celebratating 17 years of reporting
on the business of cad
Issue #734 | May 8, 2012
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In This Issue
1. ASCON makes public its proprietary kernel
2. Q&A from PTC's Q2 Earnings Call
3. Out of the Inbox, and other regular columns.
Editor's note: I'll be at the Revit Technology Conference in Sydney, Australia, and look forward to meeting up with other attendees during our time there, Tuesday noon May 22 through Sunday morning, May 27. http://revitconference.com.au
ASCON makes public its proprietary kernel
ASCON of St Petersburg has been building its line of KOMPAS 3D and 2D software on its own proprietary kernel. Nothing wrong with that, because companies like Autodesk and PTC do the same.
What's new is that the company is making it available now, first on a limited basis, and then will make it generally available next year. ASCON may well have made this move to counter the Russian government's effort to create a new, made-in-Russia modeling kernel, of which LEDAS has a part in writing code.
The kernel is named C3D (short for "core 3D," I think), and it is a complete modeler -- no surprise, given that it is the basis of a complete 3D MCAD system. It handles 2D drafting, sketching, 3D modeling, constraints and parameters, and input-output translation of major CAD formats.
ASCON began work on its kernel in 1995, and then released the first CAD system built with it in 2000. I haven't been able to find a page at ascon.net for C3D, but they company has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ASCONC3D. (Don't worry, it's in English.)
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Q&A from PTC's Q2 Earnings Call
Q: It looks like headcount, if I read this right, was reduced by about 168 for the restructuring, which is a little bit less than the 185, I think, we talked about last time.
A: Maybe another 100, 150 people [will be laid off] over the course of the back [second] half of the year.
Q: Are you seeing any impact yet from Autodesk's cloud-based PLM offering?
A: I've yet to really hear a mention of that coming back from our sales force, so I think that's a lot of noise from Autodesk but not necessarily a lot coming back from the field at this point.
Q: Your China business ... declined year-over-year. Could you provide any more color on the region's performance in the quarter, for example, what were the key drivers behind the softness?
A: We feel reasonably confident about the business in China, not really fearful of some kind of a meltdown that you might be afraid of.
Q: Are there some hesitation among customers? Are customers approaching PLM projects more cautiously, and that's resulting in slower deployment?
A: [One example] involves a North American automotive firm, and we were on one hand talking to demo a program to implement this concept of global platforms, which is a combination of Windchill's PLM and Creo. And in parallel, we're talking to them to implement a service lifecycle management program. So our sales guys were forecasting a transaction that would include both. And the customer said, "That's a lot of change at once. It's a big investment. Why don't we get started on this program, and do a little bit more planning on the second program?" And so that's how the transaction came in.
Q: And then it's been a while since we'd talked about SharePoint product. Is that something that is being deemphasized?
A: We were developing a number of products based on SharePoint. And in fact, we backed off on [ProductPoint] and continued forward on the others. Customers who saw ProductPoint were interested, but when they then saw what Windchill proper could do, they tended to switch back to Windchill. And then we said, "This whole product feels like a marketing program, because it gets people interested, but then they buy something else." So it probably does not justify the level of R&D investment we were making.
But the other capabilities that are SharePoint-based, for example, our product portfolio management capabilities, our social computing capabilities, our integration into the SharePoint portal, those efforts continued forward and I think are quite interesting to our customer base.
Q: As you have version 2.0 out in the market now, what do you think how long it will take to kind of get momentum there, and where do you see the early success stories coming out of?
A: Let's say a greenfield [new customer] environment of a small company buying its first 3D CAD product. [Creo 2.0] is a very sexy product that compares very well to SolidWorks and to the Autodesk Inventor Suite, much better than Pro/ENGINEER ever did.
See the full interview at http://seekingalpha.com/article/533651-parametric-technology-s-ceo-discusses-q2-2012-results-earnings-call-transcript
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Out of the Inbox
AViCAD.com is a full engineering platform based on Mech-Q, and now they have an academic version for students, home-schoolers, teachers, and institutions. The Academic release offers discounts of up to 60%. AViCAD is built upon on the IntelliCAD CAD engine, and so is compatible with AutoCAD 2D/3D drafting and uses the DWG file format by default. Commercial licenses are available for $599, but mention upFront.eZine and get a $100 discount. http://www.avicad.com
Autodesk quietly celebrates 30 years in business with no press release: http://www.marinij.com/sausalito/ci_20550073/san-rafael-based-autodesk-celebrates-30-years-business
Aras names Masahiko Hisatsugu as president of the newly-opened Aras Japan office. http://www.aras.jp
Stephen Wolfe reports in GraphicSpeak on aviation designers using Dassault Systeme's software V4, V5, and V6 together. "[Craig Hull of Cessna Aircraft ] takes exception to [Catia ceo] Etienne Droit's claim that importing V5 data into V6 is 'a piece of cake.' 'I'd accept that if he'd said fruitcake,' Hull quipped. 'There are hard, chewy bits in the middle.'" http://gfxspeak.com/2012/05/02/is-catia-v6-over-the-hump/
Deelip Menezes had been hinting that he knows what happened behind the scenes at DS SolidWorks, and on Saturday he opened his kimono a few inches wider: "I am given to understand that for many years Dassault Systems had been trying to get SolidWorks to stop licensing Parasolid as its modeling kernel from rival Siemens PLM (then UGS). When they didn't see any meaningful progress on that front, the top brass at Dassault Systemes finally lost patience and made some changes on the SolidWorks side of things. This was when the Dassaultification of SolidWorks started, and is going on." Read it all at http://www.deelip.com/?p=7532
In other DS news, Dassault Systemes says it's still committed to PLM openness through the Codex of PLM Openness, an initiative driven by automotive OEMs, suppliers, and the ProSTEP iViP association: "From open interoperability between V6 and competitive PDM, CAD and enterprise systems to thousands of publicly available APIs, the V6 platform has been developed from its inception to support openness." http://www.prostep.org/en/cpo.html
Alcove9 is now integrated with most PLM applications, most recently Aras Innovator. Its Web-based search function locates search criteria within documents and CAD libraries, such as part numbers, size, textual notes, and attributes "in multiple data silos, including CAD data like CATIA, Solidworks, NX, AutoCAD, and others." The company says 120,000 now use its software. http://www.alcove9.com
On Our Blogs
These were some of the news items that were posted during the last week at our WorldCAD Access blog <worldcadaccess.typepad.com>:
PTC's strategy for getting into Big Auto
...and on Gizmos Grabowski blog <http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/gizmos>
"This is what comes of spending too much time with people who think in exactly the same way as you. It becomes impossible to imagine how any rational person could think otherwise."
- Andrew Coyne, National Post
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Entire contents copyright 2012 by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide. Letters sent to the editor are subject to publication. Article reprint fee: $250 and up. All trademarks belong to their respective holders. "upFront.eZine," "The Business of CAD," and "WorldCAD Access" are trademarks of upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. Letters to the editor may be edited for clarity and brevity. Translations and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.