Tech Soft 3D Blog

Was the Adobe aquisition worth it?

Posted by Ron Fritz on Jul 3, 2012 1:42:00 PM
A few days ago, I detailed what we’d learned from our acquisition of the Adobe CAD translation technologies. The next question is, did it work as expected? Was it worth it?

The answer to both questions is: Yes, very much so. If anything, we underestimated the specific upsides, but trusted ourselves that we would discover opportunities once we “took the leap.” I’m sure there are even more upsides still undetected, but which will emerge over time.

How we were right:

  • We estimated that it would take about six quarters for the revenue from HOOPS Exchange to equal the costs of the Lyon operation. We were very close with that projection. It took seven quarters and sales are very strong.
  • We predicted that HOOPS Exchange would become a very important product for us within two years − and we’re right on track. In fact, it’s our fastest-growing product.
  • We also anticipated cross-selling advantages, where HOOPS Visualize graphics technology would help introduce more people to HOOPS Exchange, and vice-versa. That has turned out to be very true. About half of our new customers over the last 18 months now license both products.

Our recalculations:

  • We expected to have the different products more fully integrated by now. Although we’re reasonably satisfied with how well they work together, we know how much more tightly connected they could be and the value that would add for customers. In another 6-9 months they’ll be where we want them, but we probably should have prioritized this a bit more.
  • We discovered the libraries had fallen a bit behind supporting the very latest format versions. However, we made it a priority to fix this, and within just a few months, the team caught back up with the latest CAD releases and have continued to enhance the product remarkably fast.
  • As mentioned, we inherited 3D PDF technology as part of the deal. We used this to create an SDK for publishing rich 3D PDF files, called HOOPS Publish. Our almost singular focus on HOOPS Exchange caused HOOPS Publish to be released almost six months later than planned. This, combined with ISV’s uncertainty about the future of 3D PDF, resulted in this product falling short of initial expectations. It’s now selling well, especially since entities such as The U.S. Department of Defense, Israeli Defense Ministry, Boeing, Goodrich and others now fully support 3D PDF. Additionally, it’s proving to be a vital format for workflows including Work Instructions, Model-Based Engineering, First Article of Inspection, Model Quality Checking and others.

Leading a Movement

That brings us to 3D PDF standardization. We knew that as a company focused solely on developer tools, we couldn’t single-handedly establish 3D PDF as a standard. But through the ISO process, PRC will soon become part of the PDF/E standard. We realize that a format being ISO certified doesn't alone make something a standard. Solving industry problems does. It also takes a community of partners who see the value of a particular format and form a movement to guarantee its adoption and success. So, we helped establish the 3D PDF Consortium www.3dpdfconsortium.org, a collection of ISV’s, end-users and others who are committed to sharing the success story that is 3D PDF. We’re very pleased to see that community thrive and diversify with a range of committed members.

That’s not the only step we took to support 3D PDF. Adobe needed to make sure that users of Acrobat Pro Extended (formerly Acrobat 3D) had a way to bring their CAD data into Acrobat and publish that data to 3D PDF. To serve that market, we partnered with Tetra4D (www.tetra4d.com), who offers the 3D PDF Converter to serve this purpose. Their business is growing very well, a great indicator of the value users see in 3D PDF.

Adobe also wanted to ensure that users of their LiveCycle module, which converted 3D CAD into 3D PDF (called LiveCycle Generator 3D) were also served. For that, Adobe turned to ProSTEP (www.prostep.com) for their deep expertise in enterprise software and PLM workflows. ProSTEP then created PDF Generator 3D for LiveCycle. Again, a great step forward for enterprises that need to convert 3D CAD data to PDF in a LiveCycle Server environment.

A Big Thumbs Up

Overall, we classify this acquisition as an overwhelming success even though we weren’t entirely accurate on all of our predictions and expectations. We now have a product portfolio that has expanded to provide data access and publishing solutions. And we’ve been given an education that will serve us well as we continue to find opportunities to serve the market on desktop, cloud and mobile devices. Would we do it again in retrospect? Yes, absolutely.

Topics: 3D PDF Reader, PRC, 3D PDF, Adobe, HOOPS Exchange, Partners, HOOPS Publish

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