EarningsGraphisoft just announced that it has acquired the ArchiCAD distribution unit of Italy’s Cigraph, a long-time in-country reseller. The deals led to the opening of the Graphisoft’s first Italian office, made up of Cigraph people who will work with the Italian ArchiCAD resellers to further promote the brand.

This is part of Nemetscheks’s announced strategy to strengthening its position in key growth markets around the world. The company wants to be closer to customers, to get in on projects much earlier and to customize products for what it sees as a “dynamic architectural market”.

This deal also gives Graphisoft Cigraph’s Artlantis distribution business.  Artlantis is a stand-alone 3D rendering application developed especially for architects and designers by the Abvent Group. According to Abvent, Atlantis is a “cutting-edge approach to digital imagery [that] … combines the most advanced and efficient tools for fast and easy photo-realistic rendering of 3D projects”.

Graphisoft already distributes Artlantis in a number of markets, so it’s a natural extension of prior intentions. For its part, the new Cigraph will offer ArchiCAD and Artlantis training and services to the Italian market, and develop a series of verticalized additions to its ArchiSuite plugins for ArchiCAD.

This is the second channel-related announcement this week, after ANSYS‘ on Monday. I don’t think there’s a trend; both seemed opportunistic and specific to the OEM’s particular situation. But it’s also true that difficult economies put more stress on channel partners, as small business are reliant upon cash flow and have smaller cushions to see them through troughs. What do you think? Are we at the start of something channel-specific?