Windows machines. ''[Version 4 for DOS] is perfect for companies that have a mix of DOS and Windows and want to transition people from DOS to Windows,'' Mr Anderholm said. New features of the DOS version will include a spell checker, an interactive tutorial, smart icons, a live status bar and, a feature not included in the Windows version, a cell notepad for attaching notes to individual cells. Version 5 of 1-2-3 for Windows will sell in Hong Kong for $3,860 ($998 for upgrades and competitive upgrades). Until October 15, Lotus Approach 3.0 will be included at no extra cost. As part of Lotus' localisation efforts, fully translated Japanese, traditional Chinese, French, Italian, German and Spanish versions of the product will be shipped simultaneously with the English release. An extra 13 European and Asian language versions are expected to ship within 90 days. Lotus also plans to release a CD-ROM-based multimedia version of 1-2-3 Release 5 for Windows in the last quarter of this year.