USA: Google sold its 3D modelling platform ‘SketchUp’ to Trimble Navigation for an undisclosed sum. SketchUp is a popular 3D modelling platform used for architectural purposes, as well as films and games. The programme, which is known for its ease-of-use, allows models to be created within the context of Google Earth.
As per the report published in Tech Crunch, this is Google’s first disinvestment ever. Some sources revealed that the search giant even made a profit, as it sold SketchUp for more than it bought it for back in 2006.
The report highlighted that SketchUp had 30 million activations since joining Google as part of @Last Software in March 2006. But it just didn’t fit with the direction Google was heading to. It’s a relatively niche product for architects and the construction industry, game developers, and film makers. It doesn’t fit with last years’ theme of inherently social product that could be tied to Google+, or this years’ plan to simplify everyone’s lives.
Analysts speculated that Google paid USD 45 million for SketchUp in 2006. As Trimble called the acquisition of the product “immaterial”, and therefore less than 5 percent of its annual revenue, it couldn’t have paid more that USD 90 million for it. That would mean Google could have made up to USD 45 million in profit on the sale, though its likely closer to a few million.
Trimble said it hopes the acquisition will expand its reach in industries like architecture and construction where its tools are already widely in use. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter.
“SketchUp, together with these existing capabilities, will provide a stand-alone and enterprise solution that will enable an integrated and seamless workflow to reduce rework and improve productivity for the customer,” Bryn Fosburgh, Trimble vice president, said in a statement. “Users will be able to collect data, design, model, and collaborate on one platform.”
John Bacus, product manager at SketchUp, said the platform will be able to grow and develop new features as part of Trimble.
“We’ll be better able to focus on our core communities: modelers who have been with us from the beginning, as well as future SketchUppers who have yet to discover our products,” Bacus wrote in a blog post Thursday. “Designers, builders and makers of things have always been the heart and soul of SketchUp.”
As part of the deal, Trimble will partner with Google on running and further developing the SketchUp 3D warehouse, an online repository where users can find and collaborate on 3D models. Trimble will also continue offering a few version of SketchUp.
Source: TechCrunch & Trimble