On 02:06 PM 1/11/2001 -0500, Michael Reagan said:

> > At 07:27 PM 10/31/01 +0100, Peder K. Hellegaard wrote:
> > >Hi everybody
> > >
> > >I have been the reseller in Denmark for some now but recently I
> > received a
> > >termination letter from Altium with only one month margin.
> > >[...]
>
>Obviously Altium has a road map and a business plan in which they plan to
>follow.

That would be my guess as well.  There is a long term plan under way here, 
it would seem.

In the past Protel's corporate moves have been successful.  The move from 
DOS (SchEdit/Autotrax) to Windows before the majors was, it has been put to 
me by a Protel employee, one of the things that allowed Protel to 
grow.  And this included the disastrous early Windows releases.  There have 
been numerous times when I have thought, and sometimes said, "this will 
damage Protel, the users won't like it...".  I have been almost universally 
wrong in all of these comments.  This is why I am an engineer and not a 
business manager.  So, I have developed some respect for Protel's, and 
presumably now, Altium's corporate maneuvers, but I can not see a 
convincing case in this latest ATS-game for me and my company.

>As far as service packs go....I think Protel did an outstanding job
>listening to all of our requirements, needs, and clearly fixed many bugs by
>the time SP6 was released.

I agree.

>I would have been very surprised if they would
>have released an autorouter to us free.

I agree.



>"lifetime support".  It sounds great, but in reality, it should never be
>offered.  As a seasoned user, I rarely use the support any more, so maybe
>that is how they can offer it.

 From a users point of view there is a built in encouragement to the 
developer to make the product easy to use and really try to get the 
bugs.  This will directly reduce the support costs. Making support a profit 
centre seems to me a disincentive to produce good software.


>Which is basically what they will be doing.  I
>cant imagine that 2k or even 5 K is going to break anyone's piggy bank.
>This product cost  1/4 less than any competing product. Bugs or not.

PCAD is USD$10000 - not 4 times P99SE. Can someone answer this please, is 
the $10k all-inclusive or are there add-on costs required to make PCAD 
cover the scope of P99SE.  So I am not so sure about the 1/4 the cost 
claim.  Does anyone have any current pricing and maintenance data for the 
low-end Cadence products?  Maybe we should do some real investigation and 
produce a table of costs (both capital and annual) for a number of CAD 
packages.  I would be prepared to do some of this.  Any others?  I realise 
that this should also require investigation into other areas like 
capabilities and company support structures etc, but I think a useful first 
step is to assume 1) that all the products have quirks and nice features, 
2) they all have bugs.

USD$2k would almost certainly make me jump ship or simply not pay and sit 
with what I have.

I am involved with a tech transfer from a US company to an Oz company.  The 
US contract engineers were paid (in US$ terms) 4, yes four, times the price 
of the Australian contract engineers - this was a few months ago, I do not 
know if the industry slump is causing downward pressure on contract rates 
in the US yet.  The Australian engineers have about 25 and 15 years full 
time electronics and software engineering experience - we are not talking 
wet-behind-the-ears, and I will argue, and demonstrate, till I am just dust 
and fading memories that the Oz engineers are less capable.  One assumes 
that a similarly placed electronics development company would have a 
similar ratio of turnover, conclusion is the cost as a percentage of 
turnover of P99SE and ATS on the US pricing is significantly greater in Oz 
than in the US.  Now I am not complaining, we have our upsides, but this 
may explain some of the difference in perception.

Now, I do not know whether Australian customers will be charged in US 
dollars. But there is no solid information on this so I am basing my 
analyses on the assumption.  Protel can easily correct this assumption if 
it is incorrect.  It will make a roughly 50% difference in affordability - 
not insignificant.

>I think Altium is making
>some very crucial moves that will determine their stake and future in this
>market.

It would seem that some plan is underway.

>And besides, the stock price hasn't move much recently anyway so
>bold action may be required.

This intrigues me - why does a stock price have to move?  A stable stock 
price with a reasonable PE ratio may be the sign of a stable company. Seems 
to me the idea of share prices having to move is a recipe for short-term 
rather than long-term financial management.  I thought that the tech bubble 
popping had dispelled some of this growth-over-dividend baloney.

Ian Wilson

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