April 25, 2005
Get a Read on Adobe and PDF for AECAdobe Will Acquire Macromedia for $3.4 Billion in Stock
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by AECCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

About this Issue…

A weekly news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

Welcome to AECWeekly! It's clear from the investment made by some AEC software companies in maximizing the PDF format that PDF is still an important format for some architecture/engineering firms as a means of creating shareable files. Not to diminish in any way
Mr. Knowles' claims from last week's AECWeekly about PDF and DWF, it looks as though AEC users may need to keep on their desktops not just one of these software products, but maybe two or three. Read about these software options for PDF as well as Adobe's pending acquisition of Macromedia for $3.4 billion in this week's Industry News.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Awards, Appointments, Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

AECWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Get a Read on Adobe and PDF for AEC

by Susan Smith

Last week's
interview with Jonathan Knowles, newly named director of worldwide market development for Autodesk Collaboration Services products and solutions, highlighted his knowledgeable take on where PDF stands in the AEC industry. He made the case that PDF is a defacto standard within banking, insurance and other financial services and most publishing applications, but DWF is becoming an industry defacto standard for architects and engineers. As he stated in the interview, "PDF and DWF really don't compete, they are completely different. They solve two entirely different challenges."

Get a Read on Adobe and PDF for AEC
A company that addresses the issue of converting complex CAD drawings to PDF and other shareable file formats is Bluebeam Software. Bluebeam has developed a specialized technology that creates PDF files that are quite a bit smaller than those created by competitors. In fact, it generates PDFs from CAD drawings twice as fast as Acrobat.

Bluebeam Pushbutton Plus is a PDF solution for firms that use AutoCAD as their primary CAD application. It allows AutoCAD users to batch convert DWG files to PDF, DWF, TIF and eight other file formats. It also includes security, binding, text stamping, watermarking, and file embedding features. This solutions includes the Bluebeam PDF Printer driver that allows you to create a PDF from any application and convert any application to PDF and nine other file formats. Software price for one user is $249, and goes up incrementally. Steep discounts are given for multiple users and the company offers a Volume Licensing Program.

New from Bluebeam is their new server solution, which allows companies to convert large numbers of documents to PDF (or ten other file formats including DWF, TIF and JPG) in a high-speed conversion, using a centrally managed server environment. Priced at $2,999, this server solution includes maintenance for the first year. It offers a variety of conversion configuration options, such as page size customization, automated bookmarking, text-stamping, and watermarking. You can also set up an unlimited number of file directories -- called watched directories -- in which every file deposited into a watched directory is converted automatically into a unique standardized configuration for
document control.

Also Bentley Systems announced 3D within PDF which will be a part of the next release of MicroStation. In an
interview with Ray Bentley and Troy Carter, Bentley stated their position: "This gives us an opportunity to take the 3D data and deliver it to a new class of people, people who never worked with engineering data at all, who aren't going to work with MicroStation or even use a 3D viewer. 3D content within PDF files can be used for design proposals, assembly manuals or any kind of technical document. Everyone from designers of complex process plants to people who are putting together their bikes could benefit.. You can convey so much more information in a 3D document than you can ever get
in 2D engineering drawings." Bentley clarified this by saying that you do need 2D drawings because they have the dimensions, but there are also times when a 2D drawing is not sufficient.

So where did that 3D with PDF technology come from? In an
interview with Right Hemisphere's CEO Michael Lynch we learned that the 3D format that Bentley publishes out is Intel's Universal 3D (U3D), a format shared by Acrobat 7.0. The engine in Acrobat 7.0 that reads these U3D files and views them in PDF is Right Hemisphere's Deep View technology.

Bluebeam does not see the need to provide 3D within PDF capability just yet, but will do so if the need arises.

It's clear from the investment made by these companies in maximizing the PDF format that PDF is still an important format for some architecture/engineering firms as a means of creating shareable files. Not to diminish in any way Mr. Knowles' claims about PDF and DWF, it looks as though AEC users may need to keep on their desktops not just one of these software products, but maybe two or three.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm reading a generational saga while reading about these software companies. Take a look at the next story on Adobe and see what you think:

Adobe Will Acquire Macromedia for $3.4 Billion in Stock

Big news this week on the general technology front was Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia for $3.4 billion in stock. Adobe, the developer of Portable Data Format (PDF), considered the defacto exchange format for published documents, and Macromedia, known for its Flash products that are used for animating web pages and DreamWeaver used for designing Web pages.

Foremost in most industry watchers' minds is the fact that these two companies are joining forces at a time when they are both faced with serious competition from Microsoft. Adobe has recently shifted its emphasis toward providing software solutions for big companies, in the area of electronic document management programs which is in direct competition with Microsoft and Apple. Even more pressing for Adobe: the release of Longhorn, the next generation of Windows from Microsoft, promises to incorporate much of the same capabilities as Adobe's Acrobat.

Adobe and Macromedia have some competing products, but the idea is that the acquisition will allow them to serve a wider audience than they've been able to serve individually, and either company currently reaches and delivers new tools and services to content developers as the multimedia software sector evolves.

Adobe also hopes to strengthen its presence in the market for design tools for the Web and document management software for mobile phones and other wireless devices, markets in which Macromedia has a head start.

The New York Times: "In the deal, Macromedia shareholders will receive 0.69 share of Adobe stock for each Macromedia share. The purchase price of $41.86 a share is 25 percent higher than Macromedia's closing price of $33.45 on Friday. After the deal closes Macromedia investors will own about 18 percent of the combined company. Adobe also announced it would repurchase $1 billion in stock in the 12 months after the deal closes in the fall."

In an interview with CNET News.com, Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe stated: "If you just look at the number of government agencies around the world that already encourage the use of PDF and accept it as a de facto standard, it's pretty hard for me to see how Microsoft's going to come in and just unseat all those workflows," he said at the time. "But they are Microsoft and they do have $40 billion in revenue."

Is it possible? It will be interesting to see how many users, if any, may delay the purchase of the next release of Adobe products, in order to wait for Microsoft's Longhorn to prove itself. Clearly, Adobe is getting hit hard from its competition on a couple of fronts, but the good news for them is that users don't change very easily. Right now, it doesn't look like PDF is going to go away any time soon.

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-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.

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