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Dec 28, 2005



There's no way this article will start a flame war......


Looks like the Autodesk negative marketing is ramping up!!

Given Autodesk can't get any press releases from satisfied Inventor customers, they turn to these tactics.

I think your points regarding the survey are well taken.

Given SW has over 450,000 users (~50% EDU), it would be interesting to see how many people are participating in this survey.


Your right Adesk is ramping up!

For years Adesk took all the fodder that SolidWorks marketing was slinging at them and they said nor did nothing to counter it. In just the last year or so Adesk marketing has made a full turn and starting firing back at one of there main competitors.

Ralphs comment that all
competitors run similar polls should have been a flag that this poll is no different than many others run by each software company to support their marketing funding.

As far as your question about the participants? It's called "stuffing the ballot box". More likely than not, most of the participants are already using the software the company wishes to promote.


I don't recall SolidWorks ever running a public survey soliciting customer satisfaction data from Inventor users, and then publishing the "results".

Autodesk has never sat back while competitors pointed out their weaknesses. They have introduced product "obits", IV Series, DWG fidelity FUD, significant discounting, etc.

Hardly a timid response.

At the same time, their VAR's have live on meager profits, so that Autodesk could buy their way into the market.

The results of this "survey" are about as credible as the "Inventor vs. SolidWorks Shootout" that Elise Moss ran a couple years ago.


As Ralph mentioned, and I say it again, ALL the companies do it. And yes SolidWorks has done at least 2 of these surveys but I don't believe they posted the results to all the questions per se.

I'll give you this one, the "obits" have been there but just not slapped in everyones faces as SW would have done.

You mention the "shootout" a couple of years ago. SW was asked to send a credible representative the the demonstration. SolidWorks declined! The original guy who was to run SolidWorks backed out at the last minute. Another user stepped up to compete but was not to the same level as Adesks user.

None of this information is secret! Elise herself wrote up the event pretty much the way I paraphrased it. SolidWorks didn't send their "A" game, Autodesk did.

If you taut yourself as having the best software for the job shouldn't you showcase it when given the chance on an even playing field? Kasparov never sent a chef against Fisher.


The survey is a sham!

Posting the highly suspect "results" is the issue. If Autodesk wanted to use the data internally, that's fine, but to publicize it as credible information is a new low in their marketing efforts.

The "obits" are a slap in the face of every user that purchased an Autodesk CAD product!

SolidWorks doesn't "obit" their software. Users have always been able to upgrade from old releases.

The "shootout" was a low end comparison that could easily be done by any MCAD product.

SolidWorks requested a real comparison that demonstrated the depth of each product. Autodesk / Elise declined.

You might want to check out Joe Dunne's response to Elise Moss on comp.cad.solidworks (Aug 1 2002, 8:43PM).

Elise responded on Aug 3 2003, 10:34AM that she wanted a "very simple, very basic, very straight forward" demonstration. Something Inventor could do!!

Joe Dunne from SolidWorks wanted to include:
a.. Plastic design, stylized shape creation better in the context of the assembly
b.. Imported and repairing 3D data? trim extend, fill to create a Solid.
c.. family of assemblies
d.. Assembly configuration capabilities
e.. Large assembly modeling to test the ability to work with 1000s of components.
f.. Top down assembly design
g.. 3D sketching, tubing, wires etc...
h.. Physical Dynamics
i.. Sheetmetal designed in the context of an assembly
j.. Ability to work with the flat pattern of the sheetmetal part.
k.. Assembly features
l.. Mirror assembly
m.. Convert a complex ACAD DWG 2D to 3D. It should not be a simple shape requiring 1 profile to be extruded.
n.. Automation of holes and fasteners at the level of the assy in one step.
o.. Communication of the design to others via email or other tools (eDrawings)
p.. Photorealistic rendering
q.. Detail/section view creation/annotation flexibility, can you change behavior, which parts are shown etc...
r.. Drawing cleanup, hide show parts, changing fonts, colors, layers hiding edges, is it associative?.
s.. Layering schemes - can parts be placed on layers and control per company standards.
t.. 3D annotations to the model and inserting them into the detail drawing.
u.. Large detail indented parts list flexibility, speed etc...
v.. RapidDraft. Can a user work on the detail drawing separate from the assembly and re-sync later?
w.. Broken out Section Views
x.. Cropped view
y.. Schematics.

He even offered to base the demonstration on the "Spyder" assembly that Autodesk developed.

Apparently the Spyder demonstration was too sophisticated for the Silicon Valley AutoCAD "Power" Users Group.


Oh that list is so funny! You gotta remember who it came from. Joe Dunne is not in charge of a users group nor is he using the software daily (design) to make his living. His living is selling it! Your point is useless in referring he propose the material for a shootout. Elise's point in having a "very straight forward" demonstration was to use the tools that a majority of users would use in a day on a project. In 20 years of design I don't know anyone using the alphabet list you posted on a daily basis. What Joe D. proposed to happen was a sales pitch (his job) not a daily uses contest (Elise's proposal).

I can use both softwares very well, and have since they were first available. I prefer Inventor, but I'm not fanatical about it. I can't be, life is short, I have other things to worry about other than whose sketch tool is better for curing cancer!

My points and replies have been to try to keep the conversation on and even keel. Fans and fanatics are supporters of sports teams. When I can go to a software demo, drink an $8 beer, eat a $5 hotdog, and paint my face the software's color, then I can be considered a fan. But today I'm still a user, and I suspect tomorrow I will be as well.


I know exactly who the list came from.

The designers that I work with use many (or all), of the features that Joe outlined.

Why would Autodesk continue to add these capabilities to Inventor, if they are as useless as you seem to feel?

I criticized publishing the pseudo "survey" results. I also criticized the "shootout" for being biased.

Perhaps that's fanatical in your view.

From my perspective, Autodesk marketing has been aggressive for many years.


I never said the tools in Inventor were useless. I said I wouldn't use them on a daily basis. But according to SW and IV reps, "..they are good to have..".

As far as the survey and the "shootout" verbage continues, ask yourself this question. "Do you think if the results of either or both swayed towards SolidWorks, that they too would post them for all to see?"

The answer would be "Yes". And if marketing didn't post them, present them in a magazine story, or provide their VARs with the information. Someone would get fired. You know it and I know it.

Game Over!

Richard Williams

To me it sounds like this thing Autodesk started has for the most part back fired on them. After reading the comments left by those that make a living for themselves and their families with these softwares, this was a meaningless critique. Both softwares could be better if they learned from each other.


Interesting announcement today from Leatherman Tools. They have decided to switch from Inventor to SolidWorks.

Oh, by the way, Leatherman is still listed in the "Customer Story" section on Autodesk's website.

Perhaps the Autodesk marketing department is too busy working on surveys and shootouts!

A couple interesting quotes describing why Leatherman switched:

"We switched from Autodesk Inventor(R) software for new designs because SolidWorks software provides more control and accuracy in the design of the many complex, contoured surfaces in our tools and knives," said Melissa Yale, senior product design engineer at Leatherman Tool Group headquarters.

"We also sought SolidWorks software's ease of use, supplier compatibility, and outstanding reputation. We expect to decrease our time to market and design costs by becoming more productive and moving all of our design work in-house."


1. Leatherman has not posted any information on their website of any change what so ever.

2. Job titles between SW's press release and Autodesks press release indicate 2 different areas; product design and machine design.

3. It's not unlikely to have 2 or 3 softwares to get from concept to shipped product in a company.

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear you work for a VAR.

Do companies typically post what CAD software they use on their website?

Yes, the press release is from a different person / department.

Given how good SolidWorks for both product and machine design, I suspect both departments will adopt it.

It also not unusual for a company to get fed up with a current vendor, and switch to a competing product. Perhaps it's just Autodesk's turn?

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear you work for a VAR (or Autodesk)! :)


Quote: "Perhaps it's just Autodesk's turn?" Ah yes that door does seem to revolve doesn't?

I think the last time SW made a big deal about a company switching from Inventor to SolidWorks, PacWest went under a year or so later. At the root of the switch was a credible rumor of under-handed deailings to make it happen.

If you had read anything I posted earlier you would know I said I design. No I don't work for a reseller nor have do I work for Adesk.

But I think I have my answer.....


Perhaps they were too far gone before switching?

Rumor and innuendo. Sounds like Autodesk marketing 101!!

For a designer, you do a darn good job as an Autodesk spokesperson.


If you look back through this conversation, I have stayed more towards center in my entries. Also, when you look back through these entries you'll notice that I mentioned I use both softwares, but I prefer Inventor.

That doesn't make me a spokeperson, just a user who likes the software he's using. The software is nothing than a tool.

You show a lot of passion for the product you sell. Thats great! And I'm sure it's paying the bills. Do you also have this much passion for the hammer in your toolbox? You should, if a drawer get stuck or your mouse quits working, your hammer will just about fix it.

Software sales, uses, bigger, better, or more powerful (Toolman laugh) aside; 2D, 3D, 4D whatever, I could get more work done some days with a sharp stick and soft dirt and a camera!

Peace 8^)


I disagree with your self-assessment that you have been "towards center" in your opinions.

You have referred to "credible rumours" that SolidWorks used "under-handed dealings" to win PacWest.

Regarding Autodesk's obit policy, you stated: "I'll give you this one, the "obits" have been there but just not slapped in everyones faces as SW would have done."

When I referred to the "participants" of Autodesk's survey, you responded "It's called stuffing the ballot box", as if that is an ethical practice.

My point is Autodesk uses VERY aggressive (and negative) marketing tactics, and has for many years.

They have USED their installed base as pawns. The obit policy is a perfect example.

My point is the "survey" is a very negative marketing tactic, the "shootout" was very biased and the obit policy is bordering on monopolistic.

You have inferred that SolidWorks has exhibited worse behavior, but provided no evidence.

Hardly "towards center"!


Whoa, whoa there. Other than the PacWest blurb I threw out there, my rebuttals have been more on the soft side and not a "my widget is better than yours" style of answer.

As far as obits and marketing, all I have to do is open a Design News and see an ad stating that basically "Our company was using Autocad, now we are using Solidworks blah blah blah...". Is that not a "stick" everytime?

The "stuffing the ballot box" comment has worked out really well. Prior to this article, I suspect the voters were all Inventor users. But since this article was posted on the SW newgroup the percentages have all dropped. Now whose stuffing the ballot box? And they must be answering the survey honestly to show a 1/2 billion dollars in lost revenue.

Who better to believe, an experienced user pawn or a salesman?


I don't believe I've made any "my widget is better than yours" comments either.

I also don't see what obits have to do with SolidWorks ads pertaining to users that have switched from Autodesk products to SolidWorks.

Obits are a thinly veiled "stick" to force Autodesk customers to upgrade, or get left out in the cold. A great revenue generator for Autodesk, but not very customer friendly.

Regarding the "ballot box" issue, it doesn't take too many invalid "lost revenue" entries to skew the numbers against SolidWorks.

My whole premise for commenting was to voice my opinion regarding the latest tactic that Autodesk is using to negatively portray SolidWorks.

I think it stinks....you apparently think it's OK.

FYI, I spent 11 years providing technical support and training to hundreds of Autodesk users, until they got fed up with their failed attempts at 3D (AutoSolid, AME, Soldraw/prof/view, Designer/Surf/MDT).


I see you're posting a reply currently ;)

How about I buy a beer at NDES in March?


Unfortunately, I won't be at NDES.

How about I buy you a beer at SW World :<)

Denny Crane

Maybe you 2 should get a room.....


I have a free Southwest ticket. If you can arrange the entry fee I might be able to make it....

Marketing campaigns that rely solely on "look at their weaknesses" instead of "look at our strengths" never work for long.


Ok guys cut it out. Go back to pounding the phone and prospect for new business. Sales people should be on the phone not writting articles online...


What a load of crap! Does anyone really believe in any industry whatsoever that the users have any influence at all over choice of software??? Come off it, its the beancounters all the way. Anyone can regurgitate the "better faster smoother" line but basically and ultimately the only question is, "which is cheaper"?


I have used solid works for 4 years and recently switched to inventor 11( because of a new job).

It is fairly easy software, but has too many problems and it crashes so much, I did investigate in the crashing and the file management system( so called design assistant)which is not a very well designed.

There are so many features( for ease of usage for user) which have been native to solid works have been only introduced lately into inventor.

I never understood, why do you need to write so many damn hot fixes for a software, if you cant to do it right the first time, don't do it.
Whoever is saying the solid works crashes more than inventor and ease of use is inferior to inventor are so far away from truth.


SW user for five years here.

When my division switched to Inventor year before last, it was the beginning of the end for that division. The engineering learning curve nearly cost everyone their jobs. I was, thankfully, transferred to a division without the autocad"hey, it's free!!" stupidity. (our old office had Mechanical desktop, and they gave us Inventor for free, mostly because Desktop was such a disaster) We still use Solidworks, and I couldn't be happier. And i HATE dassault.


I bought Solidworks to help me draw, but I find it's value is more consistent with the role of an adversary, dead-set on stopping forward progress at every opportunity.
Do yourself a favor and try Ashlar-Vellum products if you have a goal like mine, actually getting something done.


Bringing things up to date a couple of years since the previous post...

As a SolidWorks user with 12 years of experience, I can now semi-compare it to Inventor. Not as much use, but have completed a number of projects in Inventor now. Since SolidWorks came out first, I have to assume that Inventor intentionally made the vast majority of their commands backwards to how SolidWorks is used. So for those of us who are required to go back and forth between the two programs for various jobs, this is a negative on Inventor. The tools that Inventor includes like interference detection and stop at interference are according to my VAR unreliable. And why do you put the OK/Cancel/Apply button in the middle of the Hole dialog box (at least for specific hole types)? No favorites for holes? Projecting geometry for a part just to use in a new sketch is a waste of time. Inventor requires way too many clicks compared to SolidWorks. Associativiey in Inventor is a nightmare once the customer changes variables, and overall the software is not very intuitive or informative as SolidWorks. Now SolidWorks is by no means perfect, and they release new tools with bugs. But at least there is some use of the tool with limitations. And SWX also has a very crappy 2012 release out ... my VAR says the worst release he has seen. I try to be objective based on the fact that I have more experience with SWX. But back in the day (late 90's) I taught myself how to model with PRO/E, then SolidWorks was 90% self taught/. Now I'm trying to develop knowledge of Inventor, and maybe in time I'll be a lot better. But Inventor seems to have a long way to go, in my opinion.

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