Autodesk to Acquire Alias; Maya for Mac to Continue [Updated]

Autodesk announced an agreement to acquire Alias on October 4, 2005. If approved, the cash deal will cost Autodesk US$182 million. Alias is the 3D special effects software company best know for its Maya and MotionBuilder tools that are used in major motion pictures. Alias representatives have told The Mac Observer that the Mac version of Maya will "categorically" continue.

"This acquisition brings to Autodesk a highly talented group of individuals, a wealth of technologies and a great set of products," said Carl Bass, COO of Autodesk.

This isnit the first special effects acquisition for Autodesk. It also owns discreet, the developer of several video compositing tools, including Combustion. Adding Alias to the fold will position Autodesk as a special effects software powerhouse.

Autodeskis history on the Mac is a mixed one, and it is unclear whether the company will keep Aliasis Mac product line. The companyis flagship AutoCAD software product line doesnit have a Mac version, but Discreetis Mac business has remained solid since the company was acquired in 1999.

In the meanwhile, Aliasis commitment to the Mac has been an intense one during the last few years. Company spokespersons have told The Mac Observer in the past that Mac sales of Maya represent a sizable chunk of total sales, and that they were happy with their Mac performance.

In that light, an Alias spokesperson told TMO, "Autodesk has committed to extending all of our product lines when the acquisition does close."

In an interview with TMO, Doug Walker, President & CEO of Alias, iterated the same position.

"Categorically, weire going to support the Mac platform going forward," he said. "Mac units represent 25% of Maya revenue, and Mac users are a big part of our business."

Mr. Walker also said that the acquisition will allow for better integration between Maya and Autodeskis other offerings, both on the CAD and entertainment (the Discreet product line) sides of the companyis business.

Company spokespersons at Autodesk were unavailable for immediate response.

Bryan Chaffin contributed to this story.

[Update: This article was updated with additional information about the Mac version of Maya. - Editor]