The company is closing all its international divisions in Ottawa, Canada and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well an office in Albuquerque NM USA. All staff, except for 50, is being let go; the remaining fifty employees represent the "core" of the Internet design and marketing team. Even chairman Martin Sacks has tendered his resignation.
In addition, the company is removing itself from NASDAQ because it is unable to comply with listing requirements. IMSI says it is eligible for trading on the OTC (over the counter) Bulletin Board under the ticker symbol IMSI.
This is IMSI's second try at a turnaround. In 1999, IMSI attempted to sell all its retail software products, but were able to sell just one: Easy Language for US $1.7 million. The sale of other products failed because of "our weak negotiating position."
IMSI says the cause of the downsizing is due to an adverse arbitration decision regarding copyright infringement, which will cost the company US$2.2 million. Digging through the company's 10-Q filings, the arbitration was the result of Imageline suing Mindscape. IMSI last year faced lawsuits from RGC International Investors and Commercial Printing Company. (More details below.)
According to a press release, IMSI "is currently in discussions with potential investors and commercial bankers to review financing strategies for the forward plan, and will be meeting with its creditors to discuss short and long-term financing options." One observer, however, doubts that IMSI can last much longer. "As I read IMSI's situation, they have a total indebtedness of between US$30 and US$37 million held by a company with a stock value in the US$11 million range. Since last summer's reorganization, they have been spending US$6.5 million/quarter to generate US$2.75 million/quarter in revenues. It is not a picture of a company that is long for this world."
IMSI says it will continue selling many of its software titles via Web download. These include: FloorPlan, TurboCAD, TurboProject, TurboProject Pro, NetAccelerator 3.0, Form Tool v4 OrgPlus, Flow, Hijaak, and HijaakPro. Technical support will be limited to FAQs at IMSI's Web site.
Says ceo Costa John: "We are focusing all our resources on our strongest assets -- graphics design with ArtToday.com and precision design with FloorPlan. We will continue fighting to turn the company around and transform IMSI into a great Internet competitor."
On August 12, 1999 Imageline filed a counterclaim in the arbitration, alleging breach by IMSI of an agreement between the parties, including unauthorized sublicensing, and instituting arbitration proceedings without notice and opportunity to cure. Imageline requested liquidated damages, alleged to be more than $200,000, compensatory damages of at least $500,000, punitive damages, legal fees, interest and costs. IMSI cannot provide any assurance as to the outcome of the arbitration. An adverse outcome on this matter could require IMSI to pay a large amount of damages to Imageline.
Found in IMSI's 10-Q dated May 17'99:
On March 3, 1999 RGC International Investors, LDC ("RGC") filed an action in the District Court for the Northern District of California against IMSI for alleged breach of contract and of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, seeking payment by IMSI of unspecified amount of compensatory damages, specific performance, costs and fees but exceeding the jurisdictional minimum of $75,000. RGC alleges in its complaint that IMSI was obligated to proceed with a $5,000,000 million investment by RGC in IMSI. IMSI notified RGC in January 1999 that it was terminating discussions regarding an investment.
"On or about May 10, 1999, a motion for a default judgment for approximately $430,000 was filed in Jackson County, Oregon against IMSI in connection with a lawsuit filed by Commercial Printing Company, Inc. alleging non-payment of invoices. The amount of the invoices is already reflected in the Company's financial statements. IMSI and Commercial Printing Company, Inc. were in the process of negotiating a settlement of the lawsuit at the time the motion was filed. The parties are still in negotiations to settle the lawsuit. IMSI intends to respond to the motion."
"No new development will occur on the whole IMSI product line but for
Floorplan. So, no more new versions of TurboCAD and Visual CADD under the
IMSI brand name.
"So, does it mean Visual CADD is dead? Well, maybe not. 'IMSI' Visual CADD 4.0 is dead (you can still buy v3.0 from the Internet; Digital River is going to handle online distribution; or via the leftover inventory), but Visual CADD 4.0 itself might not be. There's already interest from people to continue its development, and you can be sure I'll be around (somewhere) to help it happen.
- Jean-Christophe Clement, ex-product manager, Visual CADD
"I have been accused of doomsaying IMSI on the Visual CADD list-server
for more than a year now. There is no surprise whatsoever in last week's
events to anyone who has followed IMSI's position. The only surprise lies
with their ability to stave off the decision as long as they did. My guess
had been that they would have been forced to make this decision last November."
- Lew Merrick
Bricsnet will distribute and support IntelliCAD in the United States and Europe. Presumably, other companies will handle distribution for Canada, Mexico, and other areas of the world.
As part of the agreement, Bricsnet has committed to releasing a commercial version of "Bricsnet IntelliCAD 2000" (as they name it) before the end of March in English, German, and French. New features include improved rendering, raster support from Hitachi, and AutoCAD 2000 DWG support. The introductory price is US$145 for new users, and US$99 for registered users; annual subscription is US$99; tech support is US$80 - US$150 per year.
The Standard, however, found the opposite true. They dug through the ZD Lab report to find that "on average, however, we found that Windows NT 4.0 provided slightly better performance than Windows 2000 when running with 64MB and 128MB of RAM." Concluded The Standard: "The clear extrapolation, unfortunately not tested, is that with 256MB and more (a real world probability), NT4 would be significantly faster than Windows 2000."
In it summary, ZD Labs reported the average performance of 32MB, 64MB, and 128MB configurations, which Microsoft used for its marketing purposes to say that Windows 2000 is faster "on average." The Standard revealed the purpose for the averaging: "Microsoft requested tests with 32MB (because it no doubt knew about the performance anomaly), but carefully avoided suggesting 256MB, lest the average went in favor of NT4."
To further bias the results, the Windows NT computer was set up to use PIO (a slower method of memory access rarely used with NT), while the Windows 2000 computer used DMA (the faster method normally used with NT).
Read the full story at www.theregister.co.uk.
HOOPS is graphics development component for Pro/Mechanica, CADDS5, Optegra Visualizer, ICEMSurf, and EPD.Connect from PTC; CAMAND from SDRC; Helix Design System from MicroCADAM; ADAMS from Mechanical Dynamics; Fluent5, Rampant and Cortex from Fluent; Excaline from Tecnomatix; CadKey from CadKey; and IGES/Works from ITI. In addition to Linux, HOOPS supports Windows 95/98//NT, Dec Alpha, HPUX, IBM AIX, SGI IRIX, and SUN SOLARIS. http://www.hoops3d.com
Tech Soft America is also demonstrating their new port of Parasolid to Linux at Linux World Expo. Parasolid is a solid model kernel from Unigraphics Solutions used by a about 200 CAD/CAM/CAE applications. This is an early look at Parasolid for Linux.
Ken Sears, director of the Parasolid line of business for Unigraphics Solutions, said: "Linux users can now benefit from Parasolid's Extreme Modeling technologies, and the strength of the Parasolid Data Pipeline, which links manufacturing enterprises through our de facto standard Parasolid XT file format".
TSA also plans to make their ParaHOOPS 3D Application Framework available to Linux developers looking for an advanced architecture for commercial-grade CAD/CAM/CAE apps.
ProjectBank DGN has been released for MicroStation/J 7.1. The software features change-merging, project tracking, dependency tracking and multi-format data storage and exchange. ProjectBank is as advance in document management systems because it manages transactions at the level of components, not files, and across the entire project database.
HVAC for MicroStation TriForma 7.1 has been released worldwide. The 3D HVAC product includes new smart trim for accurate representation of ductwork.
PlantSpace Instrumentation is a new module for Bentley's PlantSpace suite of software for plant engineering. Instrumentation is configurable to each client's specific needs, matching preferred standards, database structure, document formats, wiring, cabling concepts and rules.
A new version of PlantSpace Piping runs within the MicroStation TriForma 7.1 engineering configuration. Users can interactively route piping among and check for interference with structural elements, HVAC ducts, and plant machinery and equipment.
Structural for MicroStation TriForma 7.1 is now shipping worldwide. Working within a single project model, structural engineers and designers can now design in 3D; produce accurate structural drawings; apply concrete reinforcing steel directly to the drawing; and generate quantity take-off reports; analyze and design each structural element.
CadKey Corp purchased two software products from Merit Computer Solutions. Renamed CadKey Power-PAK and CadKey True Text, the products will be available for purchase on Feb 7 for US$250 from resellers or http://www.cadkey.com
Dimensional Constraint Manager components have been licensed by Structural Research and Analysis Corporation to provide advanced constraint-based modeling functionality.
Parametric Technology Corporation
InPart Mechanical is being called "the world's largest 3D CAD library" because it now exceeds one million parts. With 187,515 parts released on January 21, InPart has published CAD geometry for 1,014,535 standard components, with 20,290,000 supporting technical specifications. InPart Mechanical, formerly known as DesginSuite, eliminates the need for paper catalogs.
PTC last week released a new simulation tool called Pro/MECHANICA Fatigue Advisor for predicting and optimizing the durability of structural components entirely within Pro/ENGINEER. PTC selected UK-based nCode to develop the new product.
Sun is cutting the cost of its Unix-based Solaris operating system. Version 7 cost US$695; version 8 will be US$75.
SGI has released OpenGL under an open source license. The graphics API can be used for software, but not hardware; the name 'OpenGL' cannot be used.
SDRC reported revenues totaling US$114.1 million for the quarter ending December 31, 1999.
For more info, or to purchase the following books, click on their title:
AutoCAD in ObjectARX by Charles McAuley
Published by Autodesk Press; price: US$52.95 (paperback)
& Data Communications Handbook by Regis J. Bates
Published by McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing; price: US$65.00 (paperback)
Drive & Memory Troubleshooting Pocket Reference by by Stephen
Published by Computing McGraw-Hill; price: US$19.99 (paperback)
My point to this brief history lesson is twofold: (1) if you can use Windows or the Mac, you can use Corel Linux; (2) if you are familiar with DOS commands like CD, then you can use command-line Linux.
Just as Windows is the pretty user interface that hides the underlying DOS operating system, so too KDE is name of the user interface that covers up Debian Linux (the dialect of Linux used by Corel). With Windows 95/98/NT/2000/Millennium, you are limited to a single user (albeit customizable) interface. With Unix/Linux, you can choose from several user interfaces. Corel Linux happens to come with one called KDE, which can be made to look more like Windows -- complete with task bar, shortcut icons on the desktop, Web-enabled file manager, and right-click shortcut menus. Or made to look more like Macintosh. Or Sun. (KDE is short for "K" Desktop Environment.)
While most of Corel Linux's GUI-based applications take on the KDE look,
Netscape Navigator uses another GUI, called Motif, which more common on
Fri 8 Jan -
By now, my wife is getting suspicious: "Are you getting any work done on your book?" I am supposed to have started on Advanced AutoCAD LT 2000 for WordWare Publishing, but am determined to get Linux working for me. I tell Heather that my days of experimenting with Linux could lead to "future possibilities." She seems satisfied with that, especially after hearing on the news that Linux might one day replace Windows.
As I work with Linux, I find that some aspects are better than Windows; in other areas, Windows is better. Of course, this is Release 1.0 for Corel Linux, as opposed to Release 6 for Windows (1, 2, 3, 3.1, 95, and 98).
As I fumble my way through the familiar -- yet unfamiliar -- computing environment, my biggest frustration is the "grafted" help system. I am puzzled, for example, when the help tells me I need to manually mount the CD-ROM drive using several cryptic commands at the command prompt; the next sentence says Corel Linux mounts drives automatically. It takes a few days for me to realize that Corel simply added help text specific to their implementation -- without removing text that no longer applies.
Whenever I get a new computer (not that often!), I usually allow two full days to customize Windows to my liking, which includes setting up printers, network permissions, software installations, and GUI customization. As I worked to set up Corel Linux to my liking, here are the notes I took on my experience:
Re: 'Graphics board vendor S3 announced it is working on an Internet
appliance that uses Canoe.'
"Certainly Crusoe had a canoe... but, is this correct?"
- Claudio Macció
Re: Disadvantages of CAD
"Just writing to thank you and the readers of upFront.eZine for helping me with my dissertation study by filling in my on-line questionnaire about the advantages and disadvantages of CAD. It has been invaluable in compiling information for my dissertation study. I have had responses from all ages with varying amounts of experience."
- Jamie Wilkes
"I think the single disadvantage of computer aided design drafting is
that, as in manual design drafting, there is more to the drawing than meets
the eye when looking at the paper drawing. With CADD, the parts of the
drawing in excess of what appears on the paper, flow from the computer
and software rather than from the designer. With the increasingly vast
potential introduced by the computer, we achieve chaos involving multitudes
of CADD products and add-ons, non-interoperable systems and non-standardization
which did not affect manual design drafting. Mastery of a particular CADD
tool seldom accompanies mastery of the design discipline, adding to the
chaos; the CAD operator separating the experienced designer from
his drawing. Until computer systems are as easily mastered and as common
as paper and pencil; until the potential is more fully harnessed, the disadvantage
must be overcome by hard work, as it always has been."
- Calvin Smith
Re: Irrelevance of Trade Shows
"I still prefer to physically go somewhere, pick up an item I'm interested in, turn it in my hands and ask the relevant questions, face to face, of a living breathing human being -- preferably somebody who actually knows what the product does and what it won't do."
- Richard Weiner
"Your comment that 'trade shows are irrelevant in the face of web sites'
is not true in the case of A/E/C Systems. We have re-invented ourselves
as the Internet show for the construction industry. All the dot coms that
have targeted design and construction will be with us 'to see and be seen.'
The attendees will be architects, engineers and contractors who need to
touch and learn about everything out there that can help them in all aspects
of their work -- including e commerce.
"There has to be one event in the industry where all the players come together to exchange information in person. We firmly believe 'some things you can't just dot com.'"
- Philip McKay, managing director, Penton Media,
The editor replies: "I guess you have no choice but to follow
that route. It'll be interesting to see if it is successful, or if attendance
figures will continue to fall. I am still deciding whether to go to AEC
Systems in June."
Re: Windows 2000 Reboots Less Often
"The reboot situations Microsoft is referring to are things such as 'change swapfile size.' Not crash situations, but reconfiguration issues. These are critical for server machines, though more of an annoyance for workstation users.
"By contrast, Windows 9x's most common reboot scenario is more likely to be 'attempted to run a complex application while using nontrivial resources.' Take care, and thanks for keeping up the 'zine."
- John Dunkelberg
"The series 'Life with Linux' is spectacular. I like so much, I would
like to suggest another series: "Life without Windows."
- Ricardo Montes
"Congratulations on your upcoming 200th issue. I really enjoy upFront.eZine.
The level of information is just right for my needs."
- Gary Crocker
"3D CAD is my principal interest, although I found lots of other good
stuff in your newsletter."
- Robert Fox, Chile
"Thank you and keep up the great work! 'Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds.' - Albert Einstein."
- Bill Kemper