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Sunday, June 05, 2005

PTC Acquires Polyplan: Digital Manufacturing Gains a New Competitor (Commentary)

ANN ARBOR, Michigan, June 6, 2005 — PTC announced today their acquisition of Polyplan Technologies Inc., a private company based in Montreal, Canada. Terms of the acquisition were not announced. PTC stated that this action was a key to its strategy to enable simultaneous product and process development through enhanced manufacturing process solutions. This move is not surprising and CIMdata is pleased to see PTC take this action.

The Digital Manufacturing market, a sub-sector within the overall PLM market, is rapidly gaining visibility and is one of the fastest growing opportunities for PLM suppliers. CIMdata estimates that expenditures for Digital Manufacturing software and services exceeded $400 Million in 2004, and forecasts that expenditures will exceed $1.2 Billion in 2009.

This acquisition will move PTC directly into the Digital Manufacturing market and begin to fill a significant hole in their overall suite of PLM product offerings. PTC has not previously supported this growing market segment with any visible and substantial commercial offerings, while their two major direct competitors are dominating it. So PTC’s new focus on Digital Manufacturing is consistent with competitive PLM programs.

PTC’s incorporation of Polyplan’s technologies will provide substantial support for process plan development, the heart of Digital Manufacturing offerings. PTC reports that currently the Polyplan technologies are integrated into PTC’s Windchill and Pro/ENGINEER offerings, but in the future will become part of the full Windchill-based platform. Their stated objective is to provide an easy-to-use and affordable solution for use by mainstream manufacturing engineers. PTC’s next challenge in this segment will be to support manufacturing simulation and analysis; these technologies have been expanded and improved tremendously and have become major differentiators in this segment.

CIMdata is pleased to see PTC take this step. It should be good for PTC by allowing them to address a significant market need and begin to fill a current weakness in their product family. PTC’s customers will gain by having the availability of additional offerings to address their own Digital Manufacturing strategies. For the PLM industry, PTC’s action reinforces the critical value of Digital Manufacturing as a fundamental component of broad PLM programs. The overall market should gain from PTC’s additional contribution to market education and development, promoting continuing evolution of the industry. For the Digital Manufacturing market segment, this move introduces PTC as a competitor. While this market segment has been dominated by two major technology suppliers who already have substantial offerings, an additional major competitor should be good for the industry by providing even more visibility and competitive pressures on all suppliers.

PTC’s major challenge over the coming months will be to demonstrate that Digital Manufacturing has truly become a major point of focus for them and to validate that they can take this new focus to market successfully. We are positive on the move, and will be even more positive after PTC demonstrates both their commitment to, and their understanding of this market opportunity.

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