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The History of IMSI

IMSI Company Timeline from 1983 to Recent Years


IMSI Starts Its Operation as a Software Publisher

IMSI started its operations as a software publisher in 1983. Initially, IMSI published business productivity titles, including one computer graphics application, 4-Point Graphics. 4-Point was actually the first painting program available for the IBM PC. For the next seven years, IMSI continued down the publisher path, employing no software developers but narrowing its focus on applications to those in the Computer Graphics space. Many of these graphics applications were sold as a bundle with graphic input devices, such as mice, digitizing tablets, and hand-held and desktop scanners. As a matter of fact, the first product to bear the IMSI name was a computer mouse, first sold in 1985.



IMSI Starts Selling CAD Software

IMSI started to sell CAD software in 1988, when it licensed and began private-labeling the program ProDesign under the name IMSI Designer. A year later, IMSI began reselling TurboCAD, a product developed in South Africa and sold in North America by a company called Milan Systems.


IMSI Owns TurboCAD

Buoyed by its success in selling TurboCAD, both stand-alone and also bundled with its mice, IMSI acquired Milan Systems, and with it, the exclusive North American sales rights to TurboCAD. From there, IMSI purchased global sales rights and then finally the source code, thereby beginning, in 1990, its role as both a publisher and a software developer.

In 1990, TurboCAD was still a DOS (Disk Operating System) product only, so the initial development challenge became to create a Windows version of the product. The first Windows version was created by a hired US-based developer.



New CAD Development Team Formed

Because this first TurboCAD version was costly to develop in the US, IMSI decided to try to begin developing TurboCAD overseas. Fortunately for the company, because of Perestroika and the collapse of the Iron Curtain, there was a good supply of bright, mathematically-oriented software developers available for hire in Russia. In 1992 IMSI hired its first developers and began what is now nearly a 25 year old CAD development team in Russia.


#1 Worldwide Retail CAD Software

Successes in the sales of TurboCAD began in the early 1990s when IMSI began direct mail marketing offers to purchase the product. At the time, TurboCAD was 2D only and was priced at $99 to compete against products such as Generic CADD and Drafix. Specially-priced offers were mailed each month to prospects in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, and Germany, and their success quickly grew the installed user base to several hundred thousand worldwide. This direct sales success also fueled a strong global interest from resellers to carry TurboCAD, quickly establishing itself as the #1 Retail CAD product in the world.



TurboCAD for Mac Is Introduced

In 1993, IMSI purchased the rights to the Macintosh CAD program, Pegasus, which it rebranded as TurboCAD for the Mac. This was a 3D wireframe product which retailed for $495. The Mac version of TurboCAD was IMSI’s first 3D CAD solution.


TurboCAD’s First 3D Version for Windows

3D versions of TurboCAD Windows began with version 4 back in 1995. Version 4 offered only 3D wireframe viewing, version 5 (1996) added more 3D functionality, and finally in 1996 with version 6, TurboCAD graduated to a complete 3D CAD product, with the inclusion of ACIS®-based Solid Modeling and Lightworks® photorealistic rendering.



IMSI Has Offices in Several Countries

Since TurboCAD gave IMSI a beachhead in the retail software channel, the company began a period of licensing and acquisition of other applications to feed into this channel. Acquired and licensed products included FloorPlan, Easy Language, VirusCure, WinDelete, OrgChart Pro, TurboProject, and MasterClips. In fact, MasterClips, by the mid-1990s, became the single biggest revenue-generating product line for IMSI. Coincident with this product expansion was an expansion of overseas offices and localized versions of its developed products to support these international locations. By 1998, IMSI had offices in Sydney, London, Ottawa, Paris, Stockholm, Munich, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.

By the end of 1990s, the retail market for software had begun to soften and IMSI began a period of refocusing on direct sales, though this time with an emphasis on online sales and marketing. The cornerstone of these efforts was the establishment of the IMSIsoft.com (later IMSIDesign.com) and then the TurboCAD.com websites. These sites were integrated to IMSI's emailings to both its user base and to prospect email lists.


IMSI Acquires DesignCAD

In 2003, IMSI further expanded its CAD portfolio, by acquiring the DesignCAD product line from UpperSpace. The interesting thing about this acquisition was that DesignCAD was actually the descendent of ProDesign, IMSI very first CAD product. Other products acquired from UpperSpace included ScanPro, a Raster to Vector conversion utility, and an "Instant" line of Do It Yourself software for homes, decks, fences, sheds, and hobby projects. The ScanPro technology was later integrated into TurboCAD.


Recent Years

IMSI Continues to Build Its Brands

Over the past few years, IMSI has focused on building the ‘Turbo’ brand world-wide. In addition to TurboCAD, IMSI offers TurboFloorPlan for home and landscape design, Turbo View & Convert , for file editing and viewing, and TurboPDF for PDF edit creation and CAD workflow documentation. Supporting our CAD titles are a number training products available online, on DVD and PDF; plug-ins which address more vertical markets such as Furniture Making, Civil Engineering and CAM (Computer Aided Machining); and CAD companion products such as symbol collections and tools for design analysis.

In addition to these desktop applications, IMSI has - for the past several years - began building a mobile application platform, TurboApps, for both iOS and Android. TurboApps products can be found for download and sale on iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon AppStore. The TurboApps platform also includes a licensable SDK.

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