IBM made a big splash a couple of weeks ago when it released a new productivity suite based on the Productivity Tools in Lotus Notes 8. I joked with my colleagues that it should be called “SmartSuite for Notes.” But I never dreamed Lotus would reach back even farther and dub the them Lotus Symphony.

I remember the first incarnation of Lotus Symphony. A integrated software package for DOS, it included a spreadsheet (of course), word processor, database, charts, and communications program, although if I remember correctly, all of the modules looked suspiciously like a spreadsheet. I bet I still have a couple of .WRK files on some floppies somewhere. But eventually our family settled on Lotus 1-2-3 for spreadsheets and Microsoft Word for DOS for word processing (at a time when everyone else used WordPerfect).

Even though John Dvorak dubbed the original Symphony “one of the bottom 10 worst software disasters,” I think enough time has passed for Symphony to have largely shed its negative connotations. In fact, it probably doesn’t have any connotations anymore. And I find it fascinating to see new life breathed into this old brand, along with the resurgence of Lotus itself.

What’s the next Lotus brand to be resurrected? Agenda? Magellan?