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October 20, 1997


Madras' Calsoft in talks with IMSI for marketing tie-up

The Madras-based California Software Company Limited is negotiating with US-based IMSI Inc, a software publisher and retailer, to extend its marketing reach.

The $40-million IMSI will market Calsoft's Dr DWG suite of CAD/CAM products through its retail and distribution network, 40 per cent of which is outside the US.

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Of significance in the suite of products are Dr DWG Netview and the soon-to-be-released NetEdit which allow users to view and edit CAD/CAM files of different formats on the Net.

"IMSI will bundle our software with their CAD/CAM products which have their own proprietary formats," said N Dhamu, vice-president, business development, Calsoft. IMSI distributes and retails CAD packages such as TurboCAD and CorelCAD, which it also owns.

"IMSI's strength is its marketing network which we as a small company lack," said Dhamu. The Rs 55-million Calsoft has a wholly-owned subsidiary in the US, CSWL Inc, which is its marketing arm as the company has operations mainly in the US.

Apart from this, Calsoft has the patronage of the US-based Chemoil Corporation (which holds 26 per cent of its equity) and hopes to get references and projects from Itochu Corporation of Japan (which recently acquired 50 per cent stake in Chemoil).

The CAD/CAM market, worth $6.5 billion worldwide, is dominated by AutoCAD (of US-based AutoDesk) at the PC end. The proprietary format that AutoCAD uses is DWG. Calsoft has developed its own products around this format and calls them Dr DWG suite. The suite consists of Dr DWG Library and NetPublisher apart from NetView and Edit.

"The concept behind the NetView is that CAD/CAM files of different format is broken down and interpreted in a single format. So on the Net, one can view AutoCAD, TurboCAD or any other file without having the software," says P Siddarth, product manager, Calsoft. "But we have developed the Netview mainly for AutoCAD files," he adds.

The advantages of the above are apparent when one sees the price differences. An AutoCAD would cost around $3,750 per seat, while a Netview, which is basically a plug-in costs from $50 for a single user to $1,950 for 50 users. But with NetView one can only view such files resident on the Net. "NetEdit, which is a separate application and not a plug-in, will allow editing and drawing but the pricing would be competitive," said Dhamu.

Dhamu said that Netview is already present in the US market since end of 1996 and that the software was getting 650 downloads per day. But these are trial software which expire after 30 days. Now Calsoft wants to enter this segment of low-priced editors in the PC CAD/CAM market.

True to this fact, the annual report of the company shows almost a 50 per cent reduction over the projected revenue of Rs 92 million with the actual hitting Rs 53 million. N K Nair, whole-time director of the company attributed it to the substantial investment in product development over the last year. In a related development, the company has called off its plans to open up an office in Bangalore.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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