Microsoft nabs 3D modelling specialist Caligari

Microsoft has acquired 3D modelling software developer, Caligari, for an undisclosed sum. The company will become part of Microsoft's Virtual Earth Group once the transaction has been completed.

Caligari was widely known for its Truespace modelling software which was a popular giveaway software on computer magazine cover discs.

The California-based company's purchase comes a few weeks after Microsoft purchased Multimap to beef up its Virtual Earth and Search groups.

Microsoft's Virtual Earth 3D competes head-on against Google Earth and Caligari's acquisition could be Microsoft's tit-for-tat answer to Google's purchase of Sketchup.

Back in 1994, Microsoft purchased Softimage, another 3D modelling software which it then sold to Digital Media specialist AVID for $285 million.

It is rumoured that Caligari's acquisition will speed up the development of a Second life type concept using Virtual Earth and integrate it will the Silverlight framework.