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April 12, 2004
PTC Acquires OHIO Design Automation For Electronics PLM
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC Acquires OHIO Design Automation For Electronics PLM

PTC announced its expanded strategy and offerings to the electronics industry through the acquisition of OHIO Design Automation Inc. (OHIO-DA), a developer of electronics design collaboration software. The all-cash transaction closed on April 7, 2004 and is valued at approximately $12 million, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions. Major OHIO-DA customers include Cisco, EMC, Harris, Maxtor, Motorola, and Raytheon.

As part of the acquisition, PTC will retain all OHIO-DA employees. John Lane, President and CEO of OHIO-DA, will become a Senior Vice President for PTC and will report to James Heppelmann, PTC's Chief Product Officer.

OHIO-DA's flagship and patent-pending product is InterComm, for electronic design verification, visualization and collaboration product is used in over 400 companies throughout the world. InterComm gives engineers, manufacturers, and customers access to complex design data created in leading electronic design automation (EDA) tools, including those provided by Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics, Zuken and other EDA vendors. Schematics and PCB's can be browsed, queried, and cross-probed without the need for an original CAE or PCB CAD license. Extensive electronics information queries and comment annotations can be performed by anyone with file access permission.

"This strategic acquisition furthers PTC's commitment to the high-tech and electronics industries by enabling us to help manufacturers address the growing challenges posed by the proliferation of electronic components within their products," said C. Richard Harrison, President and CEO of PTC. "Manufacturers are currently trying to juggle disparate mechanical and electronic design processes and systems while at the same time facing pressure to bring higher quality products to market faster. Our new combined offering will enable us to provide tremendous value to customers who want an integrated solution to help address these growing challenges."

PTC's acquisition of this open standard for EDA visualization and collaboration gives PTC a highly differentiated solution. The integration of InterComm with PTC's Windchill PLM solutions will allow companies to manage EDA design data across the enterprise, enabling concurrent design across an increasingly outsourced and geographically disparate design chain.

PTC currently serves nearly 3,000 high technology and electronics companies in multiple industries, including hardware, consumer electronics, peripherals, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, government and military electronics, semiconductor equipment, and automotive and industrial electronics. PTC's Windchill PLM customers in these segments include EMC, Harris, HP, Iomega, LG Electronics, NEC, Novellus, Samsung, Seiko Epson, and Unisys.

"With electronics now appearing in nearly every new product across most industries, the need for effective, integrated design and management of mechanical and electronic components has become critical. However, to date leading PLM vendors have not adequately addressed the needs of electronic design," said Ken Amann, Director of Research, at CIMdata. "PLM grew out of the mechanical design world and historically provided very limited support of electronics design. For electronics companies, EDA data drives their product differentiation and for many companies in other industries, electronics has become an essential component of their products. PTC's investment in support of electronic design
as part of a complete product definition environment is a strong step forward and represents a significant event for companies in all industries."

"OHIO-DA's deep expertise and industry-leading technology will enable PTC to deliver breakthrough product lifecycle management solutions for the electronics industry," said James Heppelmann. "It is very important to us and to our customers that we preserve OHIO-DA's open, neutral approach to all major EDA software vendors. Furthermore, we intend to continue to make the technology available to other PLM partners."

OHIO-DA's products will be immediately available for sale by PTC. In addition, PTC plans to provide InterComm as an integral module of PTC's Windchill PLM solutions.

This is an acquisition that makes a lot of sense for both parties, but especially PTC, because this gives it something that really differentiates it from the rest of the pack on the electronics side. If integrated and implemented properly, InterComm should provide a nice complement to the Windchill family of products. Although this is by no means PTC's first product/technology acquisition, as always, the trick is to integrate products (especially acquired ones) into the mix that look, feel, and, behave like other companion products and the core product they are meant to complement. Over the years PTC has had various degrees of luck accomplishing this tough task, but InterComm seems like
such a good fit with Windchill that I'm pretty sure that the company will put forth a lot of effort to ensure that it dovetails well into Windchill.

Microsoft Joins Automotive Industry Action Group

Microsoft Corp. has joined the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), the global auto industry's largest trade organization. Microsoft joins automotive manufacturers and product part suppliers, as well as other technology solution providers that cooperatively pursue initiatives through AIAG to benefit the automotive industry.

"We are delighted that Microsoft has joined AIAG as a sponsoring member," said Andrew J. Cummins, executive director of AIAG. "Microsoft's contributions to projects in areas such as business process automation, collaboration and electronic commerce will help AIAG and its members reduce costs and complexity within the automotive supply chain."

Microsoft currently participates in AIAG's Inventory Visibility & Interoperability (IV&I) Project. The goal of IV&I is to automate and speed the flow of goods throughout the auto industry by setting standards to facilitate vendor-managed inventory. The standard processes will help reduce costs and complexity of dealing with the numerous software systems currently used to manage inventory.

AIAG believes that the IV&I project will save $255 million alone each year in vendor-managed inventory practice throughout the automotive supply chain. The IV&I project is now in its proof-of-concept phase and uses the National Institute of Standards (NIST) test bed.

"Microsoft works closely with leading companies to develop solutions that improve business process management, reduce costs and complexities, and enable effective collaboration and communication across the manufacturing enterprise," said Kyle Solomon, industry manager, Automotive and Industrial Equipment at Microsoft. "Automotive suppliers and OEMs are not in need of more data; however they have a critical need for better access to the right information at the right time. That is why we are committed to promoting interoperability and open business standards based on Web services. We are excited to work with AIAG and its members on strategic projects to maximize efficiencies in the
automotive supply chain."

Microsoft has actually been quite active in the automotive community on many different levels and in many different capacities for several years now. By officially joining AIAG, Microsoft further illustrates its commitment to the automotive industry's supply chain - from the OEMs to the multi-tiered vendors. AIAG is an interesting organization that has been around more than 20 years and has more than 1,600 member companies, including North American, European and Asia-Pacific OEMs and suppliers to the automotive industry with combined annual revenue of more than $850 billion. AIAG's is a not-for-profit association whose primary goals are to reduce cost and complexity within the automotive
supply chain and to improve speed-to-market, product quality, employee health-and-safety, and the environment.

UGS PLM Solutions Leads In PLM And cPDm Revenue

UGS PLM Solutions, the product lifecycle management (PLM) subsidiary of EDS , announced it has been recognized as the revenue leader in PLM and collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm) by leading industry research firm CIMdata in a new comprehensive study of the PLM market.

CIMdata defines PLM as a strategic business approach that applies a consistent set of business solutions in support of the collaborative creation, management, dissemination and use of product definition information across the extended enterprise from concept to end of life -- integrating people, processes, business systems and information. PLM forms the product information backbone for a company and its extended enterprise. cPDm is focused on collaboration, management and sharing of product-related information.

The CIMdata study ranks PLM companies that it considers to be market leaders. CIMdata ranks UGS PLM Solutions as the overall leader in PLM revenue among suppliers with broad-based capabilities that support a full product lifecycle-focused solution. In addition to being named the leader in PLM, CIMdata ranks UGS PLM Solutions as the leader in cPDm, both in terms of revenue and market presence, with direct revenues more than double the closest competitor.

"UGS PLM Solutions' fifth straight year as the overall leader in this study validates our efforts to provide best-in-class customer value by delivering a broad range of leading PLM software and services solutions, on an open platform, to enable enterprises to reduce time to market by transforming their process of innovation throughout the entire product lifecycle," said Tony Affuso, president and CEO of UGS PLM Solutions.

Deadline pressures precluded me from doing a couple of things - getting dollar figures on exactly what "revenue leader" means, and how other PLM vendors ranked comparatively in terms of revenue and "market presence" (whatever that means). I'll track this information down and report back on my findings based on the CIMdata report. Generally, CIMdata is good at gathering meaningful data, as well as accurately and objectively presenting it. Also, as time goes on, it will be interesting to track and note the potential future implications and consequences (in terms of revenue and market position) of the upcoming acquisition of UGS PLM Solutions by the three equal financial partners.

IBM Celebrates Mainframe's 40th Birthday

Last week IBM marked the 40th anniversary of the System/360, the mainframe that sparked a revolution in computing and business. The System/360 was considered by many to be the most sophisticated computer of its time and is responsible for introducing many important technologies that are still in use today, such as transaction processing, micro-circuitry, and databases.

In honor of this transforming moment in computing and business history, IBM brought together some of the key people who built the System/360 - Erich Bloch, Fred Brooks and Bob Evans - along with customers whose businesses were transformed by it at a ceremony at the Museum of Computer History in Mountain View, California. The event was part of the museum's Computer History Lecture Series and is titled "The 40th Anniversary of the Computer that Changed Everything: The IBM System/360."

The System/360 was believed at the time to be the largest privately financed commercial project ever undertaken. More than 100,000 businessmen in 165 American cities attended meetings at which System/360 was introduced. More than 300 patents were issued as part of its development.

Think the mainframe computer (or so-called "Big Iron") is dead? Think again, because IBM has introduced its newest mainframe, the eServer zSeries 890 server, allowing mid-size enterprise customers to utilize sophisticated mainframe technology. According to IBM, the z890 delivers some of the highest levels of flexibility, virtualization, automation, security and scalability available in enterprise-class computing. Not wanting to date myself, but I learned FORTRAN IV by punching holes in cards with a keypunch machine, giving my stack of cards to an operator who placed the deck on a physical compiler, and waiting with fellow students for hours while an IBM 360 computed my results (that
inevitably had to be debugged). While PCs get a lot of press these days, mainframes still do a lot of "heavy lifting" for numerically/computationally intensive calculations. Long live "Big Iron"!

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

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    Upcoming Events
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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.