We’ve been so focused on the big news of last week (in case you missed it, Dassault Systèmes is buying the DS-focused IBM PLM division of IBM and PTC and DS announced earnings) that a lot of other noteworthy items slipped under the radar. A quick recap:
How long should a company support a product?
DS said that it will continue to support CATIA Version 4 Release 2.5 until December 31, 2011 (rather than the end of 2009 as had previously been announced) for customers who are current with their maintenance payments. The company cites regulatory issues in some industries that require customers to maintain operational seats of CATIA V4 even if they have standardized on another product for new work. V4 will be nearly 20 years old when finally retired; I can’t recall any other product supported for this long.
Autodesk cracks down on software piracy
Autodesk seized pirated copies of AutoCAD 2007 worth AED 1 million (about US$270,000) from an engineering firm in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Autodesk had discovered that around 70 employees of the firm were using AutoCAD 2007 without legal licenses and had sent warning letters asking the firm to resolve the matter. The engineering company didn’t respond, leading Autodesk to work with the UAE Ministry of Economy to take a more drastic action. News reports of seizures are relatively rare; it seems companies are walking a tightrope to get markets to understand the value of intellectual property while not alienating a culture where the concept has never existed before. Then, too, there’s the fact that pirated software can build a user base — that can freeze out competition and lead to sales in the future as companies legalize their usage.
Regional licensing scheme
From the AllPoints Blog comes interesting news of Bentley Systems: Bentley has announced the creation of a license pooling scheme that enables companies with several offices in a country to create a “pool” of licenses to allow users to share licenses across locations. Site licenses are fairly common in engineering software; this is the first I’ve heard of regional pooling. It’s an interesting way to listen to customers, whose budgets are stretched but are constrained to move projects and staff as workloads shift. As AllPoint notes, this is a variant on software as a service (SaaS), a more flexible way for vendors to deal with their clients’ ebb and flow.
VARs seem to be holding on
PTC said during its earnings call last week that September-quarter channel revenue was down 25% from a year ago. While VARs are clearly stressed, none selling PTC products have have failed. Recent conversations with resellers indicate that those who were able to find new ways to interact with their clients (design consulting, for example) or create product/service bundles as new revenue streams are likely to make it through – if the economy in the US continues to improve. PTC’s report shows that September-quarter channel revenue was flat when compared to the June quarter; perhaps business will finally start to turn around for the channel.
Lots more happened — and this week continues the earnings stream — so stay tuned!