Poser, Anime and Manga sold to Smith Micro

General Moho topics.

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JimmyC
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Poser, Anime and Manga sold to Smith Micro

Post by JimmyC » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:40 pm

Yep - it's true, announced today. What happens to AS now?
dazza101
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The official announcement

Post by dazza101 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:58 pm

I guess this explains the lack of news on the latest update to AS Pro...

Smith Micro Software Signs Definitive Agreement Acquiring e frontier's 3D Graphic and Animation Software Solutions
Thursday November 15, 6:00 am ET

World-Class 3D Solutions Bolster Smith Micro's Growing Multimedia and Consumer Product Lines


ALISO VIEJO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMSI) today announced that it will add the popular e frontier 3D graphic and animation solutions Poser®, Anime Studio™ and Manga Studio™ to its growing lineup of consumer-focused products. Smith Micro will acquire ownership and distribution rights of certain e frontier assets for $6 million in cash and anticipates the deal to be immediately accretive upon close of transaction, expected in the fourth quarter of 2007. e frontier had total revenues in excess of $7 million for their fiscal year ending March 2007.


“The rapid advancement of technology has made computer animation and 3D modeling available to everyone and the animation industry is one of the hottest growth segments within the consumer marketplace,” said William W. Smith, Jr., President and CEO of Smith Micro Software, Inc. “We are excited to significantly broaden our consumer portfolio with the addition of Poser, Manga Studio and Anime Studio. These popular products not only compliment our current multimedia offerings, but positions Smith Micro as a leading player in this space.”

Mr. Smith concluded, “As a part of this transaction we also acquired all the rights for the Aquazone product line. This includes the new Aquazone Mobile Edition that is available exclusively in Japan to NTT DoCoMo and Softbank mobile subscribers. Our goal is to capitalize on our strong presence in the wireless marketplace and introduce the Aquazone Mobile Edition to our wireless partners and mobile users throughout the world.”

The fast-growing global animation and 3D market reached nearly $60 billion in sales in 2006 and is expected to pass the $80 billion sales mark by 2010.(a) The Poser’s 3D figure design and animation program has a strong following of more than 500,000 users and is growing. Manga Studio, originally created in Japan as ComicStudio, has become the number-one selling Manga software worldwide. Anime Studio is a complete animation solution for creating 2D movies, cartoons, anime or cut-out animations and is ideal for animators of any caliber.

About Smith Micro Software, Inc.

Smith Micro Software, Inc., headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California, with offices in Europe and Asia, develops and markets wireless multimedia and communications solutions, mobile device management products, image and data compression solutions and many award-winning software products. Smith Micro’s complete line of products is available through Smith Micro’s Enterprise, Channel and OEM Sales Groups, and direct from its websites, retail and value-added resellers (VARs) partners. Smith Micro’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol SMSI.

Safe Harbor Statement: This release may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including without limitation forward-looking statements relating to the company’s financial prospects and projections, the company’s ability to increase its business and the anticipated timing and financial performance of new products and potential acquisitions. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are new and changing technologies, customer acceptance of those technologies, fluctuations or cancellations in orders from customers, new and continuing adverse economic conditions, and the company’s ability to compete effectively with other software companies. These and other factors discussed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, could cause actual results to differ materially from those presented in any forward-looking statements. Smith Micro assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.

(a) Information taken from the Roncarelli Report

Smith Micro and the Smith Micro logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Smith Micro Software, Inc. All other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective companies.





Contact:
Press Inquiries:
Smith Micro Software, Inc.
Nisha Kapoor-Morris, 949-360-8510
nkmorris@smithmicro.com
or
Investor Relations Inquiries:
Vice President of Corporate Development
and Investor Relations
Bruce T. Quigley, +1 949-362-5800
bruce.quigley@smithmicro.com
or
MKR Group
Charles Messman or Todd Kehrli, +1 323-468-2300
smsi@mkr-group.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Smith Micro Software, Inc.
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm

Well... shoot. This kind of sucks. They only have two other "animation" programs for photo morphing. The company has a sort of... stiff, corporate look to it. I hope they don't mess this up.

It would be funny if they changed the name again. Maybe go back to "Moho".

;)


Can't wait to find out how difficult it will be getting updates. I wonder if this means they bought all the content paradise stuff as well? I should get in touch with them... maybe get a job. ;)

-vern
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J. Baker
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Post by J. Baker » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:04 pm

Being that I had never heard of SmithMicro, I guess let's give them a chance. But my question is... where is Mike? I don't like all this confusion of Moho being passed around. It would be nice to get the current bugs fixed. :?
human
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Post by human » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:11 pm

My take on this is different.

I feel that what the product needs is a professional development team, and far more care than its own current owners have given it.

I doubt that this S&M outfit would have bought AS unless they were willing to improve it.

Cheer up and hope for the best--since this is the best 2D animation technology.
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:24 pm

I have no clue about Mike but I have a theory. ;)

I believe Mike is still involved with any and all updates at this point. Considering that he alone is intimately familiar with AS and is probably the only one capable making major updates in a timely fashion it wouldn't make sense to exclude him.

This is just a guess of course.

I think what concerns me the most is the existing products from this company compared to the efrontier programs they just purchased. Most of their products are "utilities" and not geared towards anything "creative". This is going to be HUGE change in the company's focus and direction. If they don't handle it correctly they could really make a mess of it. It's one thing to sell wireless solutions and compression utilities but a completely different thing selling animation and graphics applications.

The good news is that they have been around for ages. I am familiar with the name but beyond that I don't know much more.

I am guessing that the next "version" or update of AS will be tied to this purchase. This is probably why the book was delayed as well.

My goodness... efrontier must have been in the process of selling off some of their applications when Moho came on board. This happened so quickly.

-vern
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Post by F.M. » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:00 pm

Having witnessed the sssllooowww death of the Amiga computer line, this does not give me a good feeling. Boy! I hope I'm wrong.
"and then Man created god!"
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Patrick McClintock
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AnimeStudioPro

Post by Patrick McClintock » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:13 pm

:(
P.
dazza101
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Post by dazza101 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:16 pm

From the detailed description of the company in their latest annual report (10K) to the SEC, it is clear that up until now they have been almost elusively focussed on software and services related to mobile and wireless communications (e.g. cellphones) - sales to Verizon in 2006 constituted almost 75% of their revenues.

So this purchase may indicate a new focus for the company and possibly a push to diversify their customer base away from reliance on one dominant company. Who knows, this is all just speculation until we get something more concrete from Smith Micro.
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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:25 pm

I wrote them an email explaining how devoted we all are to Anime Studio, explaining the incredible potential of the program and asking them to visit this forum to see what it's all about. I also made note of the fact that a lot us have already went through this type of transition and how we've been disappointed with the delays in the updates.

I also asked that they make sure nothing happens to this forum. That the information here is a priceless resource not easily replaced.

I don't know if anyone will actually read it but it can't hurt to try. Considering how little they know about this type of application they could probably use some guidance.

-vern
human
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Post by human » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:34 pm

The smartest thing they could do would be to hire some of the forum gurus to do development and product design.

The next smartest thing they could do is to supply AS with great-looking 2.5 D characters as fully rigged as Poser characters.

I wonder whether their ultimate goal ought to be unified product line in which Poser and AS users could animate using the same user interface.
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Post by mkelley » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:38 pm

Can't say about Anime Studio, but poor old Poser has been through so many hands it isn't even funny (at this point I remember at least four companies -- could be more).

It probably can't hurt it -- e Frontier was more of an aquisition company than an actual development place. This new place may be more of the same, but in general anytime software changes hands there is new money available -- whether it's used (mostly) for sales or for development is a whole other issue.

As someone brand new to AS I really hope it continues to get developed -- I've looked at alternatives and found nothing truly close (which is why I've never tried 2D software before).
dazza101
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Post by dazza101 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:07 pm

I have been reading through the info on Smith and their overall strategy - it seems that either this is truly a move designed to broaden their product mix into the consumer sphere, or much more likely, they want to utilise their new acquisitions to develop tools for content development/delivery for mobile services.

This is their statement in the 10K (link in previous post):

Strategy

Provide Service-Enhancing Products for Wireless Carriers and Mobile Device Manufacturers. We intend to continue to develop innovative, enabling technology and infrastructure products that facilitate the usage of wireless data and other premium services, thereby providing our customers with additional revenue opportunities and differentiated services that encourage customer loyalty. We launched QuickLink Mobile in 2002, which has been a key driver of our growth. In 2005, we announced StuffIt Wireless, a product that compresses data and image files. In the first quarter of 2006, Verizon Wireless announced the V CAST Music Essentials Kit for Verizon Wireless which incorporates our QuickLink Music technology.

Leverage OEM Relationships. We intend to continue to capitalize on our strong relationships with some of the world’s leading wireless carriers and mobile device manufacturers. For example, our carrier customers serve as a valuable distribution channel, providing access to millions of end-users and also providing market feedback for future product offerings.

Focus on Multiple High-Growth Markets. We plan to continue to focus on the wireless communications market and believe we are well-positioned to capitalize on the favorable trends in both wireless broadband connectivity and consumer wireless data services. Among these trends are the ongoing introduction of new data services by wireless carriers, the increasing availability of multimedia-enabled mobile devices and the need for consumers and enterprises to manage their wireless access to the Internet.

Expand our Customer Base. We intend to grow our business domestically by offering our products to new wireless carriers and mobile device manufacturers and internationally by leveraging our products and our market expertise to build our presence with international carriers and mobile device manufacturers.

Selectively Pursue Acquisitions of Complementary Products and Services. We plan to continue to pursue selected acquisition opportunities in an effort to expand our product and technological abilities, enter complementary markets and extend our geographic reach. In the past, we have used acquisitions to enhance our technology features and customer base, and to extend our offerings into new markets. For example, in July 2005 we acquired Allume Systems, Inc. and launched our StuffIt Wireless compression technology product, and in April 2006 we acquired PhoTags, Inc. and integrated its multi-media management software into our product suite.
dazza101
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Post by dazza101 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:39 pm

The actual sales contract has been posted on EDGAR here.

A typical contract that provides very little info on Smith Micro's intentions. There are few useful pieces of information. The sale is intended to close at the end of January 2008, and section 7.8 sets out the Non-Competition Agreement. The non compete clause only mentions 3D and Poser related content explicitly.

It also contains a reference "...that sales by Parent and Seller of the Amapi, Carrara, Sunny 3D, Magical Sketch, Vue family products and the Shade family products shall not.." [be a contravention of the agreement].
The only thing that strikes me odd about this is that e-frontier don't sell Carrara...
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Post by areyouguystwins » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:06 pm

human wrote:The smartest thing they could do would be to hire some of the forum gurus to do development and product design.
Good idea, unfortunately the corporate world usually doesn't do "the smartest thing."

Hey, I would be willing to be hired as a software tester for Anime. :wink:
I have a software testing background and after having used Anime Pro these past five months, I think know its "bones" pretty well (no pun intended, OK, maybe so...).

BTW, not to get off the subject -- I think I have finally narrowed down the almost daily crashing problem with Anime I have been having these past five months on Windows systems. It seems to be a main switch layer issue. If you have a main switch layer that you nest all your layers under -- and then you import an Anime object, or graphic under that main switch layer, it seems Anime has a tendency to crash (stop working).

I have been importing outside the main switch layer and then dragging the item into the switch layer. Doing that seems to have cut down on the crashing issue. In fact on my XP computer Anime hasn't crashed in over a week.

I had a "feeling" the crashing issue had something to do with the main switch layer. As I never had crashing in Anime files that did not have a main switch layer that I was importing into.

I am hoping that is the problem because it is an easy "fix" -- but perhaps I am being too optimistic as it has only been a week.

Anyway, to get back on the topic, hopefully this new company will hire competent, creative, smart people to improve Anime. Hiring people from this forum might not be such a bad idea. :)
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