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Artisan – Aonix merger

February 1st, 2010
Late last month the merger of Artisan and Aonix was announced. This is yet another interesting move in the supply of tools to the embedded systems community.

The tool market has seen a number of significant changes over the last year. It started just over a year ago with the acquisition of Telelogic by IBM.  At that time Telelogic were starting to become the dominant player in the embedded design tool market (predominately UML), based primarily around their Rhapsody tool (which of course came in to their stable from their acquisition of I-Logix back in 2006).  A lot of people, me included, were concerned that Telelogic would be swallowed up into IBM and loose their focus and support for the embedded community.

Much of this concern was based on IBM’s previous acquisition of Rational back in 2003.  At that time Rational were certainly a player in the embedded UML market, but slowly fewer and fewer resources were given over, and no real investment to tools such as Rational Rose Real-Time. Sure enough, within a year the Telelogic name has disappeared to be replaced by IBM Rational. As an embedded developer you would be hard pressed to find what support IBM offer unless you know what to look for (try, for example, typing “embedded” into the IBM search box, you won’t find much of use to the embedded developer).

This has meant that a void has been developing for anyone looking to use UML in real-time embedded projects. Obviously there are a number of generic tools around, such as Enterprise Architect from Sparx Systems and MaigicDraw from Magic Draw, but neither is focused on to real-time embedded projects.

The merger of Artisan and Aonix makes a lot of sense to both companies. First, for Artisan it gives them a much better presence in the US and thus better positioned to exploit the void left by Telelogic. Also Aonix’s strength has historically been around safety-related software systems, which aligns with where Artisan has been having success.  The merger may also help Artisan address some of the areas they have been perceived as weak in compared to Telelogic, most notability code generation and simulation. Finally, if the code generation is addressed, then it may prove a good platform for gaining acceptance of Aonix’s really interesting, but still relatively niche, Java PERC offering.

So expect to see the name Atego much more in 2010.
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