March 1, 1997
Who is Boomerang Technology and what did Visio acquire? The story starts with a company called IntelliCADD which developed software that facilitated viewing and managing multiple AutoCAD drawings. This software was acquired by Autodesk and became the basis for that company’s AutoCAD Data Extension (ADE) package. IntelliCADD was then acquired by Softdesk, presumably because of work the company was doing in the utility industry facility management arena.
The facility management aspect of the business never really took off for Softdesk. Instead, the San Diego-based personnel at what had been IntelliCADD began working on a low-cost alternative to AutoCAD. When Softdesk began discussing acquisition with Autodesk, this activity no longer fit into the picture and Softdesk terminated the project and the people along with it. These people formed Boomerang Technology, but there was disagreement over the ownership of the software they had been developing for Softdesk. Nine of these people went to work for Visio as of January 1, 1997.
Apparently, the ownership issue has been resolved and what Visio acquired from Boomerang Technology for $6.7 million was access to the software these people have been working on. What happens next will be interesting to watch. Visio is a powerful marketing organization with about $80 million in annual revenues and nearly $20 million in annual profits. The company recognized that many AutoCAD users do fairly simple diagramming tasks that can be done equally well with much less expensive software and has developed a substantial business selling packages to do just that. We expect to see software products based on the Boomerang work that will probably fit somewhere between the current Visio Technical package and full-function AutoCAD.