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MakerBot, a Stratasys (SSYS - Analyst Report)subsidiary recently announced that its 3D printing application programming interface will now be compatible with Microsoft’s (MSFT - Analyst Report) Windows 8.1. Making 3D printer driver a part of Windows 8.1 enables customers to easily access 3D designs and take prints like a regular printer.

The MakerBot 3D Printer Driver on Windows 8.1 can also be accessed with MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, which is highly cost-effective and make professional models in quick time. Users can also download Windows 8.1 3D printer driver via the Windows Update Service. Moreover, the combined resources would improve the products thus leading to increased adoption.

This development is expected to position Stratasys for growth in the 3D printing space. During the third quarter of 2013, the company sold 5925 units of 3D printers compared to 1214 units in the year-ago quarter, primarily due to the MakerBot acquisition.

According to a recent survey made by Wohlers Associates, the sale of 3D-printing products and services will reach $6 billion worldwide by 2017 and $10.8 billion by 2021. The research firm expects this industry to continue to show double-digit growth over the next few years.

Over the years, Stratasys’ additive manufacturing solutions have been used by companies in the automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, consumer goods, education and other sectors to improve product designs. Stratasys is also working with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop AM processes to aid in production.

The 3D printing business is particularly attractive for Stratasys because of rival Hewlett-Packard Company’s (HPQ - Analyst Report) decision to quit the market as digital printing was only a small part of its business.

However, Stratasys is concerned about its high-cost business model and competition from big and small players like 3D Systems Corp. (DDD - Snapshot Report). Nonetheless, the acquisition of MakerBot is expected to improve the growth of its 3D systems business.

The company has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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