Circuitmaker Back Story

Frank Gentges metavox at
Mon Feb 25 11:33:00 CST 2008


Your words are very revealing.

Perhaps most important is the statement by a company rep that it is out 
there if you look hard enough and the implication to go get it.  This 
indicates they company is not doing anything to protect their property 
and it is open to one and all.

Thanks for filling in the unspoken blanks.  Now I won't be feeling guilty.


Dale J. Robertson wrote:
> Hello,
> CircuitMaker's licensing status has been a little bit murky for a few 
> years now.
> I am one of their original licensees and rode the product down to the 
> bitter end (around 2002 or so)
> The product was originally produced by a small firm in Utah named 
> MicroCode Engineering. They did all the work on it right up to 
> Circuitmaker 2000. They also gave away massive numbers of licenses to 
> Colleges, Trade schools etc. In what would become probably their last 
> gasp, Protel bought Microcode. It is unclear whether Protel bought the 
> product in order to kill it or they just never had the resources to do 
> any further development. In any case Protel never did anything further 
> with the product and provided really abysmal support. The product still 
> generated some cash and Protel had no competing product, So Protel 
> continued to sell it for a few years in the state you see it in. Protel 
> was ultimately unsuccessful in making a dent in the market with their 
> own own mid-range tools (Protel PCB etc.) and were bought out by Altium.
> Altium had a product that was sort of competitive with circuitworks, So, 
> after fulfilling any support obligations inherited from Protel, Killed 
> the product.
> It did not seem possible that Altium could provide worse support than 
> Protel (short of coming to your house and breaking something that was 
> working) but they managed.
> A few months ago I contacted them to see if I could get a replacement 
> distribution CD (I had possession of one but it was physically damaged 
> and unreadable) and after the Rep had ascertained that I would not be 
> "upgrading" to Altium Designer, Pointed me to the Web saying that the 
> last full version of CircuitMaker Pro was "out there" if i looked hard 
> enough.
> I can't even begin to imagine why a company would do that if it was 
> jealously guarding it's intellectual property.
> I don't believe Altium Designer contains any part of or is descended 
> from CircuitMaker in any way. Altium has tried to position it as a 
> replacement for CircuitMaker, But at $5K to $14K per seat (plus 20% 
> maintenance) it hardly qualifies. An upgrade to the lowest cost flavor 
> of Designer costs over 10 times what my total cost of purchasing and 
> maintaining Circuitmaker all the years they were alive. Just their 
> annual maintenance is almost three times the last purchase price of 
> Circuitmaker.
> 73
> Dale NV8U
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