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In a bid togain back lost ground in the high-tech world, IBM announced a $3.3 billion hostile takeover bid for Lotus Development Corp., maker of the popular Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet and other software. "Together, our skills match in a way that is breathtaking," IBM's chairman and CEO Louis Gerstner told a news conference. (Lotus, the third-largest PC software company after Microsoft and Novell, rejected IBM's buyout suggestions during five months of private talks, but today said it would consider the $60 per share cash offer, which amounts to twice its market value.)TIME senior technology editor Philip Elmer-DeWittsays the move, which would be the biggest takeover ever in the software industry, would enable IBM to mount a stronger challenge against software industry leader Microsoft Corp., and might lead to lower product prices for consumers.