Morning coffeeWow, what a week! Let’s see: earnings, COFES, earnings, meetings, briefings … There’s lots more coming from me over the next few weeks about COFES and earnings but here are some highlights and news we all need to catch up on.

It’s the Economy …

Big picture news lately has been confusing and a bit depressing. USA Today last week ran a great story about a survey that highlights how nearly 2/3 of manufacturing companies “may finally be ready to spend the $1.6 trillion in cash they’ve been hoarding.” No clue how they came to that dollar figure, but the point is the trend: last year’s survey had just over 50% of respondents saying they’re ready to start spending. Many of the examples cited in the story are of capital spending plans (new buildings, equipment, etc.) but new buildings need to be designed; equipment requires software in both design and operation … The implications for our world are good.

Another news piece with significant implications is the Aereo case that was argued in the Supreme Court last week. Aereo sets up a tiny antenna farm, duplicating the TV antennas we all used to bring TV into our homes before cable TV. Aereo leases those antennas for minutes at a time to paying subscribers, allowing them to watch broadcast TV on their WiFi-enabled devices. The problem: the broadcasters see Aereo making money without paying royalties. Aereo says it’s just enabling people to watch what they would see for free, on another device. Why does this matter to us, if we don’t do anything with TV or broadcast signals? Because it’s fundamentally about how old laws are applied to new technologies, and about how changes (like from broadcast to cable) put at a disadvantage those who can’t afford the newest tech. Great editorial in the Washington Post.

(Full disclosure: My household has an Aereo subscription for when we just HAVE to watch a Patriot’s game and aren’t near the cable TV. First world problem, yes.)

PLMish Deals, Earnings and Other News

Two of the PLMish heavyweights announced March quarter earnings this week, PTC and Dassault Systèmes. PTC reported that total revenue was up 4% as reported, up 3% excluding acquisitions. CAD license revenue was up 2%, PLM (not just Windchill) license revenue was up 12%, and SLM license revenue was up 11%. Read lots more here. What’s most interesting is the span of products today: not-so-new (CAD) to very new (ThingWorx), with all growing.

DS‘s story is also a tale mixed results. Total revenue was up 4% while CATIA revenue was down 5%, ENOVIA revenue was up 6%, SolidWorks was up 1% and “Other software” was up 10% as reported; each category grew in constant currencies. Brief details here; I still need to parse all of the details but DS and PTC had remarkably different views on big deals and geo performance in the period — it’ll be interesting to see why. A couple of other things: The Accelrys acquisition is likely to be a done deal very soon, as the final regulatory hurdle was finally accomplished. DS will do a 2-for-1 stock split this summer and will change its registration from France (where it is an SA, Société anonyme) to the European Union (Societas Europaea, SE) for the tax advantages.

Mensch und Maschine Software today announced that total Q1 revenue was up 1% to 38 million. More from me later, but it appears that these results disguise underlying strengths; a year ago, Autodesk was offering upgrade promotions which were not repeated this year. Revenue from MuM’s proprietary software were up 9%.

Finally, what’s a week without an acquisition by Hexagon? The company is acquiring Arvus, a BRAZILIAN manufacturer of precision agriculture solutions for site-specific management. I’m a city kid, but I think this means looking at fertilizer, seeding and watering and so on in a very localized way, rather than by field. Arvus’ equipment and software products were designed specifically for precision farming and forestry. This deal takes Hexagon even more into areas that are traditionally dominated by Trimble, with its Connected Farm and related apps. Hexagon says Arvus complements Hexagon’s machine control solutions, providing guidance, real-time fleet management, and field-to-office data analytics applications as well as various hardware and software solution integration opportunities. No details were made public, but Arvus is part of the Criatec portfolio, established by Brazil’s national development bank. The transaction is expected to close next month. The acquisition will have no significant impact on Hexagon’s earnings.

Links of the Week

PLMish technology is used for really, really cool things. Literally, in this case: Clem Smart Design uses Rhino and MecSoft’s RhinoCAM to make ice sculptures. Beautiful ones — take a look!

Then, there’s a robot fish, designed with PTC Creo. The GhostSwimmer “is modeled on a 40-inch catch pulled from waters off the coast of Gloucester, Mass. The team brought the specimen into the lab, scanned it, and replicated its shape in their CAD system.” Why? Read the article!

That’s it — now get out there and have a great week!