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Altium Ltd.
IndustryEDA, Printed circuit board, FPGA, Embedded Systems, Electronics Design
FounderNick Martin[1][2]
HeadquartersLa Jolla, California,
United States
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
(Registered office)
Area served
United States
Key people
  • Aram Mirkazemi (CEO)
  • Martin Ive (accountant)
  • Samuel Weiss (chairman)
ProductsAltium Designer, Altium Concord Pro, Altium NEXUS, Vault, CircuitStudio, CircuitMaker, TASKING, Octopart, Ciiva, Upverter, Altium 365
RevenueUS$171.8 million (FY 2019)

Altium Limited is an Australian multinational software company that provides electronic design automation software to engineers who design printed circuit boards. Founded as Protel Systems Pty Ltd in Australia in 1985,[2] the company has regional headquarters in the United States, Australia, China, Europe, and Japan. Its products are designed for use in a Microsoft Windows environment and used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, defense, and telecommunications. Its flagship product, Altium Designer, is a software for unified electronics design.


Early history[edit]

The history of Altium dates to 1985 with the founding of Protel Systems Pty Ltd by electronics designer Nicholas Martin. He was working at the University of Tasmania in the 1980s. He saw an opportunity to make the design of electronics product affordable, by marrying the techniques of electronics design to the PC platform. The company launched its first product in 1985, a DOS-based printed circuit board (PCB) layout and design tool.[2][3] Protel PCB was marketed internationally by HST Technology Pty Ltd. since 1986.[2]

In October 1986 the San Diego-based ACCEL Technologies, Inc. acquired marketing and support responsibilities of the PCB program for the US, Canada and Mexico under the name Tango PCB.[2] In 1987, Protel launched the circuit diagram editor Protel Schematic for DOS. This was followed by Autotrax and Easytrax in 1988.

In the 1990s, the company began developing a unified electronics design system, which uses a single data model to hold all of the design data required to create a product. FPGA, PCB and embedded software development processes were unified with a common project view and data model. A variety of editing tools could then be used to access and manipulate the design, covering areas such as board layout and design, schematic capture, routing (EDA), testing, analysis and FPGA design.[4]

In 1991, Protel released Advanced Schematic/PCB 1.0 for Windows, the world's first Windows-based PCB design system.[5] It also began acquisition of various companies with the technologies needed to create a unified electronics design solution,[6] including Accolade Design Automation in 1998.[7]

1999-2010; IPO and name change to Altium[edit]

In August 1999, Altium went public on the Australian Securities Exchange under symbol (ASX:ALU). The company continued to develop and release new versions of this design tool, including Protel 98 in 1998, Protel 99 in 1999 and Protel 99 SE in 2000. In 2000, Altium acquired ACCEL with whom they previously partnered with in 1986.[8]

In 2001, the company changed its name from Protel Systems to Altium and continued to expand throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. It also made more acquisitions including embedded software developer Tasking in 2001 for A$73.4 million[9] and EDA software distributor Hoschar AG in 2002.[10]

Protel DXP was issued in 2003, Protel 2004 in 2004, Altium Designer 6.0 in 2005. In 2010, Altium acquired Morfik Technology Pty Ltd., a developer of visual design tools for engineering and deploying cloud-based software applications. Morfik's founders originally worked for Altium/Protel before leaving to found the company after Altium's IPO.[11][12]

2011-present; Expansion and acquisitions[edit]

In 2011, Altium announced it would be expanding its presence in Shanghai, China in the second half of 2011 to take advantage of lower wages.[13]

On October 15, 2012, the Altium board removed Nick Martin as CEO and named executive vice chairman Kayvan Oboudiyat to replace him.[14] On January 16, 2014, Altium announced Kayvan Oboudiyat's retirement and succession by Aram Mirkazemi as CEO.[15] In May of the same year, Altium announced that the core R&D operations for its flagship PCB CAD tools would again relocate in a "cost neutral" move to San Diego, California.[16]

In 2015, Altium acquired Octopart, a search engine for electronic and industrial parts.[17][18] The same year, it acquired the cloud-based electronic component management system company Ciiva.[19] Additional acquisitions by the company have included enterprise PLM integration solutions provider Perception Software in 2016[20] and cloud-based EDA tool company Upverter in 2017.[21][22]

On 7 June 2021, it was revealed that Altium rejected a bid from Autodesk valuing the company at $5.05 billion AUD.[23]


Altium develops software that is used for designing of electronic products including printed circuit board. Its products are designed for use in a Microsoft Windows environment and used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, defense, and telecommunications.[24]

Altium Designer[edit]

Altium Designer is a PCB and electronic design automation software package for printed circuit boards. It allows engineers to design and customize their own circuit boards. Altium Designer is considered the flagship software of the company.[25]

Autotrax / Easytrax[edit]

Autotrax is the original Protel PCB design software used for DOS, released in the 1980s.


CircuitMaker is electronic design automation software for printed circuit board designs targeted at the hobby, hacker, and maker community.[26][27] CircuitMaker is available as freeware, and the hardware designed with it may be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes without limitations.[28] The first non-beta version was released on January 17, 2016.[29]

Other products[edit]

  • Altium 365 - electronics product design platform that unites PCB design, MCAD, data management, and teamwork.[30][31]
  • Altium Concord Pro – Available as part of Altium enterprise solutions. Single source for component data, real-time sourcing information, component traceability within designs, and collaboration tool.[32]
  • Altium NEXUS – Available as part of Altium enterprise solutions. Team-based PCB workflow solution designed to provide the transparency.[33]
  • AltiumLive – the cloud-based community that connects Altium designers, collaborators, suppliers, manufacturers and customers.
  • Altium Vault – Formal release, re-use and design data management server software.
  • CircuitStudio – PCB design software tool[34]
  • NanoBoard – reconfigurable hardware development platform.
  • P-CAD - Obtained through AccelEDA acquisition, retired in 2006.
  • PDN Analyzer - analyze Power Distribution Network (PDN) voltage and current performance
  • TASKING – An embedded systems software development tool.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nick Martin Executive Focus Archived 2008-10-12 at the Wayback Machine, February 1, 2005 , Kevin Morris, FPGA and Programmable Logic Journal
  2. ^ a b c d e TangoPCB. Tango-PCB 3.12. ACCEL Technologies, Inc. 1 December 1987 [1986]. […] CREDITS […] Program Design: Nick Martin […] Reference Manual: Tom Lupfer […] Production: Cathy Vermillion, Walt Foley […] Product Management: Tom Lupfer, Ray Schnorr […] Derivative Manual Copyright (c) 1986 ACCEL Techologies Inc. […] Original Manual Copyright (c) 1986 HST Technology Pty Ltd […] Software Copyright (c) 1985, 1986 Protel Systems Pty Ltd […] The History of Tango-PCB […] Tango-PCB is a personal computer-based software CAD package for designing Printed Circuit Boards. It was originally written in 1985 by Nick Martin, of Australia, and sold under the name of PROTEL-PCB. HST Technology Pty Ltd maintains sole-worldwide marketing rights for PROTEL-PCB. In 1986, ACCEL Technologies, Inc., of San Diego, California, acquired marketing and support responsibilities for the product in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. […] Working together, engineers from ACCEL, HST and Protel Systems have implemented numerous enhancements to the original product. The Reference Manual was re-written for the American market. ACCEL markets the product under the name Tango-PCB. Tango and Tango-PCB are trademarks of ACCEL Technologies, Inc. PROTEL is a trademark of Protel Systems Pty Ltd. […] ACCEL Technologies, Inc. […] 7358 Trade Street […] San Diego, California 92121 […] (619) 695-2000 […]
  3. ^ "Nick Martin". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  4. ^ Morris, Kevin (19 July 2007). "Altium's Alternative: Turning System Design Inside Out". FPGA and Structured ASIC Journal. Archived from the original on 11 March 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  5. ^ Tomorrow's world: the Australian initiative. North Sydney: Associated Publishing Corporation (APC). 1995. ISBN 0-646-25348-4.
  6. ^ "ALTIUM LIMITED (ALU)-ASX Listed Company Information Fact Sheet". Australian Securities Exchange. 2009. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  7. ^ Pellerin, David (1996). VHDL Made Easy. Duvall, WA: Prentice Hall. pp. 432. ISBN 0136507638.
  8. ^ Santarini, Michael. "Protel buys Accel Technologies". EE Times. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  9. ^ Altium, Pty Ltd (30 June 2001). "Altium Annual report 2001" (PDF). Altium. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  10. ^ Altium, Ltd (17 July 2002). "Media Release July 17, 2002" (PDF). Altium. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  11. ^ Martin, Nick (8 October 2010). "Morfik and Altium". Morfik. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  12. ^ Yousofi, Siamack (8 October 2010). "Morfik: Past, Present and Future". Morfik. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Altium to Relocate its Global Headquarters to Shanghai, China" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Printed Circuit Design & Fab Online Magazine - Home".
  15. ^ "Kayvan Oboudiyat announces retirement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Newsroom - Press Releases".
  17. ^ Wurzel, Sam (13 August 2015). "Octopart is Joining Altium". Octopart. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Altium says to acquire octopart". Reuters. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Altium Acquires Ciiva". Ciiva. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Altium Announces the Acquisition of Industry-Leading Enterprise PLM Integration Provider". Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Altium Full Year Investor Presentation" (PDF). Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  22. ^ Homuth, Zak (28 August 2017). "Upverter Joins Altium".
  23. ^ Manekar, Sameer; Duran, Paulina (7 June 2021). "Software maker Altium rejects $3.9 billion takeover bid from Autodesk". Reuters. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  24. ^ Goodman, Caterer (24 April 2021). "Internet Of Things Driving Altium". Seeking Alpha.
  25. ^ Likitkunawong, Saran (24 April 2021). "Why the Altium share price is skyrocketing in 2019". The Motley Fool.
  26. ^ Graves, George (20 June 2015). "Altium Gives Away The Farm With New CircuitMaker Software". Hackaday. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  27. ^ Fabio, Adam (24 September 2015). "CircuitMaker From Altium". Hackaday. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  28. ^ "CircuitMaker FAQs". Retrieved 24 November 2015. No, there is no licensing to worry about, and no subscription to maintain. The original version of CircuitMaker (latest edition was CircuitMaker200) always came with a free version targeted towards the educational market. The current version of CircuitMaker is totally free, giving you all the tools to think big and make cool stuff, with features and functionality to facilitate creation of diverse and challenging designs.
  29. ^ "CircuitMaker". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  30. ^ "Altium Designer 20 and the Altium 365 Platform". Elektor Mag.
  31. ^ "Bridging the Gap Between Mechanical and Electrical Design". Electronics Design.
  32. ^ "Altium Concord Pro - A Components Library Management System". Altium.
  33. ^ "Altium | NEXUS".
  34. ^ Rako, Paul. "Altium CircuitStudio review: The glory". EDN Network.

Further reading[edit]