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Vexcel Holdings GmbH, Graz, acquires Microsoft’s UltraCam Business Unit
Vexcel Imaging GmbH, Microsoft’s UltraCam Business Unit, is undergoing an ownership change planned for early March 2016. After ten years contributing to Microsoft as a subsidiary, next month Vexcel Imaging GmbH will again become an independent company upon its expected acquisition by a private investor group.
The new owner will be Vexcel Holdings GmbH in Graz. Following is an interview with Wiechert Alexander CEO of Vexcel Imaging
Please explain the structure of the newly formed Vexcel Imaging GmbH.
Vexcel Imaging GmbH has been under the ownership of Microsoft Corp since the acquisition of the Vexcel companies on May 3, 2006. On March 11, 2016 a share purchase agreement was reached and the ownership of Vexcel Imaging GmbH moved to a newly founded Holding company in Graz, Austria. But these are just the legal details. Of more importance is that behind the Holding company are four private persons who are Erik Jorgensen, former Microsoft Corp. Vice President, Stephen Lawler former BING CTO, Martin Ponticelli who continues to be the CTO of Vexcel Imaging, and myself, continuing as the CEO of Vexcel Imaging. So literally, Vexcel Imaging GmbH is now owned by Erik, Stephen, Martin and myself.
Besides that, little has changed. Vexcel Imaging GmbH, itself, carries on as it was and the business scope remains unchanged with a strong commitment to outstanding UltraCam and UltraMap products for aerial and terrestrial markets and applications. The internal organization of Vexcel Imaging has not changed–we continue to have three units: operations (lead by myself), development (lead by Martin) and application (lead by Michael Gruber).
Does this new entity bring any enhanced value to its existing and potential customers and to its channel partners?
The newly founded Holding is just a legal entity for the share purchase. All the operative business stays within the well-known Vexcel Imaging GmbH. Our time as a Microsoft subsidiary were great–Microsoft brought great value to the company and we did amazing developments for Virtual Earth and BING maps. But it also required a split of resources between commercial development and Microsoft internal developments. Being an independent company now, we can once again focus fully on commercial development and make decisions more quickly. That is of defi nite benefi t to our customers and partners. Additionally, and of major signifi cance, is that we were able to reach favorable and solid licensing agreements with Microsoft and can build on our mutual developments accomplished over the past ten years. That is fantastic for or product roadmap.
What are the new line up of products going to be added to your existing portfolio of photogrammetric products and solutions this year?
We have an aggressive product roadmap. I can’t provide all the details but with the share purchase, we received broad licensing rights from Microsoft, with respect to IP that was developed during the Microsoft years. Thanks to that and our own ongoing development efforts, the UltraMamp software roadmap includes several new releases that will offer powerful capabilities that we developed for Microsoft. The preview to UltraMap version 4.0, which was just released, offers a fi rst glance as to what is coming. On the camera side, we will see one new aerial camera (UltraCam Condor) for high-altitude mapping and ortho image generation and we will be ramping up our development efforts for new terrestrial sensors such as the UltraCam Mustang mobile system and UltraCam Panther portable system.