Saturday, April 9, 2011

Altium (Protel) Relocates From Sydney Australia to Shanghai China

I know a few people that use Altium or the older Protel, circuit board layout package. Though you might find of interest that Altium has announced they are moving the company to Shanghai China.

Former Altium employ David L. Jones of EEBlog confirms this:

"They [Altium] are moving, lock stock and barrel, to China, and as a result, a whole bunch of people were made redundant or laid off...I don't know the exact numbers, but it's a lot,...The idea is to move all their R&D to China, and pretty much start again." -- David L. Jones as quoted on The Amp Hour.

A couple of other related items with some different background:

The Altium Press Release says: "Altium plans to expand its R&D team over time by drawing on the talent pool in China".

I recently spent some time with someone who had been doing some consulting for a company in China that developed Cellphones. His description of the development process in China was, ammm, unkind. His description went something like this: The Chinese developers had no access to Internet. They had no idea what "good code" should look like [Sadly, from seeing code on Internet, it seems like a lot of people that do have Internet don't get know either]. After a new developer gained some experience they were promoted to management, and a new inexperienced developer was brought in to replace him [No evidence to support there are any female developers involved here. Are females smart enough to stay out of this field or they are never born with the 'Knack' (Dilbert[TM] reference)?]. Any developer that wanted to keep doing development, because they enjoyed it, was seen as lazy by the culture from not getting promoted to management.

The developers always wanted to know "the fastest way" to do something and had no interest in learning "the best way" to do something.

In the end the company did ship Cellphones that some how did work. Is that all that maters? I hope not... Is this one company representative of all development in China? I hope not...

Hopefully this move by Altium will drive a lot more interest to Open Source packages like gEDA and PCB.

Changing subjects a bit, I spent a bit of time with Dave Jones at Renesas Devcon 2010. Dave kept insisting that I looked exactly like Altium's CEO Nick Martin. Actually I though Nick looked like my father.

In Q2 of 2011 I has planing on designing in some Renesas Micros. Now with the earthquake in Japan and the on going after-shocks that have been predicted could continue for a year or more, designing in any Japan based part does not seem like a prudent business move. What do you think?