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Think3 Targets AutoCad, Microcadam With Low Cost 3D Tools.

Think3 Inc, the Italian mechanical computer-aided-design software house now run by ex-Cadence Design Inc CEO Joe Costello, has just signed up its first major US value added reseller to distribute the thinkdesign 3D mechanical computer-aided design package, launched earlier this year. Think3, the new name for Cad.Lab Inc, says the deal should speed up its effort to persuade the 2D CAD industry to upgrade to 3D software. Softech Inc, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, specializes in the CAD/CAM/CAE markets and has 21 locations in North America. It sells on hardware from Hewlett Packard Co, Silicon Graphics Inc and Intergraph Corp, and software from high-end 3D vendors such as Structural Dynamics Research Corp and Parametric Technology Inc. But Santa Clara, California-based Think3 views its main competition as the 2D mechanical CAD players such as AutoCAD and Tokyo's Cadam Systems Co (which owns Microcadam Inc). Last year Softech acquired Adra Systems Inc for its Cadra product line, designed as a Microcadam clone. Softech will use think3 as an upgrade option for its 25,000 Cadra 2D users wanting to migrate to 3D without a price penalty. Rael Morris, director of product marketing at the company, says he believes most designers will eventually upgrade to 3D over time, leaving only documentation tasks to the 2D packages. "Paper isn't about to go away" he says. 2D work can also be done in thinkdesign. Morris claims the 3D vendors missed their opportunity by concentrating on the high-end of the market and keeping their prices too high. There are around 350,000 seats of 3D software tools on the market, compared with 3 million for 2D, and more 2D packages are now sold per year than the entire 3D installed base. The high-end market, which has reached near saturation point, is now growing only slowly. In Japan, where the high-end 3D vendors never really got established, Think3 has already sold 1,000 seats. The Microcadam package is currently market leader in Japan. In order to attract users who have in the past opted for high-end 2D, think3 is charging an annual maintenance fee of $1,300 a year per user, including all upgrades, and no upfront licensing fees. That compares with the usual $5,000 upfront fee, and 25% annual maintenance for mid-range 3D packages. There are two additional modules, the thinkshape surfacing tool for an extra $2,000 a year, and the thinkreal rendering packages (which comes from Lightworks Inc) for $350 a year. The lower pricing coincides with the emergence of low-cost workstation hardware running Windows NT onto the market. Think3 only runs on NT, and the company doesn't have plans for a Unix version, although it says it is considering a Linux version.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 12, 1999
Words:453
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