IntelliCAD History and developments are very interesting to learn and help us to understand the clear foundation of IntelliCAD software from its beginning to where it is today.
During the early 1990s, a software product with name IntelliCAD started by a software company in San Diego, USA. The primary aim of this software product was to empower ADE (AutoCAD Data Extension) technology.
Later this product sold to Autodesk and it became an integral part of Autodesk’s MEP Software.
With time IntelliCAD has passed several stages and changed its ownership from company to company due to various business and technical reasons.
IntelliCAD software has passed through the management of Softdesk company, Autodesk Inc, Boomerang Technologies, Visio Corporation, just missing Microsoft and finally became a part of IntelliCAD Technology Consortium.
In the decade of 1990, Softdesk was one of the largest third-party developers for Autodesk company. Cyco Software was another major development partner for Autodesk products.
Due to some business interests, Softdesk had acquired IntelliCAD Software along with its development team. It has engaged IntelliCAD programmers in a project to improve IntelliCAD as a similar product like AutoCAD in terms of features and interface.
In December 1996, Autodesk has purchased Softdesk for $90 million in a bidding competition with Parametric Technologies.
After Autodesk discovered it now owned an AutoCAD clone, the IntelliCAD software and its employees separated as Boomerang Technologies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered Autodesk to avoid IntelliCAD and its employees for 10 years.
Later, Visio purchased Boomerang and IntelliCAD software and launched it as a commercial product just at 10% price of AutoCAD.
There was a limitation of IntelliCAD in .dwg file read and write capabilities. To overcome this, Visio Corporation has acquired a company called MarComp for its .dwg read and write libraries.
Again Visio Corporation couldn’t realize the commercial benefits even with this .dwg technology hence it decided to give away the source code free under the name of The OpenDWG Alliance.
This Organization later renamed to Open Design Alliance (ODA) and dwg technology renamed to Teigha libraries.
Autodesk launched “100% pure DWG” campaign to create some confusion to users to avoid using IntelliCAD software.
Visio, after spending about $25 million sold only few thousand copies of IntelliCAD Software. As the project was not commercially viable, Visio declared IntelliCAD 98 as a free product and formed IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC) to maintain the source codes of IntelliCAD Software.
In September 1999 Microsoft Corporation has acquired Visio Corporation for $1.3 billion along with IntelliCAD 98 and its source.
A new IntelliCAD 2000 source code branch continued its independent development under the new Organization IntelliCAD Technology Consortium
ITC has discovered that some critical components required royalty payments, and so only a barebone IntelliCAD could given away free.
Despite the barebone technology, some Organizations started using IntelliCAD code either for their internal use or resale with some modifications and improvements.
The major transformation in global CAD industry is the formation of IntelliCAD Technology Consortium as an independent and member-driven non-profit Technology Organization.
IntelliCAD has become a founding member of another non-profit Organization called Open Design Alliance (ODA) which based in the USA. IntelliCAD software uses Open Design Alliance’s Teigha dwg, dxf & dgn libraries.
There are many commercial members to IntelliCAD like ActCAD, progeCAD, Carlson Software, 4M IntelliCAD, CMS IntelliCAD, Micro Survery, FrameCAD, ZWCAD etc. All these members work closely with IntelliCAD Developers and QA team to improve the technology on the continuous basis.
IntelliCAD Technology Consortium never sells its products to end users. All its products are commercially available through its commercial members with or without modifications.
Members use core IntelliCAD engine to develop their vertical solutions in various domains. Some products are available as core CAD software with many improved features and commands.
Each member has their own licensing systems and commercial policies. IntelliCAD History indicates that it will not set any commercial terms to its member products.
It is very important to note that IntelliCAD is a not a pure Open Source Organization. The source codes are available to its commercial members in a controlled manner based on their membership level and a subscription to various Special Interest Groups (SIGs).
Read more about IntelliCAD History at this link.