It looks like the low-cost parametric modelling system Alibre is about to make a return to the market and active development after its ‘wilderness years’ at 3D Systems.
A low-key post on the Geomagic Design/Alibre forums earlier this month showed that there was some news on the horizon.
The post, from former Alibre VP of marketing Max Freeman, informed users that “Myself and several ex-Alibre employees have created a new company called Alibre, LLC, and we have entered into a definitive agreement with 3D Systems to transfer Geomagic Design to our company for sales, support, development, etc.”
Freeman stated that more news would be forthcoming in early June. There are also plans afoot to, presumably, incentivise customers who have let maintenance slip and that the Geomagic Design branding is going to be dropped (to return to the Alibre name).
For those that have been using the system in the meantime, the good news is that development should begin in the next few months.
When asked for a comment, a 3D Systems spokesperson said: “The Geomagic Design product is a strong offering with a committed customer base that 3D Systems wants to enable and support, but it is not a strategic product for 3D Systems going forward.
“As a result, 3D Systems feels selling the product to the newly formed Alibre, LLC is in everyone’s best interest.”
Under 3D Systems’ control, Alibre could have been interesting but, at the time of acquisition, the company was riding a wave of hype and made some questionable decisions. The timing was ripe for a low-cost 3D CAD system to address the growing maker community.
Alibre, before 3D Systems, was a capable system and offered a truly lower-cost alternative to the likes of SolidWorks, Inventor, etc. It also experimented with subscription only business models, cloud-based delivery before anyone else.
We’re curious to learn how the company will fair on its own in a very different market in 2017. Subscription is the current trend, cloud delivery is growing and there are more lower-cost alternatives from the likes of Fusion 360 and Onshape.