Earlier on Thursday, Autodesk announced that it was acquiring some of the assets of T-Splines, Inc., patent holder of the T-Splines surface modeling technology. The news release raised more questions than it answered, and we reached out to Autodesk to see if we couldn’t learn a bit more. Unfortunately, Autodesk appears to still be figuring out answers to a number of key user concerns but provided the following additional information:
Q: Will the SolidWorks and Rhino plug-ins from T-Splines (the company) continue to be supported?
A: Autodesk is still evaluating its plans regarding support for the T-Splines plug-ins.
Q: What remains of T-Splines Inc. after the acquisition?
A: Autodesk has acquired certain technology-assets from T-Splines and did not acquire the company. [We] can’t speak to future plans for T-Splines, Inc.
Q: Are any of the key staff joining Autodesk?
A: Autodesk is assessing how to best integrate key staff into roles at Autodesk as appropriate.
Q: Why was licensing the technology or letting them create a plug-in not sufficient?
A: T-Splines technology assets provide significant flexibility for free-form modeling in industrial design and engineering environments and acquiring these assets gives Autodesk the opportunity to offer its customers even closer integration between industrial design and engineering workflows.
So we don’t yet know the answer to the big question on many people’s minds: will my T-Splines plug-in continue to be supported? One thing many people looking at this announcement seem to have overlooked is that Bob McNeel, of McNeel & Associates (makers of Rhino), is on the board of T-Splines, Inc. and was likely closely involved in the decision to sell technology to Autodesk. Why would he agree to sell to Autodesk in a way that disadvantages his user base?
Obviously, more to come. But not right now, it would appear.
[A blog post with more about the acquisition is here.]