What will Alibre CAD become?
Or, What will become of Alibre?
For those of your who don't know - Alibre systems was in the news in 2010 for slashing its entry level history-based parametric CAD package to $99.
Alibre's professional and expert level packages were also dropped considerably to $599 and $1,199.
Two months ago they raised prices back up to $199, $999 and $1,999. (About at the same time that they partnered with 3D Systems. I imagine this was in preparation of their acquisition, but who knows? Prices increased previously also.
In an interview with the President of Alibre in Deelip Menezes Blog , who's company SYCODE is now also owned by 3D Systems, Deelip stated that, "Max Freeman tells me that the company has increased its customer base by tens of thousands during this period of slashed prices."
So as Alibre played ping-pong with their already low priced CAD, they found a potential suitor in 3D systems.
I can fully understand that 3D systems would like a CAD system as part of their ever growing rapid prototyping/additive manufacturing empire. But I wonder why they chose a history-based parametric modeler?
It would seem a direct modeler would be the best choice; easy to use for the DIY/maker market, easy to import and edit any CAD format for the more sophisticated manufacturer.
Maybe they didn't really care about the flavor or CAD technology. They probably were most interested in the tens of thousands of potential new DIY'ers to sell their newly acquired maker-bot hobbyist put-it-together yourself rapid prototyping system.
And as I read this morning in a blog post by SolidSmack . That this was the case. When 3DS started bundling their low-end hobbyist 3D printers with Alibre, in May and June, sales of those low end printers, as Josh Mings put it, 3DS "sold the crap" out of those printers.
But where does that leave the professional and expert Alibre users? Will the focus be on functionality for this low-end base of users who bought $99 CAD? Or will it be on the $1,999 "expert" users? This remains to be seen.
Alibre users and others- we welcome your comments...