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  1. #1
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    Anyone think 3D Systems or Stratasys could still be Acquired?

    I remember when I was the editor for 3DPrint.com we were always covering takeover rumors concerning 3D Systems and Stratasys. I remember there was a time when I felt fairly confident that 3D Systems was about to be acquired by a larger company. Now, over a year since I've moved on from editor of 3DPrint.com I've come to realize that a takeover of both these companies (3D Systems and Stratasys) may not be in the card after all.

    HP, the company which I always thought would make a move for 3D Systems has gone on to establish themselves as a major player in the industrial level 3D printing space, without the need to acquire anyone. I doubt they would make a move right now.

    What are your thoughts? Could we still see 3D Systems and/or Stratasys be acquired by a larger company? If so, who would be interested?

  2. #2
    Autodesk. They acquire everyone and everything


  3. #3
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    I think that the market is divided. You have the commercial rapid prototyping market the includes the exotics/metals etc. that are limited in terms of sales of machines and services. When we use these services they are project specific and not day to day.

    You have the "what if" prototyping from the commercial side. Engineering uses the technology to go through iterations before sending out for more costly urethane casts, CNC machined, injection molded and die cast parts. This market tied to corporations with deep pockets. This is what propped those companies up.

    Now you have the open source 3D printing market that has boomed at a low cost solution for the day to day printing market. There is little to protect with IP. When Stratasys patents expire there is little left in the FDM market to protect. The open source market outpaces anything the major corporations can do.

    So why invest on a large scale in a major company acquisition? It always has been a niche market and it's getting smaller. I would think that they will stay staus quo but I am also not an investor.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Finke View Post
    Autodesk. They acquire everyone and everything
    Zing... That is a possibility that I didn't think of that is highly possible. Good perspective.

  5. #5
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian Finke View Post
    Autodesk. They acquire everyone and everything
    While I think this is possible, I also think Autodesk is more inclined to focus on software rather than hardware. Their goal is more than likely to become integrated with all 3D printers, but I doubt they will ever make a move to acquire a hardware manufacturer. Of course, I'm not Carl Bass, so I could be wrong.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Roxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie View Post
    While I think this is possible, I also think Autodesk is more inclined to focus on software rather than hardware. Their goal is more than likely to become integrated with all 3D printers, but I doubt they will ever make a move to acquire a hardware manufacturer. Of course, I'm not Carl Bass, so I could be wrong.
    Maybe... But 18 months ago they announced they were going to lead the effort and development of 'Spark' which was going to be the dominate 3D-Printer Operating System. It seemed to me, the big 'advantage' of Spark was that it was going to enforce licensing fees and not allow multiple prints of a bought model. So... if they are still trying to make Spark happen, it might make sense for them to acquire a big name printer company and 'Encourage' them to use Spark. At least within the RepRap community, Spark hasn't even created a big yawn. I'm not sure most RepRap'ers even know it exists.

    And really... It wouldn't be that hard to monitor the wires going to the different stepper motors and record everything the printer is doing. With that data, it should be straight forward to de-compile those movements into a clean .STL file.

    If Stratasys should ever get bored with claiming people that use non-proprietary filament are felons, they can start claiming people that watch electrical signals on stepper motors are felons also and need to be locked up!

  7. #7
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxy View Post
    Maybe... But 18 months ago they announced they were going to lead the effort and development of 'Spark' which was going to be the dominate 3D-Printer Operating System. It seemed to me, the big 'advantage' of Spark was that it was going to enforce licensing fees and not allow multiple prints of a bought model. So... if they are still trying to make Spark happen, it might make sense for them to acquire a big name printer company and 'Encourage' them to use Spark.

    But really... It wouldn't be that hard to monitor the wires going to the different stepper motors and record everything the printer is doing. With that data, it should be straight forward to de-compile those movements into a clean .STL file.

    If Stratasys should ever get bored with claiming people that use non-proprietary filament are felons, they can start claiming people that watch electrical signals on stepper motors are felons also and need to be locked up!
    Everything I got out of my discussions with Autodesk relating to Spark is that the Spark Platform isn't a means to make money from selling hardware but rather a means for showing off the software end of things, and recruiting hardware manufacturers to use their system. Of course this could conceivably change over time but I still feel Autodesk wants to stick to software.

  8. #8
    Autodesk has been buying out companies left, right and centre, Eddie. Some are very printer-centric. Now they also own Delcam, which includes Powermill, arguably the best g-code generator on the planet. No way are they going to buy all these companies but let the likes of HP overtake them.


  9. #9
    Took a one minute look at finance.google.com and what do I see:

    https://www.google.com/finance?q=3d+...LYi_swHpoo_gCA
    https://www.google.com/finance?q=NAS...LYi_swHpoo_gCA

    If that EPS is correct, both companies are in deep trouble and the business has been bad for a few years already. The management has updated their CVs long ago. Unless they can change direction, they will face bankruptcy.

    With this it's almost given that they will be acquired, big question is by who. Market capitalization is now about 1 bil, so you could buy them for a few hundred mil in a while. You could see a bold venture capitalist jump out of bushes but it could be a growing small 3D printing company or a technology behemoth like HP or Dell which hasn't been too successful in their own 3D printing efforst and doesn't have very good targets for investment otherwise. Also don't count out crazy billionaires like Elon Musk

    I guess Autodesk is on the list since seems Sebastian established that they have an interest in integrating vertically with printer manufacturers.

    Todd makes an interesting point about the "what if" prototyping from the commercial side market drying up. Is there further information on this somewhere? Isn't 3D printing supposedly growing and getting more and more hype?

    How about the growing production use of 3D printing? Medical etc applications...

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