Microsoft / Amiga connections

From: Mark Green <>
Date: Sun Feb 18 21:12:40 2001

> >>
> >> >3D software maker Softimage was acquired by Microsoft, managed
> >> >poorly for several years, then sold to Avid. That's probably
> >> >the connection you're thinking of.
> >>
> >> Another SGI firm, then.
> >Not exactly, SGI owns Alias|Wavefront which is the main
> >competitor to SoftImage. The one main benefit of SoftImage
> >being bought out by Microsoft is it started both companies
> >moving their products to cheaper platforms.
> I didn't mean that they were owned by SGI, but that they specialised in SGI
> products.
> As for moving their products to cheaper platforms, is that any advantage?

You bet. Ten years ago the hardware for a typical animation station
was around $75,000 (a high end SGI), then you put around $75,000
worth of software on it, for a total or around $150,000. I now
teach at a media school, where I have a class of 60 students
learning 3D modeling and animation. I need around 30 stations for
this class, at $150,000 each that's a significant investment. Moving
to a PC based platform at least reduces the hardware costs. Over
the past decade the cost of Alias and SoftImage software has also

The concentration on high priced systems is basically how SGI got
Alias for a bargin price (this was almost 10 years ago, so its close
to on topic). Since the hardware and software were so expensive,
very few customers could pay cash for their systems. Alias sold
packaged systems, both the hardware and software, and provided
financing internally for these system. They basically got greedy
and instead of using a third party for customer financing, they
did it themselves. When the economy slowed down at the beginning
of the 1990s, their customers couldn't make payments, which caused
considerable cash flow problems for Alias. They ended up with
a lot of returned systems that they couldn't sell. At that time
Alias was SGI's largest customer, so SGI would be hit hard if
Alias went under. So, they basically stepped in a bought a
significant part of Alias and put in their own management team.

I bought four 310VGX's at the Alias fire sale, which was actually
conducted by SGI.

Dr. Mark Green                       
McCalla Professor                              (780) 492-4584
Department of Computing Science                (780) 492-1071 (FAX)
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H1, Canada
Received on Sun Feb 18 2001 - 21:12:40 GMT

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