Wednesday, May 9, 2001
Engineering software migrated from servers to PCs in the 1980s,
and many people predicted it would migrate from PCs to the Web in the
In theory this move would reduce the cost of software seats, maintenance, and training. Many new ASPs (application service providers) have sprung up to offer rental software, but engineers have been reluctant to play along. They've cited worries about security, dependability, tech support availability, and the solvency of software startups. (see "Spell CAD A-S-P," Design News 3/12/01).
Now, thanks to recent economic woes, they seem more like seers than worrywarts.
On Friday, ASP vendor CollabWare ( www.collabware.com) announced it had "ceased all regular operations," saying it was unable to obtain the funding it required. Its board of directors is now negotiating with at least two potential buyers to acquire the company's assets, according to former CollabWare MarCom director Scott Cullins.
CollabWare was spun out from Lockheed Martin in April 1999, with the purpose of selling GS-Design, a high-end, 3D, solid modeling CAD system that was specifically designed for ASP-based collaborative design of complex structures such as airplanes. In March, 2000, the company launched ProDeveloper (www.prodeveloper.net), a product development portal that would offer web-based tools and services including CAD and PDM; and Virtual Consulting, a suite of tools that would enable global collaboration.
Finally, the company terminated all 21 of its employees on Jan. 31, just 23 days after hiring a new VP of product development. CollabWare's data center remains operational, but will soon be shut down, so "the company will migrate its customers to other hosting service providers."
Looks like those engineers with cold feet were right after all.