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CA bets on 3D future

The firm acquires two 3D-oriented content creation, modeling, and publishing software firms.

Computer Associates sees the future of enterprise software in 3D.

The enterprise management and business software player announced the acquisition of two 3D-oriented content creation, modeling, and publishing software firms, highlighting the bets the firm is making that an easy-to-use, video game-style visual interface will be the way information technology (IT) managers will want to interact with their applications going forward.

CA announced the acquisitions of Viewpoint Datalabs and 3Name3D, two companies with ties to the entertainment industry, as well as installed bases of customers in the corporate world.

CA took an equity stake in 3Name3D in April of last year. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

CA has promised to deliver an upgrade to its Unicenter enterprise management software suite dubbed the Next Dimension, or TND, which will likely incorporate improvements to the company's current 3D interface for IT managers found in current Unicenter TNG software through use of the acquired expertise.

"We think the benefits of 3D graphics?can also benefit users of enterprise information technology," said Charles Wang, chairman and chief executive of CA.

The company also said it would extend use of its 3D technology to other applications in its software stable, such as its Jasmine multimedia database. According to executives, the 3D tools the two firms provide could facilitate visual data-mining, for example, allowing users to more easily access a complex set of advanced requests from a database.

Viewpoint and 3Name3D have specialized in building 3D digital content for use in the animation community, as well as for third parties, such as television programs that require an image to explain something, like a 3D image of a human body. The companies have also been part of recent movie releases, among them Antz.

Executives from the two firms hope their respective niches can be expanded with the muscle of CA, one of the largest software companies in the world. "We have the best partner to move forward to embrace the enterprise world," said Martin Plaehn, Viewpoint chairman and chief executive.

"We will create new markets for visualization technology that have never existed before," added Sandeep Divekar, president and chief executive at 3Name3D.

CA executives said all employees from the two firms would be retained. Viewpoint will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of CA and will incorporate 3Name3D's business and employees.