Alias|Wavefront, makers of Maya, yesterday closed two of its three production facilities — one in Santa Barbara and the other in Seattle. There was speculation by some that the closures meant the company was in trouble, but Alias|Wavefront President Doug Walker said that is just not true.
“We went through some restructuring in the way that we manage our business,” Walker told MacCentral in an exclusive interview last night. “This is a process that’s been going on for quite some time, it’s certainly not something that’s a reactionary measure.”
In fact, unlike most industry closures that cut employees as well as facilities, Alias|Wavefront wants their employees to stay with them and move to Toronto. “We are reducing our costs in the business associated with facilities, travel and communications, but we have offered every developer and product manager in Seattle and Santa Barbara a move to Toronto,” Walker said.
A high-end application like Maya requires innovation on a regular basis to stay ahead of the competition and to be the industry leader. Over the past few years Alias|Wavefront has worked to bring innovation to the application and also brand recognition in the industry. This trend will continue on a larger scale, as the company invests more money and effort in developing the product.
“This move will allow us to apply significantly more money to the development of product. The amount that we spend on R&D is already higher than the industry average — that’s how we drive innovation and that’s why we have the leading edge product.”
One unfortunate casualty of the closures was Wavefront co-founder Mark Sylvester, who worked out of the Santa Barbara location. Sylvester will not be joining the company at its Toronto facility, instead choosing to part ways with Alias|Wavefront. According to Walker, Sylvester’s departure was amicable.
“Mark has obviously been a real value to our company as a co-founder of Wavefront,” Walker said. “He’s made a decision, based on us moving our location out of Santa Barbara, to leave the company and pursue other career opportunities. I wish him all the best in his career and I’m going to look for ways to work with him in the future. There was no bad blood with Mark’s departure; I think Mark wants to continue a strong relationship with Alias|Wavefront.”
Alias|Wavefront and Apple have been working very close in bringing Maya to OS X, and Walker is very pleased with the reception his company has received from the Mac community for Maya.
In January, Alias|Wavefront introduced Maya Personal Learning Edition, a free personal-use, non-commercial version of Maya. Since its introduction
Alias|Wavefront reports over 67,000 pre-registrations for the software have been received.
“More people are registered today to download Maya Personal Learning Edition than the number of seats that are sold to 3D professionals in a year,” Walker said.
Walker said the company is strong and they are looking forward to continuing the innovation they have become known for in the industry. The company’s relationship with Apple is also a top priority for Alias|Wavefront.
“The relationship with Apple was strong in the beginning and it’s getting stronger with programs like Maya Personal Learning Edition,” Walker said.