Asymetrix, Aimtech combine for multimedia training apps

Asymetrix Corp.'s plan to acquire Aimtech Corp. would create the leading federal player in the emerging online learning market according to company officials.

Asymetrix Bellevue Wash. last week announced its intention to purchase Nashua N.H.-based Aimtech. Both companies develop and market multimedia tools for creating training applications deployed on CD-ROMs or the Internet. International Data Corp. predicts that online learning will be the fastest-growing segment of technology-based training in 1997.

Asymetrix and Aimtech do considerable business in the federal sector. Asymetrix derives about 35 percent of its revenue from the government and education markets according to Jim Billmaier president and chief executive officer of Asymetrix. He said the federal government is one of the "faster-growing segments" of that business. The company's products are used in Defense Department and civilian agency training departments.

Aimtech meanwhile generates 20 to 25 percent of its business from the government with the largest portion of that business coming from the military said Andy Huffman president and CEO of Aimtech. The company has customers in the Air Force the Army the Navy and the intelligence community.

'Fighting It Out'

Huffman acknowledged that Aimtech has been "fighting it out with Asymetrix" in the federal sector noting that the acquisition will "make a clearer choice" for customers seeking training solutions.

Chris Bortz chief technologist at DP Associates Falls Church Va. said the union of the two companies enables the creation of advanced World Wide Web-based training applications. DP Associates which develops computer-based training systems for military customers uses Asymetrix and Aimtech products. Bortz said he is "looking forward to seeing what the combined company will do."

The companies plan to integrate their product lines in the coming months. Asymetrix products include ToolBook II a multimedia authoring tool for creating Internet- or CD-ROM-based training applications and Librarian a server-based software package for managing online courses.

Aimtech markets its IconAuthor line of multimedia authoring tools. IconAuthor Net Edition announced in May is designed specifically for developing training applications for the Internet. The company also sells Jamba a tool for building Java-based training applications.

Billmaier said one task will be to integrate Aimtech's IconAuthor products into Librarian. That product linkage will create what Billmaier called the only Unix-based solution for online learning.

IconAuthor runs on several platforms including Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 as well as Unix. Librarian runs on Windows NT or Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris. Billmaier said Unix solutions are more often requested in the federal sector than in other markets.

Bortz noted that there is "still a call for Unix" in the federal market despite the inroads of Windows NT. DP Associates he said helped Aimtech test the Unix version of IconAuthor.

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