Monday, August 23, 2010

ACS Blogging - Cambridgesoft

As I was wandering through the expo this morning trying to dry off after a soaking walk from my hotel, I stopped by the Cambridgesoft booth to chat about their Mac products excuses for software. It was very clear after inquiring about their development that they have no interest in trying to improve the Mac software. All I got was excuse after excuse about how we are only 5% of their clients and we really aren't worth investing in. Cambridgesoft is clearly a follower and not a leader when it comes to software development. They will only invest in their products if they are absolutely guaranteed to make a lot of money. What a pity. If they had this attitude when the company first started, they would not exist today. They still keep blaming all of the problems on Apple and Microsoft. Not that those companies don't share responsibility for the bugs. I guess it's time to give ChemDoodle a good trial. If i can get over the learning curve, it looks like the best solution for chemistry drawing on a Mac anytime soon.

Update: After lunch I returned to the expo and happened to bump into some of the McGraw Hill folks at the CambridgeSoft booth. They were showing their upcoming educational tools combining Connect with a ChemDraw plugin and Blackboard interface. This product looks very promising. Anyway, I got pulled back into some lengthy conversations. I do want to set the record straight. My rant above is all about CambridgeSoft's Mac support. Their windows products are actually quite good and improving all the time. Although I stand behind my statement that this company is a follower and not an innovator, I understand the economics of business. It is our job to let the company know that the market demand is out there. So, if all you pharmaceutical companies would just switch over to Macs and ask CambridgeSoft to start delivering their software to you, I would really appreciate it. And CambridgeSoft, I want to say please don't underestimate the growing Mac market. Frankly if you would just focus on making ChemDraw work well we would be ecstatic. And if you could make a simple Chem drawing app for the iPad that would be the icing on the cake!


Chemgeek said...

Yup, sounds like its time for ChemDoodle. I guess 18 years of loyalty is worth nothing for the Chemdraw folks. Enjoy not having my business. Sorry to be such a bother.

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,

At iChemLabs, we love Macs, we develop on Macs and we will always support Macs. We very much appreciate everyone's input as we aim to make ChemDoodle the leader in chemical drawing software. Feel free to contact us and recommend features/changes, we consider them all.

The RSC/ChemSpider booth at the ACS meeting has promotional cards for ChemDoodle to get a discount.

Kevin Theisen
President, iChemLabs

Chemgeek said...

I appreciate your update, but I'm still really annoyed with the Chemdraw people. Sure, they may a fine product...for people that don't use Macs. Mac users tend to be viciously loyal, and once a bridge has been burned it may never be rebuilt.

I tried to demo Chemdoodle once, but my schedule was such that I ran out of time before I could fully investigate its potential. What is your impression of ChemDoodle?

Alan Gorman said...

I am sorry you came away from the meeting with a poor assessment of CambridgeSoft's commitment to the Mac. I would encourage you to revisit the booth today, and meet with our resident Mac expert, Glenn Howes begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting. The Mac continues to be a fully supported platform for ChemBioDraw. We are happy to receive any suggestions or criticisms.


Alan Gorman,
R&D Manager ChemBioDraw,

Greg the Chemist said...

Alan, thank you very much for your comments. I would love to meet and talk to Glenn. Unfortunately I am about to board a plane home. But, Glenn, if you see this, I'll be in touch!

Alan, please realize that my frustration is not just from discussions at this meeting but from a decade of problems the appearance of lack of concern from Cambridgesoft. I've been using your products since the beginning of ChemDraw. I was a beta tester for several of the versions for Mac OS X. I have provided comments, criticisms and even accolades over the years. But I can't buy a Mac today with word processing and presentation software (Office, iWork) and use it with your products. The same bugs in copying and pasting with changes in the embedded colors has been present for at least the last 5 versions of ChemDraw. I can't even access your support forums using Safari on my Mac. That does not inform your clients that you care and that is frustrating. I have repeatedly emailed your company about the support forums but it never gets fixed. If you can't even do something as simple as provide a support forum where people post text how can we have any confidence that you will write software for the Mac that will actually work?

Alan Gorman said...

Please do get in touch with Glenn. He is extremely knowledgeable and respected within the Mac community. We are unaware of any problems accessing the support forums using Safari on the Mac. Our support staff just verified that they could search and post without problems. If you could provide more specific details, it would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your comments, and your valued support. We will do our best to address them.

Kind regards,

Alan Gorman begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Greg the Chemist said...

Alan, thanks again for contributing here. I have made a video demonstrating the problems using Safari. Please see my new blog post.

Anonymous said...

CambridgeSoft and Microsoft are pleased to announce a solution for copy & paste interoperability between Microsoft Office for Mac and ChemDraw. It is well known that changes in Mac OS X affected the “round-trip” editing between productivity suites such as Office for Mac and iWork, and many third party programs such as ChemDraw. We are now pleased to let our user communities know that the issue has been solved with the release of ChemDraw 12.0.2 (and ChemBioDraw 12.0.2) and Office for Mac 2011 version 14.0.1. The updated products take advantage of meta information in PDF files to provide the necessary chemical information which supports “round-trip” editing. For more information, please see CambridgeSoft’s support page ( or Microsoft’s announcement at