Dassault Systèmes buys personal analytics site Netvibes

Dassault Systèmes plans to help manufacturers gather feedback from consumers to help shape products made using its 3D design software

3D design software company Dassault Systèmes has acquired Netvibes, a website that allows the creation of personalized dashboards combining social network updates, news alerts and RSS feeds, the companies announced Thursday.

Dassault Systèmes plans to link the industrial designers and engineers it traditionally serves with the consumers that make up most of Netvibes' user base. It intends to incorporate Netvibes in a new online platform that will allow businesses to gather feedback directly from users to improve their products.

Netvibes allows consumers to create "dashboards" to follow news about particular topics, aggregating information from their social networks, news sites, RSS feeds and a library of around 200,000 widgets or web applications. At the same time, it lets businesses track hot topics and consumer sentiment with its analytics tools, and allows them to publish content by creating widgets for the platform.

The staff of Netvibes will continue working on the product, Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini wrote on the company's blog. However, the product will evolve, with new features to be added in the next few weeks, he wrote.

Founded in Paris in 2005, Netvibes now has offices in New York and San Francisco. The dashboard interface is available in 48 languages, including English, Chinese, and Occitan, a language spoken in the south of France.

Netvibes is Dassault Systèmes' fourth acquisition in two years. In June 2010 it paid around €135 million (US$160 million) for enterprise search engine Exalead, and in 2011 bought production validation software vendor Intercim for $36.5 million, before snapping up Enginuity PLM, a maker of software for the pharmaceuticals manufacturing industry. Dassault Systèmes did not disclose the value of the Enginuity and Netvibes deals.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

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